The Ceithren Empire is finally at peace, but for two very different people, the world is still upside down. For Adelaide, her sister's death has left a gaping void. The one thing she believes will dull the pain is to take the only piece of her sister she has left to the place they’d sworn they’d go together -- the Ever Falls, a natural wonder that splits the world in two. But the journey is perilous and not everyone who seeks the Ever Falls survives. Clark never imagined his father would be blamed for the Silent Explosion. Now, he must find a way to clear his family’s name. As a member of an activist group, he’s ready to steal a powerful amulet in exchange for the chance to interrogate a Professor of the Empire. Brash and maybe a little too confident, Clark embarks on a mission that puts his own life at risk. But Clark isn’t the only one after the amulet. When the ancient artifact attaches itself to Adelaide, essentially painting a target on her back, Clark and Addie’s worlds collide. Tensions rise as they work together to stay alive… and resist the temptation to kill each other before their enemies have the chance.
The Fractured EmpireFeatured
The Fractured Empire begins five years after the “silent explosion” that took the lives of many in the Ceithren empire, most notably Addie’s mother and older sister. Adelaide is the daughter of the richest man in the empire. He also happens to be the man pulling the emperor’s strings (at least that’s what everyone assumes). Since the death of her mother and sister, Adelaide has become a shell of her former self. She hides her emotions from everyone, and it takes a thief to awaken what she lost with her sister’s death.
Clark is the adopted son of the most hated man in the Ceithren empire, General Noble. The blame for the “silent explosion” was laid at the general’s feet. Convenient as he presumably died in the same explosion. Clark doesn’t accept it though. He knew the man that raised him would never do it. As a result, he’s spent the last five years looking for answers and trying to stay alive. His brothers convinced him to stop this mad search, but he continues in secret. When a lead places him in the center of a kidnap/murder attempt, Clark winds up rescuing the daughter of the man he hates.
Told from alternating points of view and alternating between past and present, I fell in love with Addie and Clark. Addie is hard to like as she is if you don’t get those snippets of her past. Those snippets make her human and give the reader a glimpse into her grief. For Clark, the past snippets explain his loyalty and love for a man that the entire empire hates. It also sheds light on the events leading up to the explosion. The plot here revolves around the Tear of Hila, an ancient necklace that somehow winds up on Addie’s neck. Together they must find a way to get it off and keep her alive. It’s a fast-paced adventure that left my mind reeling.
Overall I love The Fractured Empire. The relationship that builds between Addie and Clark is a slow burn and believable in its progression. The banter between Clark and his brothers is as endearing to Addie as it is to me. It makes her nostalgic and for just a moment forget the hole her own sister left. And the world-building! Modern technology combined with magical elements make this a unique fantasy unlike any I’ve ever read. If you are a fan of YA fantasy, I highly recommend it.
-Characters drive the story as much as the action-packed plot