Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion, 384 pages
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?
Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.
But even with the aid of Emrys' magic, Eleanor's extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen's Guard.
Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie's face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she's always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she's always dreamed of--the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor's court: trust no one.
Fun, light and fluffy fantasy…until the end. I really enjoyed this book, it had a wonderful cast of characters and an interesting alternate world where magic basically replaced technology (and America lost the war against England). There are snippets about the world and the magic throughout the book that were just fascinating, and I wish there had been more.
It was definitely romance heavy, although there were themes of duty versus love. You have Marie, the sickly princess who is engage to Leo, the Prussian prince who just won the war by using Pandora's box. To ensure peace, they must marry. But Marie is in love with Gill, her longtime friend and guard. Then there's Aelwyn, the Merlin's daughter, who has just come back to the castle after being banished for four years. She's actually always liked Leo. There's Ronan, an American Astor who is broke and has to marry for money. There's also Wolf, the younger brother of Leo, who just wants someone who loves him for himself (loved him!). There's Isabelle, Leo's ex-fiance, who was cast aside because Leo has to marry Marie. The plot of the novel revolves around the engagement and the season in London (parties parties parties). The multiple POVs were well done and the book is fast-paced and so entertaining. I found myself smiling quite a bit.
And then…the ending. All of the sudden, things get dark. Really dark. What happens to a couple of the characters…very unexpected. It just didn't match the rest of the book. And the last few chapters felt completely rushed and I could barely wrap my head around all of the revelations (major info-dump), and the changes that were taking place for every single character. It just came out of nowhere. I also didn't like where everyone ended up, but I guess that's why it's the first book in a series (although in a way, everything was fairly well wrapped up).
Posted by: Pam