A great start
Wilhelmina has secrets. She’s a member of a group called the Ospreys, a group of orphaned children who use their skill to steal and gain information. These children are all of noble birth, orphaned when the Indigo Kingdom overtook their homeland, and Wil, she’s the lost princess. Either of those secrets could land her in trouble but it’s the last that’s the most deadly. She has magic in a kingdom where magic is outlawed. Wil and her best friend Melanie plan to con their way into the Skyvale palace and gain the information needed for the first step to regaining their kingdom. But Melanie’s behavior gets more suspicious and there’s enemies lurking around every corner. Who can Wil trust? Her best friend? The Ospreys? If she’s discovered, she’ll likely be thrown out to be dealt with by The Black Knife vigilante, who hunts people like her.
This was my first experience with a Jodi Meadows book, and it was one I was high anticipating since I’d first heard of the synopsis. I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed. The lost princess from a fallen kingdom can be a popular trope in fantasy but there were so many elements added to the trope that I enjoyed that it didn’t matter to me. It was fast paced, which made for a very quick read, mostly because I didn’t want to put it down.
Wilhelmina was a very interesting character. She didn’t start off the book as a weak character who had to grow strong, as can be typical. She could fight, she was someone people in her group looked up to, and there were many glimpses of a great queen-to-be in her. That didn’t mean she didn’t have her insecurities or flaws. The fact that she wasn’t the Ospreys’ leader made her question her ability to lead. She could be rash, especially with magic use. Ultimately, I really liked her character.
The bond the group of Ospreys showed was something special. Connor was pretty adorable and hopefully the other Ospreys will get more time in later books. Melanie, Wil’s best friend, got the most time of the Ospreys since she accompanied Wil to the Skyvale palace. It was easy to see why they were so close. They could joke around and have fun then become serious in a second when it was time to work. I had my theory to why Melanie was behaving in such a way that seemed suspicious and though I was right, I liked that there were many options. It wasn’t completely clear. The other two character who got a lot of time were the prince, Tobiah, and his guard, James. I really liked them both. James was flirty and fun and caring. Tobiah was definitely more moody but he still had some great moments. Then there was the Black Knife. Wil kept running into the mysterious masked man who fought for justice. It was great to see their development go from enemies to not-so enemies to maybe allies. I did figure out who he was and I’m glad I was right.
The plot moved along quite quickly. It started off with a lot of action, the Ospreys on a heist, and it never really stopped. Even when there wasn’t action in the sense of a sword fight happening, there was action in other ways. Wil and Melanie trying to fit in at the palace and get the information needed, Melanie’s suspicious behavior, Black Knife interactions. There was always so much going on. There was never a time when I forgot just how high the stakes were for Wil. One slip and it could mean her freedom, her kingdom, and maybe her life.
The book set itself up nicely for the next one. There was a lot of mentions of the One-Day War that orphaned the Ospreys, the consequences of using magic, and even some prophecies about who will save the kingdom from the Wraith problem. And the ending….where is that next book?!