…can I just say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book?
The setting for this story is the fictional kingdom of Hytanica. The kingdom has been at war with the neighbouring nation of Cokyri for some time. When the story begins, the war has been over for several years but the people of Hytanica fear that it could begin anew at any moment. After-all, who’s to say it won’t begin again, when no one can really say why it ended in the first place.
We are introduced to the Crown Princess Alera while she is on the verge of her seventeenth birthday.Normally, this would be an exciting time in a girl’s life, that is, if your seventeenth birthday didn’t mark the one year deadline for you to marry a man who your father deems acceptable and take the throne. To say that Hytanican society is patriarchal is putting it mildly. The author has created a society where a woman is no more than a possession and is good for little more than bearing children and arranging dinner parties. In one year’s time, Alera will be going from her father’s possession to her husband’s. Unfortunately for Alera, the only suitor her father and King deems suitable is one she cannot stand.
As Alera halfheartedly tries to thwart her suitors advances, it is discovered that Cokyrians have been found inside Hytanica – more specifically in the palace. This sets up Alera to begin a bit of a journey of self discovery. She begins to try to assert herself more and been seen as more than just an ornament as she tries to figure out the mystery surrounding one of the captured Cokyrians and his reason for being in Hytanica.
While I truly enjoyed the story, Alrea as a character annoyed me to absolutely no end. I kept waiting for her to wake up and do something, anything. I know that she is from a society that oppresses women and all her female role models and peers are pretty much doormats, but I really wanted her to show just a bit of fire. For the most part, even when she was trying to assert herself, she was weak. I kept wanting to grab her by the shoulders, shake her and light a fire under her behind.
The book, as a whole was very well thought out, if a bit slow going. As I was reading the book, I got about 3/4 of the way through before anything really happened. Even then, the action was very brief and pretty much glossed over. The fact that the book is a fairly easy read is really what kept me going. That and really wanting to know how it ended.
All in all it was really good book. While it could have used more action to keep the story moving at times, there was enough going on to keep the story going and keep me turning those pages. I reviewed this copy from an e-galley ARC copy, but I enjoyed it so I will be picking up a hard-copy on publication day, not to mention the next volume in this three-part series.
My Rating 4****