There is a revolution underfoot (seems like maybe two), each one supporting one of the sons of the King who rules with an iron fist. They are both in the closet/not clearly out, as this would be treason. Penelope’s younger sister, Anais, was betrothed to the elder son, Tristan, and it is mentioned that this was broken but not why. Anais is still in love with Tristan, but his feelings towards her are less clear. Tristan’s right-hand man, who has been helping with the revolution, Marc is disfigured but powerful. Marc and Penelope have been secretly in love with the other for years- but their friendship has led both to disguise their feelings. Penelope, without powers, is doomed to live a short life. If she were to bond with anyone (a marriage-type ceremony controlled by the King), it is likely that they would die when she died (although not everyone does, most do die when their bonded does). Penelope’s father, the Duke, is behind the other planned revolution with Roland, the King’s young and mean son, which he controls.
Just after Penelope finally admits her feelings to Marc, her father wants to use them to his twisted ends, and forces her to get closer to Marc in order to root out his secrets/what he knows about the rebellion. Penelope doesn’t want to do it, but it seems to be the only thing keeping her father from ending her life. It’s a sad tale, as she is fighting stereotypes, her father, and her own feelings. The viewpoints alternate between Penelope and Marc. Overall, I really enjoyed the love story but wish I had more background to understand this alternate world- it certainly made me want to read the trilogy!
This is a well written book with a beautiful love story that will be a must for people who love the Malediction Trilogy. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.