The Stolen Throne (Dominions, #2)

The Stolen Throne (Dominions, #2)
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Release Date
May 02, 2023
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My twin sister is the true queen of Aryd. She survives, hiding and clinging to life in the desert, while I reign as the false queen alongside the monstrous King Eidolon. There’s only one escape from this gilded prison: Reven. My Shadowraith. My heart. Only the shadows that he struggles to control are growing more sinister, more powerful.

It’s just a matter of time before they turn on him…and on me.

Even escape doesn't mean true freedom, though, when we're still on the run from Eidolon’s unstoppable armies. And when we discover there’s a traitor among us, I have no choice…I must become the queen I was never meant to be.

Because as one evil hunts me, the other loves me more than himself.

And my fate lies with both.

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fast-paced YA fantasy sequel
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THE STOLEN THRONE is a fast-paced YA fantasy sequel for THE LIAR'S CROWN. This book picks up soon after the first left off with Meren having once again taken her sister Tabra's place - but with higher stakes, as she is now married to Eidolon, the terrible king who has been systematically destroying the queens in their line throughout history. It is because of Eidolon that Meren has spent her whole life being her sister's double, prepared to sacrifice her life for Tabra by standing in her stead or prepared to takeover for her in the case that their switching did not prevent tragedy.

While she pretends to be her sister, her thoughts constantly stray to Reven, her Shadowraith, and the others that she has left in the desert with her childhood best friend, Cain, and the Wanderers. It is not long before a rescue mission is attempted, and they learn of Eidolon's desires, which become even more complicated as they learn about the history that had been hidden from them. Their path is dangerous, even more so as Eidolon frequently seems one step ahead, and it will become a fight for not only the kingdom but the world they inhabit.

What I loved: This was quite a fast-paced and action-packed read, and it felt as though new reveals were quickly coming throughout. There is much that Meren has to learn about history, Eidolon, and all the things she believed to be true about her family and religion. This twisting of history by the teller and the ways the truth of the matter can be forgotten over time was an interesting theme, especially as this is one that plays out more broadly with history being written and taught in specific ways.

Other themes around love and devotion, oppression, fate, and choice were also really intriguing to dive into. Love is complicated, and this can particularly be seen for the primary couple as they have a lot of push and pull, questioning whether they are right for each other or not. This explodes and implodes at different places during the plot, and while the characters are willing to give up just about everything for a chance at it, readers are left questioning whether these were smart choices. While understandable, the cloudiness that comes from these in-love spectacles leaves them in some tough spots. Some new information about their fates are revealed, but this is also murky as they try to determine what this could mean and make their choices independently, willing to defy it.

This series is really Meren's story, and it remains that way in the second book. Characters revolve around her as they may or may not be useful for her own story and devices. Her choices and paths are paramount, and the reader gets to know her very intimately. While she may not always seem perfect, she feels very real, still dealing with the distant and harsh way she was raised and the way that has twisted her emotions and views of other people and finding her own path. She had never believed she had choices, and now she has crafted a life where her choices are her own. This is an adjustment for her, and the story presents her character arc, working towards her own paths.

What left me wanting more: I would have loved a bit more of other characters to understand other sides of the story and the decisions that are being made. Meren really dominates the plot and dialogues, so that even other key characters (Reven, Cain) feel pretty background. That being said, we do hear a lot from them as they communicate with her, but it's definitely her story. I also would have liked a bit more of the pull part of the romance, as there is a lot of push in this book. Reven is very broody, and while there are some romance scenes, they felt a bit few and far between. The plot also felt a bit too fast at times with not much space to take a breath or develop a lot of the inter-character development, which will definitely appeal to some. It almost was too fast for me, as it started to blend together along the way, and it was easy to get a bit lost in it.

I would recommend reading the first book in close proximity to this one or a good synopsis if diving in after a while. While the very basic facts are recapped, the book does not spare much time to remind the reader of the all the events of the first, so a re-read close in time would definitely be helpful!

Final verdict: Overall, THE STOLEN THRONE is a fast-paced YA fantasy sequel that will leave readers eager for the next book!
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