Also in this series: The Heart of Betrayal
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some talk of sex--though not explicit, Some violence)
In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.
In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.
On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assasin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.
- Light on magic. For a fantasy novel, this one was actually pretty light on magic and fantastical elements. First daughters in this world were supposed to have “the gift,: which is basically an ability to see the future. Lia has hints of this gift, but nothing extreme, so we don’t see much of it. There are other fantasy elements, but people who like their fantasy to be full of magical happenings might be disappointed.
What I loved:
- Lia. I loved Lia as a main character. She was strong and determined, but not without flaws. In some ways she was selfish – after all, she put her own happiness above the good of the kingdom – but you could certainly understand and sympathize with her when she makes this decision. Even though Lia grew up as a princess, she is happy to live an ordinary life and doesn’t balk at hard work or at tasks that might seem beneath her. And, though she does what is best for her, she doesn’t do it without thought to the people around her – and ultimately, when she realizes the true impact of her actions, she’s willing to make sacrifices for others. She especially shows true strength of character in the second half of the book, when she must face extremely difficult circumstances and never gives up hope.
- The love triangle (kind of). There is a slight love triangle aspect to this book – both the assassin and the prince catch Lia’s eye and they both fall for her. But Lia doesn’t spend the whole book waffling between the two men. She makes a choice and, for the most part, sticks with it. I found her attraction to both men and her occasional straying thoughts to be realistic. The love triangle was there, but it wasn’t frustrating or overwhelming – I thought it was perfectly done!
- Blurred lines between good and evil. If you’ve read my reviews in the past, you know that I love it when the lines between the heroes and the villains in a book are blurry. This is one of those cases – after all, the assassin is one of the love interests in the book! Even though there are certain characters who are definitely “bad guys,” they aren’t dehumanized. Lia sees their suffering and sympathizes with them when she learns of the type of life they have led. But, she can’t necessarily forgive their actions (and neither can we). This is a great example of a book where you aren’t exactly sure if the villains are really bad (at least most of them) and it leaves you wondering what might happen next. I can’t wait to read the next book to find out!
- The twist. At one point in the book (more than halfway!) there is a major twist that absolutely turned everything I thought I knew about this book upside down. I was so completely thrown by it that I almost felt the need to go back and re-read the first half of the book with this new information in mind. I’m usually pretty good at seeing twists coming, but Pearson did an amazing job of deceiving me!! (And, yes, it was definitely a deliberate deception – the book is aptly named!) This was my absolute favorite thing about the book because I was so blown away by how completely I had been fooled!