Advanced uncorrected proof provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my final review 🙂
First off, let me give you a bit of information about the structure of this book. There are four main POVs with three being ladies of various stations. Each section or chapter identifies the POV you are entering. Fantastically, they each have there own voice and thoughts colored by their cultural background, which lends to building both world and story.
I fully loved this story! The world building, tension building, character development. All of these were integrated almost seamlessly. This author fully understands how to capture his readers attention and keep it. Another thing that was done well was the inclusiveness of the world and characters. We are presented with a trans character, bisexuality, and other questions of gender or sex within a world that accepts these as normal. I loved that it was included but wasn’t a huge plot point.
I also enjoyed that the author presented a full story with many of the plot threads coming to a conclusion at the end of this lengthy book. That being said, GoodReads has indicated that this is the beginning of a series, and I would definitely read more! There’s a lot to explore in this world, and I’d love to dive back in!
Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle.
A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic… and her own flesh and blood.
A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.
A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.
A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.
This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.