If it was anything, this was something that really worked if you wanted something that doesn’t tread too deeply, but never shies away from touching the more darker aspects.
Thora is a princess, the last of her line. And well, she is suffering for everything that has been done by the Asterean. With the first chapter seeing her having to execute her own father.
And that when Thora is spending time at court, her own people is languishing in the mines. Either going crazy, or dying due to hunger. I did like that this dies have its reasons, as magic is powerful and this is the cost.
But most importantly, I feel was that the machinations were for one real. The Kaiser is a terrifying man, but at the same time none of his family likes him. His wife is mad and crazy but it it because of him, his son is uneasy and will rebel against him despite showing obedience. Because all he has given them in actual fear, on their wedding day, he turned the blades on his wife’s family. Not a single one of them lived. As for his son, Soren just watched his father bring mentally unstable and dangerous people to the battlefield because he simply wanted to test something out.
And despite all the prettiness, there is a very real threat to Thora. Who is effectively in a gilded cage, it’s pretty but still one at the end of the day.
And I do admit that it doesn’t try to at least get Thora to forgive him because he simply is not his father’s son. It doesn’t work like that, and she is still willing to do what she must to ensure that she can win. And what she must for her own country. And after so much suffering does a “I’m not my father” helps things at all, when most of her people are already gone, most physically and some mentally. And I like that in this case, she simply takes advantage of it.
Although it loses out to far darker entries which tread the lines, and at times the character writing was a little weak for Thora. Going from a traumatized princess, to an avenger the very next moment. I think it was not that smooth and could have been handled better.
As for the love triangle, I just don’t buy it. But it doesn’t affect the outcome very much. As Thora has lost a lot of herself and broken her own heart to pieces, but I feel it is the very same thing that allowed her to be able to save her people. It isn’t an easy choice, but one that defines her as a Queen or a woman. The former does what she has to for the sake of her country, regardless of personal consequence, while the latter is vice versa.
Another small nitpick was why on earth was Thora allowed to live. Or at least not neutered. Look at Europe, where they have many cases. The War of the Roses saw a young boy imprisoned in the Tower of London, and eventually executed. Let’s not even get to the missing princes. Thus, there is just very very little grounding as to why she has to live. Although comparing it to the other books who try the rebel princess route, this is still a lot better. I’m mostly looking at The Orphan Queen.
But overall, I feel that this is an entertaining and rather satisfying story. It isn’t exactly mind blowing, but I feel that it is still a good book.
Rating: 4 out of 5