Ash is the shield for Prince Nisai and will do anything to keep the prince save, even if it means risking his own life. Ash goes wherever Nisai goes and for the first time in years, they're leaving the castle. Ash is curious to see what's out there, but knows it's dangerous for Nisai and must keep his wits about him. However, there's something dark in Ash's past that neither Nisai nor Ash like to bring up, but it's a shadow that's haunted them since childhood.
When Nisai is poisoned, Rakel is one of the first on the scene and tries to investigate. Ash is the second and is immediately suspicious of Rakel. As others discover what's happened, Rakel becomes the accused and finds herself in trouble of being the scapegoat. Rakel gets out and sets on a quest to find the ingredients that can save the prince, but Ash isn't going to let her go alone. If there's anything he can do to help, he will. To save the prince, both of them have to risk everything.
THE DARKEST BLOOM is a unique story that involves perfumes and scents as medicine and sometimes even currency. Ash and Rakel are both stubborn people, but seem to work well with each other. Trust is sparse between them but only time can fix that. I love both of their characters because they're smart in their craft and won't take crap from others. The story is a little slow in the beginning and it took me a while to get into it, but it picked up once I did. The word choices were a little strange in some places but the plot is unique enough to hold my interest.
Final Verdict: I would recommend this to fans of fantasy, adventure, two unlikely friends, and unique plots.