When her country was conquered by the Kalovaxians, Princess Theodosia was kept as a hostage and a tool to keep her in check. In the 10 years since the conquering, she has been publicly tortured many times and has been forced to give up her language, her people, and even her name. She thinks she’s been defeated, but when she gets a spark of hope, she realizes how much she still has to fight for.
Spoiler Free Review:
I initially read this book shortly after it’s release in 2018, and when I read the sequel, I wished I had reread this one. With the release of the last book in the trilogy, I decided to reread the whole series and I’m so glad that I did! Thought I enjoyed it the first time, I think I enjoyed it way more the second time around.
I know a ton of people think that this book is filled with tropes, and for the most part it is, but they are done really well in my opinion.
I absolutely love Theo. The whole series is from her perspective, so the reader really gets to know what she is thinking about every situation that arises. I loved seeing her inner struggle with her faith, hope, and her guilt at befriending some of the people who are helping to occupy her country and kill her people.
But I am always alone. I should be used to it by now, though I don’t think that’s the kind of thing a person ever grows used to.-pg. 13
I also really enjoyed the intrigue and the plotting that happens in this book. Theo’s goal is to escape, but in order to do that, she has to trust the right people, manipulate others, and pretend to be the docile princess her captors think she is. It is really entertaining, even if there are some terrible things going on in the story.
There is a love triangle in this book and I definitely had a favorite that I wanted Theo to end up with. I don’t think it takes over the plot because at the end of the day, Theo has a goal and she’s not going to let romance get in the way of that goal.
What happens to Theo as well as the people in her country can be very brutal. I think it was handled in a way that still showed how ruthless conquerors can be, but it was never over done. The violence and cruelty weren’t there to be shocking, they were there because they are the reality of a group of people thinking they are above others.
The magic in this book is minimal, which is fine for me. It gets explored more later on in the series, but if you’re looking for a book heavy on the magic, this isn’t it.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA fantasy! If you haven’t been interested because it seems too filled with tropes, this is me telling you to just give it a shot! This is an all time favorite series for me.