Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.
Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by
death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.
Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?
Review: 3.5 Stars
This book is rather difficult to review because I thought of setting it down several times, as some parts were boring, but other parts were so amazing that I would expect this to be a 5 star read. I think my main issue is that I didn’t feel much of an emotional connection to the characters or story, but the book’s plot is so incredible that it should definitely be given a chance. This isn’t a novel to be devoured quickly like I am used to as a book blogger, but rather it should be slowly savored so the true implications of some of the plot twists can really shine through.
I found the main character Hesina hard to relate with. I think part of the reason she was difficult for me to relate with is because there were many times where her actions were different from her internal thoughts, so I felt like she was a hypocrite. Since I felt such a disconnect there were times that I couldn’t bring myself to care what happened to Hesina or the other characters. For most of the first two thirds of the story I found myself bored and waiting for the next exciting thing to happen. There were some really exciting scenes sprinkled throughout the book and they drove the entire story for me.
The plotting was incredible. There were so many great plot twists that really blew my mind. Some of the scenes were written so well and kept me reading throughout the first two thirds of the book. Once I hit the last third of the book I couldn’t set it down, where in the first two thirds I had to push myself to pick it up. Once the pace finally picked up the book became absolutely mind blowing. I was glad that I had pushed myself to the end because all of the sub-plots came to fruition and the plot twists were revealed. The plotting aspect of this book was the best part and if my rating was purely based on the plot it would be 5 stars.
I had so many mixed feelings that made this book really hard to review because I really didn’t relate Hesina or even like her that much despite the fact that she had a great character arc. I didn’t feel very emotionally invested in the story and almost set it down at points. I’m glad that I continued on through because the plot twists and the climax of the book made the boring parts worth the read. A lot of this book dealt with political plotting, betrayal and issues of the country which I think is part of what really bored me, but all that plotting was necessary for the way the story was laid out. It is certainly worth powering through dull parts because the end was really worth it.