Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee from his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king's servitude.
Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.
Sepora's gift could save Tarik's kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs?
When the two collide, the combination is electric. I found the first 20% of the book to be a bit hard to follow and tedious, but the last 80% was absolutely amazing and I could not stop reading. I was so glad I didn't put this one down, and now absolutely cannot wait to read the next book in this series. The flow, alternating between Tarik and Sepora, is perfect, and I loved getting both of their perspectives on the events within. Their relationship is electric, and the pace is perfect.
The world-building was really fantastic, and there are all manner of new creatures, jobs, and countries that I look forward to exploring even more in future books. We learn the most about the Parani- somewhat piranha-like human sea creatures that eat the flesh of people and rule over the Nefari (river). It was fascinating to see them built up/learn more about what/who they really are. Sepora has a soft spot for all living beings, and we get to explore some of the diverse creatures of this world through her eyes. I don't want to say too much about this world, but it was really incredible and unique. I was completely wrapped up in the novel and devoured every delightful page.
This is a really fantastic novel for YA fantasy lovers, and I highly recommend it! I can see it having broad appeal, especially for fans of books by Sarah J. Maas and Sabaa Tahir. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.