Author: Morgan Rhodes
Publisher: Razorbill, 412 pages
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:
Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.
Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.
Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.
Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword. . . .
The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?
I absolutely loved this book! Fantasy at its finest, this book follows the adventures of four teenagers from three different kingdoms (with three different leaders fighting for power). Auranos is in the south and has abundant resources and wealth. Paelsia is the poor kingdom in the middle. The only crop grown is wine and the people are dependent on the other kingdoms for everything else. Instead of a king, they have a chieftain (who is an idiot). Limeros is in the north, and it has resources, somehow, but it's a very cold, rough place ruled by a cruel King.
This book has it all: political intrigue, war, magic, and a bit of romance. The book is told from each MC's POV, along with a couple of other characters at times. Every character has flaws, but my favorite was Cleo. She's a bit spoiled and sheltered, but she is smart (although she doesn't always make the best choices, especially at the end, what was she thinking?), resourceful, and willing to do anything for her family. She's the second daughter of the King of Auranos and her sister Emilia has been groomed to be Queen while Cleo has basically been allowed to goof off. Events in this novel definitely make her grow up fast (so sad!) and I'm really looking forward to what happens with her in the next book.
I liked Jonas a lot too. Jonas is the youngest son of a wine seller. He's from Paelsia, and after witnessing a horrible event, he becomes obsessed with revenge. His actions are heavily influenced by that event to an extreme, but he is ultimately a good person.
Finally, Lucia and Magnus. They are brother and sister (they think) from Limeros. Their father, the King, is a piece of work. Evil evil evil. I feel so bad for Magnus, his only legitimate heir. He was raised to be cold and calculating, and he has learned to mask his feelings in order to survive his horrible father. He's basically a good person, but his father has definitely influenced him and he makes some pretty poor choices. Although Lucia is a MC and very important to the story, I didn't feel as if I got to know her as well as the other characters. She's basically a pawn and she seems a bit naive, but she is very powerful.
Fast-paced plot involving treachery and deceit, and great character development make this book such a fantastic read. I highly recommend this novel and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book.
Posted by: Pam