Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana”Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he”s concerned, the princess”s family killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen.
Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be before her enemies succeed. Her heart tells her that the thief-turned-wizard Han Alister can be trusted. She wants to believe it-he”s saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive-and even that might not be enough.
The Gray Wolf Throne continues a month later from the ending of The Exiled Queen – with Raisa trying to get back to Fells to reclaim her place. Her path is plagued with assassins and danger, and even when she gets back to her queendom, her life is under constant threat. She has to navigate assassination attempts, eager suitors, and has to please everyone around her, but also maintain the ideals of the Throne – all while projecting an image of strength; all this while at the young age of 17. For all her knowledge and learning, she is still constantly underestimated by the people around her, and she stands alone – trusting very few.
Meanwhile, Han is trying to rise in power – to get his revenge on the Bayars, and to also be worthy enough to stand by her side. Her being the Princess Heir had made him feel blindsided and betrayed, and he still doesn’t know where he stands in her eyes, but he has a duty to see her safe and on the throne. He is also maneuvering pieces into place that will help her, but also help himself. It is a dangerous game they both play, knowing she can never openly be with him, and a dangerous prospect for them if they are together. The queendom is divided, and she is the only one who can balance out every part of it, which is why any alliances she makes has to be completely thought out. And though she is headstrong, she is also realistic – she knows her duty is to her throne and her people first, and has to keep the peace now more than ever, since Arden is making a play for all of the Seven Realms.
The pacing in this book is slower than the two earlier books, definitely, with the events happening over roughly two months. But even so, I was not bored with the pace – there were plenty of things happening, with high stakes and enough political intrigue to keep me interested and hooked. The various secondary characters, and untangling their motives also gave the plot complexity. Suffice to say, this book was a good sequel nevertheless, even if it suffered from a slower pace. In the series, it may not be the strongest book so far, but on its own it is still an amazing read.