Publisher: Inkyard Press
Published: August 27, 2019
Read as: eARC from Netgalley
My rating: 3
For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…
Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.
Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.
In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie. (Goodreads)
This eARC was provided through Netgalley for review
This book certainly had some good things going for it. The sister relationship throughout the story was spectacular. I love when you run across positive sibling and familial connections in stories if only because they are so rare. I also loved how fierce our main character, Nor, is. She does what she thinks is right and puts her whole self into it. There is nothing halfway with Nor, she is all in with everything she does and it was fun to go with her on her journey.
Despite my love of the characters, the plot of this book felt a little thin. There was so much seemingly going on in the background that the reader didn’t get to take part in and that was very frustrating. A fierce queen from the south is mentioned several times but you never encounter her which was a huge let down because the story had really pumped you up for her big moment…which then never came. There is also a character whose fate is left dangling at the end but you are just told outright, “Oh, he’ll be fine!” and you as the reader are just supposed to believe it. That didn’t jive with me.
As a whole, this was a good book. Not great, not terrible, but good. There were some great parts and then other bits that really left me wanting. This author is going to do wonderful things, she seems to have all of the building blocks at her disposal, and I will definitely pick up her work in the future.