Publisher: Rogue Kite Publishing
Publication Date: January 19, 2021
Genre: New Adult Fantasy (A lot of people say YA but the ages of the characters are 18-24 and they deal with “older” character issues)
Adventure Rating: 4.5 Stars
BEHIND THE MASK OF DUTY AND POWER, NO ONE IS WHO THEY SEEM…
Centuries after the Forgotten Wars ravaged the world and turned it to ash, the Houses of Pilar, Darakai, Boreal, and Bastiion forged an accord with the royal line of Thoarne, founding a Quadren of advisory to the throne of Orynthia. Every generation, a single Haidren from each of the four Houses is appointed to this coveted chair.
Upon her Ascension to adulthood, Luscia Tiergan takes her seat at court as al’Haidren to the House of Boreal and is quickly drawn into a maze of political traps and dark secrets. As she adjusts to her new life, Luscia uncovers a pattern of forgotten children, slain in the streets of Bastiion.
Raised on superstitious rumors about Boreal’s penchant for sorcery, Zaethan Kasim, al’Haidren to the House of Darakai, inevitably clashes with Lusica when she arrives in Bastiion. But when his position is threatened by an old rival, Zaethan is forced to set aside his hatred and form an uneasy alliance with the Boreali al’Haidren to secure his claim.
Following a disturbing stream of innocent bloodshed across Orynthia, Luscia and Zaethan discover their ideals are far more aligned than they might have imagined. But in a land of war and deceit, the path to peace should never be trusted.
*I received an ARC via Book of Matches Media and the Author in exchange for an honest review and to be on the ARC tour*
Y’all, January has been my best reading month in over a year. Not only did I read 5 books but I also LOVED all of them. Including this one! This was filled with world building, magic, political drama, and fantasy mystery. I have never read nor did I know I needed to read fantasy mystery. How freaking cool! This book also set up for a potential enemies to lovers romance, emphasis on the ENEMIES. My gosh, Zaethan HATES Luscia. Even at the end. Mostly. But like a sap, I still ship them.
Digging in. It was a bit hard to get into the swing of things. The world building, including political info, is all at the beginning. It was confusing at first because there is A LOT. BUT once I started getting into the meat of the story, I picked it up. That started maybe around chapter 10 or so. Maybe earlier. To try and sum it up (at least, I think this is right), there are 4 kingdoms with a 5th kingdom being a mix. The 5th kingdom, the actual king, is the ruler of them all but each of the 4 kingdoms have, mmmm, let’s call them governors. Each of the 4 kingdoms has a different way of life and therefore a different name for their each respective ruler. THEN each kingdom sends a Haidren to the king and to the prince, so when he becomes king the new Haidren “rules” with him. They are sort of the council to the king. THEN there are other far away kingdoms that are their own thing. Wow. That’s a lot. Hope this helps someone. At least one person.
As far as magic goes. It’s not an all out magic. Magic is really looked down upon as evil. Only the Haidren from Boreal (Luscia and her aunt) have magic. It’s known that they do, and they are looked at as lesser. Luscia’s magic is still one of the few mysteries/ questions I have! It’s very interesting!
Luscia and Zaethan are the two MCs. They team up to find a creepy murderer who is murdering children and draining them of their blood. *ew shiver* It gets so intense! Especially as they hate eachother and navigate many other political dramas going on at the palace. Then the book ends and while you get answers to some things, YOU HAVE MORE MYSTERIES. I NEED book two. I actually stayed up late reading this book (which is huge for me since I’m 7 months pregnant. ;))
Another thing I loved was how incredibly diverse the characters were! Luscia (and her country of Boreal) are suuuper white. With either blond/ white hair or red hair. They live in the freezing north. Zaethan (from Darakai) are black. Zaethan has gorgeous green eyes too. The Pilar people are asian. And the Bastiian people are spanish maybe? I haven’t figured that one out quite yet. Anyways. Very cool!
*Side note. Siiiiggghhh. Still waiting on the day an author writes in Polynesian or Native American descent in characters*
So, I loved it. There were a few moments of precious understanding between Zaethan and Luscia that I’m sailing my ship with.