This was one big surprise and met all the expectations I had on the book. Not to mention worth every cent that I spent on it. If you think this is another book about fairies, you’re wrong. Dead wrong. This is all about intrigue, the political plays. There isn’t even that much magic here that affects the outcomes. Neither is there any insane battles. Despite the fact Jude is a human, she is so involved in the plays. And she makes the major decisions, through use of her wits rather than anything else.
It was everything I didn’t think it will be. I was rather put off by fairies after the last book set in a court of fairies did (I’m looking at ACOMAF). But this was perfect. Absolutely perfect.
A lot of completely unexpected things. The struggles between two princes, Dain and Balekin. Both of which had questionable morals, the former will make a decent king, the latter, not so much. And what they will do to get the throne. One is willing to plot, scheme and kill to be named the heir, the other simply kills his family if push comes to shove.
And then, there’s Cardan. A prince that doesn’t just become king because there’s no other option, he doesn’t want to, and he wants to escape at all points. And he falls for Jude, but it isn’t instant and he never saves her. He is still far too mean, that he is going to end up hurting her rather than do the normal thing we see in YA. Or even what I see when it comes to books such as this.
Jude chooses, and plays. She isn’t the pawn. She is the mastermind in all of this. She is flawed, she tries so hard to fit in and be better. But fails to truly fit in, and fails to make a friend. She is the daughter of the High King’s General, and well I was utterly surprised how her role was.
In most cases, she might marry. She will have many fairy men swooning over her, but there isn’t any of that. Locke is questionable at best, even then he’s quite the playboy. While Cardan, just see the above paragraph. Dain isn’t even in love with her, he is simply using her.
The court isn’t a nice place to be. There are factions, there is actual bloodshed when someone wants the throne. And overall, it manages to make me like it even more. There are consequences, Jude knows them, and she isn’t afraid to get dirty to get what she wants. And this story shows it on detail, she murders, tricks, lies as well as keep everything a secret. She never tells even her sisters.
It is she who makes it work. When things become bad, she makes it good all over again. And for once, I found that so refreshing, given that she seems to have nothing in common. No ground with the court. But she makes it, because she cares about the realm of Faerie. Because it is still her home, even if she hates it most of the time.
And she doesn’t want it to affect the human world too. That is why she does. Her ambition is huge, she dreams of becoming a knight, when it is all but impossible. She seeks opportunities out with her own mind, none of them are handed to her. She isn’t chosen, but she makes herself important by the choices.
And well she is the core of the very story. A lot of the biggest reveals are found by her, and even the last plot twist was. It made sense, it was satisfying. It was unexpected, but it was the kind of choice I did think was possible. Given that it’s a struggle between three princes by the end, I’m not surprised.
It’s also not a book that is easy to read. I read it slowly, as the story slowly unfolds. As Jude grows up and the situation is revealed. It doesn’t get intense until later on. But it was still gripping, the court was not a nice place to be. If you’re a human. And Jude was relatable, understandable.
But the moment it did, I could not put it down. It isn’t much about action. But a lot on the maneuvering, a lot more on her relationship with her father. Which was incredibly satisfying. And the ending, it was shocking and done is a fabulous way.
But it worked. It just did for me. It was addicting, once I read it I rarely could forget what happened. The story was enticing, and Jude was the centre. If you don’t like her, don’t read this. But otherwise, if you want to read about good solid intrigue in a fairy court, this is it. It will take you on a journey, and test the limit of how much you can like someone who will do anything to get what she wants. And your mind too.
Rating; 5 out of 5