Penny thought her involvement with Daer/Lloegyr couldn’t get any more bizarre after she solved a series of murders caused by the world’s most revered species, unicorns; however, Taryn’s marriage proposal to her associate, Morey, exposes her to species rituals beyond anything she experienced on Earth. Before the wedding, though, Penny is called to help save Raven, her dragon beloved who failed her at the climax of The Cult of Unicorns. Can she find forgiveness for his betrayal and recreate their bond without hurting the human man who brings warmth and stability back into her life?
Each of Chrys Cymri’s installments in her Penny White series focuses on a central theme that ties the fantastical adventures together. After much thought, I believe that the core of book three, The Marriage of Gryphons, is forgiveness. Starting with Penny’s call to save Raven from himself and culminating in a ritualistic gryphon marriage challenge that literally entails facing one’s deepest regrets, the vicar and her companions, even Clyde, must find compassion and let go of grievances to move forward. Part of this journey is Penny fully weighing how her actions affect those around her (bringing Raven back into her life threatens to destroy her bond with Peter) and trying to be true to herself and still not intentionally hurt anyone.
Thanks to Morey’s marriage trials (Gryphons must prove themselves as mates, especially for a marriage between clans.), Penny finally gets her wish to serve as a vicar in Lloegyr full-time for a good portion of The Marriage of Gryphons. Cymri wouldn’t have any direct knowledge of how society would function in a fictional world, but I have to agree with her assessment of churches in any world; many of the things that plague Penny as a religious leader on Earth transcend locale and species and are mirrored in her Daer parish. The exploration of her new parish, Caer-grawnt, reveals systemic injustices that Penny felt impossible in her beloved Lloegyr. She longs to rectify the situation, but her attempts to bring the best of Earth to the other world fall horribly flat.
The Marriage of Gryphons feels more action-packed than the first two books, but the characters still make the plot shine. James and Clyde especially get more development as the story progresses, and I get a sense that both of Penny’s wards may finally be ready to move into the world as adults. (No, Clyde, no!) A sudden question in the last few pages show hints at potential conflict ahead, but I have a strong opinion of how things should work out. (No, the author does not consult me, so I can only hope.) I just know I’m thoroughly hooked and am incredibly curious about the overarching plot of a book titled The Vengeance of Snails!
4.5 Dinosaur Hunts out of 5