Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.
In this book, the Big Secret or Twist was guessed by me pretty early on. I think it tended to drag during some chapters (maybe it was because I listening to the audiobook over the course of like… 20 days?), and I wasn’t particularly enamored by the appearance of a love triangle.
But I still liked this book. Enough to give it four stars, even! Enough to be seriously interested in the rest of the series, even!
The world-building was absolutely fascinating. The dynamics of the Season kingdoms (both within the kingdoms, how the Seasons relate to each other, and how they relate to the rest of Primoria) is just so interesting! Raasch crafts such a rich world. One of the things I loved was the different words and slang used by the characters if they were from different kingdoms. Another thing I liked? Different fighting styles! There’s not a LOT of that, but there was a difference that I really appreciated.
I love it when different kingdoms in one literary world have different attitudes, slang terms, fighting styles, and are just fleshed out and distinct from each other. It keeps the entire world from just being populated with Stock Fantasy Kingdom #1 through #8. I love it!
Another thing I loved? Okay, I bemoaned the appearance of a love triangle because I am most definitely ship Meira and one of the legs of the triangle. I found their interactions so sweet, genuine, and understanding of each other’s situation. Just… GAH.
Overall: Even though the book was telegraphing the twist so hard that it now has a sore wrist, I still enjoyed this book. Did I find the twist to be a little bit of a cop out? Yes. Did I still love the rest of the book? Absolutely yes. Fantastic world-building and a swoon-worthy ship AND a great story about people trying to take back their kingdom? MAHVELOUS!