Written by: Cayla Kluver
Released: June 28, 2011 by HarlequinTeen
Summary: I noticed his eyes. They were blue, sharp and intense. Despite the youthful glows of his suntanned face, his eyes were cold and unfriendly, suggesting he had great experience in the world and was now expecting the worst.
In her seventeenth year, Princess Alera of Hytanica faces one duty: to marry the man who will be king. But her father's choice of suitor fills her with despair.
When the palace guard captures and intruder—a boy her age with steel-blue eyes, hailing from her kingdom's greatest enemy—Alera is alarmed…and intrigued. But she could not have guessed that their clandestine meetings would unveil the dark legacy shadowing both their lands.
In this mystical world of court conspiracies and blood magic, loyalties will be tested. Courage won't be enough. And as the battle begins for everything Alera holds dear, love may be the downfall of a kingdom.
Oh what a horrible ending for a great story! I, of course, mean that in the best way possible. I just don't want to have to wait the long while for the next two novels. I need to know what happens next and it stopped at such a horrible moment!
Aside from the ending, there was one thing that I didn’t care for with this novel, and that was how the pacing seemed to drag for the first third of the novel. Don’t get me wrong, the story is one that will keep you going through the lull, but it’s in my opinion that about 100 pages could have been summed up in less. However, at the same time (since this is the first in a trilogy) I can also see where those pages were needed for story building to hold up the entire series arc.
I loved the world that Kluver created inside of this novel. You can tell that it’s roughly based upon true-life historical fiction but the alternate universe allowed for such exploration and the ability to create a whole new history. That, paired with her characters and the warring nations, makes this a book that’s hard to put down once you’re entrenched in the mystery and adventure.
Another thing that I really loved about this novel was how Kluver made Alera go through a subtle transformation as each chapter passed by. She started off as a little girl who was slightly petulant but did what she was told to a girl who started to follow her heart and grow a bit of a backbone. I can’t wait to see how much more she evolves in the next two novels because it’s great to see a female character become true to herself.
The romance in this novel was one of the real draws that kept my eyes on the page. I needed to know what was going to happen and who Alera was going to choose (or not choose) to be her husband. I wanted to know how far she would go for both her country and her heart. Her turmoil over the entire love triangle was heartbreaking and leaves you questioning if true love can conquer everything.
I’m giving this novel an 8/10 and high recommendations to read this amazing debut. I hope that the release dates for the next two novels comes sooner rather than later!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for allowing me to read an e-galley of this novel.
Seriously though, what a horrible ending!