“Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.
When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.
A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.
As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other. ”
-Synopsis taken from Goodreads
Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review!
First off, I would like to thank the publisher and author for providing me this ARC to review. Please note that the version I read was an advanced copy, and certain events/language may be changed in the published edition.
Stars (Out of 10): 5.5/10 Stars
Favorite Character: Eliana
Spoiler Free: I was super excited when I received this ARC back in the November Fairyloot box, and then proceeded to hide it on my shelf for a few months! I finally picked it up now, the month of release, and I’m actually happy I waited (waiting for the next book is going to suck.)
Overall, this was a really nice read, though there were still some issues I had with it. There was no portion of the story (in terms of world, plot, characters, etc.) that I unconditionally loved, but in the end, I still did enjoy the story!
Firstly, we have the expansive world that Legrand creates. Not only are there multiple kingdoms and continents, but also a semi-large magic system that couples with the long-standing fight to keep the angels at bay. While this large world leaves a lot to be explored, and a lot of places to pull surprising twists from, it seems almost too big. There are political issues between the kingdoms, there’s a prophecy, there are patron saints of magic and inner turmoil within the main kingdom, and that’s only in Rielle’s story. We then also have Eliana’s story to understand, which takes place a thousand years later, where magic does not exist and almost all of the kingdoms have been conquered by an “Empire.” This leads to a lot to remember, while also not allowing Legrand to delve deeply into any of the areas. This leads to both an abundance of information and a lack of it. For example, I feel I don’t fully understand how magic works and how it’s called upon. There are moments it is tied to emotion and moments it follow prayers, and I wish Legrand builds upon this later.
We then have the plot, which makes up for the lack of simplicity in the world. It’s fairly straight forward, with a few twists within Eliana’s storyline. By telling both the tale of Rielle and of Eliana, we get both a pretty standard tale of royals in a kingdom (Rielle’s story) as well as a rebel story (Eliana’s story.) This blend, this contrast, kept both sides quite interesting, and I found myself quickly enraptured by each chapter. The only issue here was that you switched back and forth with each chapter, and with such a stark contrast between the two stories, it made some portions hard to follow. Just when I was sucked into the Eliana’s tale, I had to switch back to Rielle’s, and vice versa.
Additionally, our prologue is truly the ending of Rielle’s tale, which means that most of the “twists” are already known to us. This does put the tale in an interesting perspective though, as we look for foreshadowing the crevices of each sentence. It also creates of sense anticipation, as you are constantly waiting for the moments that build up to what we saw come to fruition. However, Rielle’s tale does continue into the rest of the books, so we do not truly get to connect her beginning with her end yet, but I am excited to continue reading for that.
Lastly, the twists contained within Eliana’s tale are all quite predictable due to how much the prologue unfortunately gives away. I’m even quite sure of one of my theories for the later books, as everything else was quite predictable so far.
When thinking more on the characters and relationships, I personally feel this is where the book fell the most flat. Out of the entire cast, I probably find two characters interesting. Thank goodness one was one of the protagonists, Eliana, and the other also played quite a large role, Corien. Compared to the other characters, these feel the most layered. We have Eliana, whose main goal is survival and protecting her family from the expanding Empire, even if it means working for it. Her wavering moral code and steadfastness to this goal is what makes her interesting. She doesn’t flip easily from her set path, and often looks at the world selfishly, trying to see what she can get out of it. While this does not make her the most likable character in the world, it does make her interesting. Corien is a different matter. I can’t say much without spoilers, but he follows a trope I find quite interesting, and changes within the story. Yet he still isn’t a simple mystery to solve either, and I still am unsure of his motivations at the end of this book.
However, the other characters, and relationships between them specifically, are where the problem lies. Most of the cast of both stories felt rather flat, they carried one or two main characteristics and that was it. Additionally, I didn’t see them really grow. While I did like some of them more than others, namely the princess in Eliana’s story and Ludivine. And while I had to love Eliana’s little brother, the rest of the characters often felt like shadows, clinging on to a small part of personality. The romance was, unfortunately, even worse. Both MC’s are involved in a relationship or two, yet none feel real, and all moved too quickly/felt fake. I wasn’t invested in any of them by the end (even though I did start invested in Rielle’s romance.)
All in all, this kind of brings me to a conclusion. I didn’t love this book, but I did like it, and enjoy the time I spent reading it. It might not be a book I preorder, but it is definitely a series I will continue reading when I can!