Reviewed for this blog by Andrea, Windsor Library
Lia, first daughter in the royal family in the kingdom of Morrighan, is betrothed to the prince of a neighboring kingdom in order to ease tensions and create a tentative alliance against rebel groups. Lia, however, has different plans. On her wedding day, she and her most trusted attendant flee with intentions to lead a more honest, genuine lifestyle that does not at all involve the royal sense of duty, obligations, and a life without true love. Oh, those best of intentions…
Billed as fantasy, I was surprised to find there are few fantastical elements to this story. Where the story excels is presenting a story of a young woman’s quest for an authentic way of life and how she seems to find it in a sleepy town at the edge of her kingdom. There’s some great writing here; the scene of her fleeing at the end of the first chapter is really something to savor and it sets the book up for an action-packed, battle-of-power narrative. The pacing, however, is what prevented that from happening. From my reading experience, the story was bogged down by the voice changes, not enhanced from their different points of view.
Voice is a key element of this one. There are, for the vast majority, three narrators to the story – Lia, the assassin sent to kill her after her transgression, and the prince she was supposed to marry. The sneakily familiar foundation for a love triangle. The voices are distinctive but be careful about placing each character into the role they are assigned.
This is a great book for readers who are looking for long, winding paths, plots that operate on different plains, and characters who are grappling with the role they’ve been assigned – either by duty or birthright. It does not, however, break any new ground. I found myself confusing one strong, female voice with another (Hello, Katsa). Not only do I not think its the most excellent piece of literature this year, I would also be disappointed if it were noticed. [#sorrynotsorry]