“A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.
Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.
Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.
Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep. “
There are not enough words to describe this book or how amazing it is. 25 pages in I was already so in love with the rich storytelling in this book and as the pages carried on it only got better. This book is a DESERVES the title of HIGH FANTASY, it was magical, it swept me off my feet, I felt rooted in this world and I didn’t want to come out. This quickly became my all time favorite novel, I honestly can’t explain why but I can definitely give you some insight into why this book is PURE magic.
When a journey this amazing, breathtaking, exciting and jaw dropping ends you can’t help but feel a little sad. Across 804 pages I felt things I never thought I would feel. I experienced Dragons that fly with and without wings, Kingdoms that worship them and Kingdoms that do not. I met characters that filled my heart with sadness, joy, laughter and love. All the while watching the world around them grow and change with magic and faith. This journey isn’t over, it’ll live on in my heart for quite a while. I’m still lost in the pages of this book, my heart racing with excitement. This book was 100% worth every minute that I’m tempted to go back and start all over again.
PLEASE NOTE: SPOILERS AHEAD (Character, Setting and Plot Related)
“He might be the very picture of a lambkin,” Ead said, “but monsters often have soft faces. They know how to mask themselves.” She looked them both in the eye. ” We will watch her. We will listen well. Remember why we wear blades as well as jewels.”Pg 246
Ead – Ead is probably my favorite character in the book…next to one of the Dragons who I will talk about Later. I loved her character and her back story. She is an orphaned mage from the Priory of the Orange Tree who is sent to infiltrate the Inysh Court to protect Sabran the Ninth. When we meet her in the story she is assassinating cut throats that are attempting to kill Sabran. As we dive deeper into her character we see her grow as a person but also advance in Sabran’s court eventually becoming a lady of the Bedchamber. Soon after we see Ead begin to have these feelings she doesn’t understand but soon comprehends as love. For her love though she gets banished and returns to the Priory begging for helps in protecting Sabran. She discovers a snake among her people and the true culprit of who was trying to kill Sabran. In the end we see Ead to grow to be more accepting of others with different faiths, her heart has grown and she becomes a leader of the Priory. I feel we got to see a lot of Ead which I enjoyed because she was interesting to learn about. Her magic comes from the Orange tree. She has a very forward personality, if she doesn’t agree with something we know it and I think that really lent a hand to telling the story properly.
“She did not die needlessly,” Tane said, her gaze blank. “With her dying breath, she restored the joy of a dragon and. in doing so, restored the world. Is there a more honorable thing to do with a life?”Pg 412
Tane – Tane…Tane…Tane… I think we all have a little bit of Tane in us. Someone who wants everything to go smoothly so she can achieve her life goals. Tane takes a risk at the beginning of the book that could ruin her chances of becoming a Dragon Rider. She takes in a foreigner, which is forbidden due to the Red Sickness. Tane passes the foreigner off to her friend who delivers him to Niclays and she pays for this in the future. For the time being Tane gets her wish and gets to train to be a Dragon Rider. Upon discovering that Tane sheltered the foreigner the Warlod of Seikii strips her of her title and sends her to feather Island where she is to spend her life as a scholar. Tane’s friend died, she thought she lost her dragon and she only blames herself for everything that happened (which really it was her fault). Just when she thinks her hope is gone she finds the Waning jewel stitched into her side and discovers her ancestor is Neporo a woman who was to be immortal until she died. Tane is a great fighter but she struggles inwardly with all the choices she makes. She wouldn’t have gotten anywhere in the story if not for the choices she made.
“Of course not. I delayed it for you.” Margret took back the cup. “I had no idea what a tiring affair it would be. Mama wants me to wear white now. Who in the world wears white on their wedding day?”Pg 719
“We are not supposed to question, Meg. Faith is an act of trust in the saint.”Pg 607
Arteloth & Margret – These two siblings who are son and daughter to the Earl of Goldenbirch can often be found in the midst of Sabran and Ead who are their most precious friends. Areteloth or Loth as we know him goes through quite the ordeal throughout the course of this book but he remains strong through most of it. I was annoyed with him a few times because when he found out there were good Dragons his faith was shaken and he kept remarking how things couldn’t be true, but slowly his heart and mind opened up to the possibilities and he learned the truth of the world. Margret though stuck in the castle most of the time was valuable in the story, for without her Ead would mostly likely have been dead. Margret is one of the only characters to get a true happy ending with her Knight Lintley.
