by Emily Gee
“It had to be done. Ivek was a mage. It was our responsibility to find a way to break the curse.”
- Page 41
Her magic may be the only thing that can save a prince—and the Seven Kingdoms.
In a distant corner of the Seven Kingdoms, an ancient curse festers and grows, consuming everything in its path. Only one man can break it: Harkeld of Osgaard, a prince with mage’s blood in his veins. But Prince Harkeld has a bounty on his head—and assassins at his heels.
Innis is a gifted shapeshifter. Now she must do the forbidden: become a man. She must stand at Prince Harkeld’s side as his armsman, protecting and deceiving him.
But the deserts of Masse are more dangerous than the assassins hunting the prince. The curse has woken deadly creatures, and the magic Prince Harkeld loathes may be the only thing standing between him and death.
I last read this a few years back and I gave it 4 stars then too. I think, this time I would have given it more, but for the prejudice. I found it far more annoying than I remember finding it before, but then as I’ve got older, most notably in the last few years, my patience for prejudice has all but gone. Obviously though, in this it’s part of the story and a key part to the plot, but it still annoyed me.
However, the two things I absolutely remember happening in this book never happened. And I know I’ve never read book 2 because I waited for it for a few years before being distracted so clearly my memory is more suspect than I originally thought.
This is the type of story I love, adventures and magic and swords and shape shifting and stuff and changing perceptions. My favourite characters were Innis and Harkeld. Well, I say my favourite…I like their potential, both as characters in their own right – they both have a lot of possible growth, but also their potential as a couple. You can see the slight shift in Harkeld, too. Towards them all, not just Innis and I hope it continues.
I also liked the princess’ guardsman, Karel. He has so many restrictions on him, but at the same time, he still fought to do the right thing within those narrow margins. A lot more time has to past before the end still but I hope his future will be to soar, not crash and burn.
I have to admit, the third thread holds little to no interest for me, though I now can see why it’s there and I feel sorry for what Jaumé is going through, I generally just skim over his time on the page. This may very well change as his storyline gains momentum but for right now, he’s just delaying the rest of the story.
This story has a wealth of characters to love and hate and I can’t wait to keep going with their adventures into book 2.