As Thia’s sister takes over Rhodaire, she is also facing the imminent threat of invasion and takeover by Illucia. To prevent their attack, Thia must wed the crown prince of Illucia, Ericen. However, she is not sure what awaits her as she travels with him into enemy territory. She is also carrying a secret, a Crow egg which she recovered from the rubble, and a plan for allying with the other kingdoms against Illucia. Accompanied by her BFF and guard, Kiva, their journey is just beginning.
What I loved: There are so many things to love about this book- the premise is so unique, the world-building is perfect, and the pacing is fantastic. There is also great diversity amongst the main characters in terms of LGBT representation and skin color, which varies between the kingdoms. Another strong secondary theme is about Thia’s depression, which is well described and paints a vivid portrait of the difficulty of living with it. There is also mental illness representation for PTSD in places (for two characters). While the kingdoms don’t have therapists, there is an acknowledgement for the difficulty of such illnesses and depression is named.
In terms of the plot, it flows really well, and builds up until the end, leaving us eagerly awaiting the sequel. The Crows are really interesting with different types having different abilities. The villain (Queen of Illucia) is evil- but also understandable from a certain vantage point, making her multidimensional. I also really love how many of the kingdoms have female rulers. There are some mysteries, and people have unexpected roles in later parts of the book. The information we get about other kingdoms is quite intriguing, and I am curious to learn more in the next book. Be prepared to get completely pulled into this story!
Final verdict: I highly recommend this exciting page-turner to all lovers of YA fantasy. I only wish the next book was already out! Thia, Ericen, and other secondary characters grew very close to my heart, and I can’t wait to get back into their well-crafted world. Fans of ERAGON, THE RED QUEEN, and GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS will enjoy this delicious new story.