by Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt BYR
Hardcover 489 pages
Reviewed e-ARC provided by publisher
Amazon/ Kindle/ BN/ Book Depository/ Indiebound/ Kobo
Goodreads: 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 assassin 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.
So as always, I chose the book a long time ago and get approved to read it. I don't read the summary again so I am totally blind going in to read the book. Best way to do it. I was thrilled with Lia! She is a fabulous princess because she is so unlike a princess! She doesn't have the haughty airs of a royal at all and I'm pretty sure, from reading accounts of her previous adventures, she never had any. She is a born rebel! I thought she was a little reckless with her safety in the beginning but I believe it just came from growing up in a palace surrounded by people that constantly protected her. She wasn't aware of danger. It just didn't register with her like it did everyone else. Her enjoyment of her freedom is addictive. She finds the smallest things bringing her the greatest joy, things the townspeople ( and I) would take for granted- the colors of the shops, the smell of the air, the pleasure of a bath even in a cold stream. Her character just continues to grow throughout the story and I continued to love her. Oh, she could dish out the coldness when it needed to be. And toying with suspicions, metting out revenge, stoicism. I could go on. My admiration for Lia just continued to grow throughout the book and it ends on a very high note.
This story, what a crafty weaver of tales Ms. Pearson is! I was so hooked leading me along the merry path, thinking one thing, something I really didn't like. I actually discussed it with my husband told him how much I liked the book and all, except for this one thing. And then bam! Hit me right between the eyes and I had to go back and reread. I had assumed some things that were absolutely not true. Next day had to explain to my husband again about the book and how I was enjoying it so much more because of the same thing I hadn't liked the day before I had been wrong about it. A sharper reader might not have gotten fooled. I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer these days. But God did I love being wrong!!!
(And my husband didn't fall asleep either night when I explained the book to him, miracles).
So here's what I think, there are a lot of "songs" in the beginnings of each chapter that refer to religious texts and tales from the gods. Not a lot is explained, it sort of slowly unfolds, but I wasn't completely clear. Lia does tell the tale about The Remnant so it is more or less explained but much is left to be told. That didn't bother me. Just skipped right over what I didn't know. I concentrated on what I did know. Lia, the people she knew, the countries that were allied, the "barbarians" and the action. There is so much going on that you really shouldn't get hung up or even have time to think about what you don't know. There are so many delicious little hints about what might be and I kept waiting for some things to happen that never did, but I just know they are coming. The only thing I hate is that it will be another year before the next book comes out. As excited as I am about Lia and this book, I hope I can remember my enthusiasm by the time the next book rolls out a year from now.
Recommended for lovers of fantasy, young adult, romance, strong female characters and a lot of action. I think I was tired after reading everything that happened. There is some violence and some crude sexual references, but nothing terrible. No sex, no bad words and no nudity.