Release date: May 3, 2016
Em may be a useless Ruined—completely lacking any magic—but no one is more motivated to destroy the king. He ordered the elimination of the Ruined. He killed her parents and kidnapped her sister. Em will make him pay.
Her plan is simple: She will infiltrate the kingdom, posing as the crown prince’s betrothed. She will lead an ambush. She will kill the king and everything he holds dear—including his son.
The closer Em gets to the prince, though, the more she questions her mission. Her rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.
I went into this book thinking it was dystopia (well, just look at the cover!), thanks to Goodreads category system, but realized soon enough it was a fantasy novel. And nope, I wasn’t even disappointed by this fact – because for a simple sounding plot the blurb presents, the author threw in quite some surprises. Em is considered useless in her kingdom because she doesn’t have magic, and though she is the eldest child she is being passed over for queenship for another. But she isn’t disheartened – she is out to save her younger sister (who is meant to be the queen) from enemy territory and avenge her parents’ murder. The start is a bit like Red Queen, with her impersonating a princess, and being married off to a prince who is a stranger to her.
As the story progresses, Cas (not Castiel, but Casimir), her husband and she start falling in love with each other. She feels rotten about her subterfuge and the fact that she is assisting in an assassination attempt, but she considers loyalty to her people first. There has been a lot of bad blood between the magic-wielders (called Ruined) and the humans, both sides equally at blame for it. She herself, when arriving at the palace, analyzes every room as to which thing to use first to kill someone. She is brave, and kind and snarky and headstrong, while Cas is gentle, empathetic, understanding and kind – they make a good pair. When the truth comes out, well, things go south and anything after that was unpredictable. I was very much interested in the world itself but sadly not much details were provided about the Ruined and the different kinds of magic they wielded. I am hoping future books will enhance the world-building and enrich the story further, but this first book was a good start to the series.
Received a free galley from HarperTeen, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.