Source- Netgalley review copy
Synopsis: 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.
Review: Alera is the princess of Hytanica and has just turned seventeen. This means she has less than a year to find a worthy husband and marry to take over the role of her father and crown the new King and Queen of Hytanica. Of course, her father’s first choice Lord Steldor is arrogant and Alera cannot stand to be in the same room as him. It is quite some time before we are introduced to Nerium, one of the lost sons of the Hytanican war who escaped from the Kingdom of Cokyri and has found his way home. He soon becomes a rival for Steldor and wins the heart of Alera. Of course he is an unsuitable suitor to take on the role of the King but Alera persists to develop a relationship against her father’s wishes. I enjoyed seeing their relationship develop although much of Nerium’s life remains a mystery even by the end of the story.
Steldor continued to be irritating and narcissistic throughout the story but persists to try and win over Alera. The author tells us that he loves her but I never really believed that because he seemed to be too in love with himself and didn’t really grow in the story. Besides, taking up her duty as Queen more seriously, I didn’t get the sense that Alera really grew during the story. I also wanted her to use her self-defence at some stage that she learnt from Nerium but this never eventuated. The plot was quite slow and the language of earlier times sometimes made scenes drag on. There were also far too many descriptions about what everyone was wearing and every piece of furniture in a room.
I was completely unsatisfied- angry even- at the ending. (CAUTION: Possible spoiler!)I really hoped that Nerium would swoop in and intervene or that Alera would stand up to her father and follow her heart. Of course this may have been predictable but far more satisfying than what eventuated! I was just left feeling really shocked by the ending and even though it is the beginning of a trilogy it is unlikely that I will read on any further.
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