Everything about my life is a lie. As a hidden twin princess, born second, I have only one purpose—to sacrifice my life for my sister if death comes for her. I’ve been living under the guise of a poor, obscure girl of no standing, slipping into the palace and into the role of the true princess when danger is present.
Now the queen is dead and the ageless King Eidolon has sent my sister a gift—an eerily familiar gift—and a proposal to wed. I don’t trust him, so I do what I was born to do and secretly take her place on the eve of the coronation. Which is why, when a figure made of shadow kidnaps the new queen, he gets me by mistake.
As I try to escape, all the lies start to unravel. And not just my lies. The Shadowraith who took me has secrets of his own. He struggles to contain the shadows he wields—other faces, identities that threaten my very life.
Winter is at the walls. Darkness is looming. And the only way to save my sister and our dominion is to kill Eidolon…and the Shadowraith who has stolen my heart.
Young adult fantasy, yes please!
Did you enjoy Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone series? Yes? Then pick this one up because I'm pretty sure this is it's sister.
Detailed descriptions of different lands, characters who have elemental earth powers, villains who are not villains and villains who are. This book runs the gamut.
The world building is fairly solid. There are a few places I think it could have been shored up but overall the descriptions were great. I can picture where the characters are and the different lands they inhabit.
The characters were well written. I did love the main characters: Meren and Reven. Meren is strong and capable. There's nothing dainty about her. She does get emotional but given her position of being the secret twin of the queen, who can blame her. She was bread to possibly die. Reven is not what I thought he would be at all. I can't say much because it will spoil things but let's just say he's not the villain you think he might be. Even the secondary characters are written well with distinct personalities. I would love to get to know them better with some novellas or short stories. I'd also like some more background on the villain. We do get some information from Meren and Reven's descriptions but we don't actually meet him until the end and I feel like we need more of him to understand his true evil. I'm still in the dark as to exactly why he wants the Ayrud Queen and how he will benefit from controlling that particular throne. Meren's sister Tabra could use a little more development, as well.
The pacing was good. The book built the world in the beginning so started off a bit slower than I would have liked but then took off once I understood the set up. I loved the addition of the prologue and epilogue. The prologue set up the future so I could understand what happened and why. The epilogue set up the next book. Interesting the author chose to use two POVs in the epilogue. I am wondering if she'll continue that in the second book (it would have worked for this first book, as well).
Overall I enjoyed this roller coaster ride of emotion. It was fast paced, adventurous, and fun. I'm looking forward to seeing where the next installment takes me.
Multi-award-winning author, Abigail Owen, writes adult paranormal romance & upper YA fantasy romance. She loves plots that move hot and fast, feisty heroines with sass, heroes with heart, a dash of snark, and oodles of HEAs! Other titles include wife, mother, Star Wars geek, ex-competitive skydiver, spreadsheet lover, eMBA, organizational guru, Texan, Aggie, and chocoholic.
Abigail attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing) and an MBA. However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.
Abigail currently resides in Austin, Texas, with her own swoon-worthy hero, their angelic (mostly) kids, who are growing up way too fast, and 2 adorable fur babies.