“So you see, Ead,” the queen said, “I do not sleep because I am not only afraid of the monsters at my door. but also the monsters my own mind can conjure. The ones that live within.”Pg 203
Sabran – Sabran the Ninth, I think out of all the characters her story ends up being the most tragic. She faces two times the amount of hardships any character does and while it doesn’t weaken her character it definitely affects her sanity. We find out the Sabran hasn’t seen her people in years due the brutal and un-necessary death of her mother. She is being pushed to marry for political alliances but also because she needs to breed an heir to ensure the Berethnet line so the nameless one will not rise. After much consideration and fighting she picks someone only to watch them die after finding out she’s pregnant. Her world is shaken and her emotions a mess, but the hits keep coming and she loses not only her baby but her fertility when the White Wyrm attacks Ascalon. Between all this Sabran slowly falls in love with Ead and becomes attached to her, but fears losing her as she has lost everyone else. Sabran is a strong character though she is faced with so much death and destruction she perseveres in hopes of making her Kingdom of better place.
” I offer you a fair bargain,” he said. “I will leave here tonight and say nothing of your involvement with Sulyard. In exchange for my silence, you will bring me blood and a scale from your dragon.Pg 305
Niclays – This is the one character I absolutely could not stand! I didn’t like his motivations, I didn’t like his attitude. Niclays is so self centered and while this changes throughout the course of the book I was left with a feeling of hatred towards him throughout most of it. He manipulated people and lied to further his goals and stay alive. While he did some it in the name of his great love, it doesn’t mean it was right.
“To be kin to a dragon,” Nayimathun said, “you must not only have a soul of water. You must have the blood of the sea, and the sea is not always pure. It is not any one thing. There is darkness in it, and danger, and cruelty. It can raze great cities with its rage. It’s depths are unknowable; they do not see the touch of the sun. To be a Miduchi is not to be pure, Tane. It is to be the living sea. That is why I chose you. You have a dragon’s heart.”Pg 680
“I offer you one chance to pledge your fidelity to my master and name yourself Flesh Queen of Inys.” Fire roared behind his eyes. “Come with me now. Give yourself up. Choose the right side, as Yscalin has. Resist, and you will burn.”Pg 113
Dragons (Fyredel & Nayimathun) –
My absolute favorite character in this book was a dragon. The great Nayimathun to be exact. There are two different types of dragons: The Westerners who are large with wings and breath fire and the easterners who are snake like without wings, fly due to an organ atop their head and need water to survive. We saw many across the pages of this book but the two I am speaking of were most often seen. Fyredel the right wing of the Nameless one is a cruel an heartless dragon. He controls humans to prepare for the return of his master, and razes the world to warn them of their coming doom. Nayimathun on the other hand is an honorable dragon worthy of her title. She helps Tane to achieve her goals and more than once admits to why she chose her and still fights for her. While these dragons are both incredibly different they are both intriguing and interesting to learn about. You will get all sorts of dragon goodness in this book!
Setting / World Building:
As you can see from the maps above this world is absolutely massive and we nearly span the entire thing during the story. Seeing these maps really helped me grasp the distances that were traveled by certain characters. If you enjoy maps and fantasy settings you will be in for a delightful surprise in this book! The world building runs deep I was so involved in it at the end of the book I didn’t want to leave! I am absolutely floored by the amount of detail we get in this book. I learned and grasped so many parts of this world. For the most part I don’t want to spoil too much of the world building because I think this is something you should really discover yourself. The moment I started this story I was sucked in and I’m still left wondering about it today.
The plot! It’s clear from the very start of this book that we know exactly where this plot is going. That’s not a bad thing to know how this story might end and I think it almost allowed the ending a better chance. This book is JAM packed with the plot! While we mostly center on the long awaited return of the Nameless One so many things happened in this book it would be hard to talk about them all so I will talk about a few of my favorite plot points that aren’t majorly spoilers. I loved the Priory! When we got to go with Ead to the Priory and experience her taking of the fruit, becoming a Red Damsel and discovering treachery among them I was soaking it in. I absolutely did not want to set the book down at any point during that length of book. Another of my favorite parts was the trials Tane faced to become a Miduchi. She fought long and hard and earned herself a great dragon who cared for her deeply. To mention one more while the scene was short I loved Sabran’s wedding scene. I loved learning the vows they took and that they called their loved ones Companions. It gave me all the feels
Author’s Writing Style:
I think you see the pattern already. I LOVED this book and I LOVED Samantha’s writing style. I never once felt bored or wanted to set the book down! From the moment I started I was wrapped up in the story, I was involved and her writing kept me hooked. I understand that some of the characters and things might not be easy to understand however I felt she did a well enough job that I never felt that affected the way I took in the story. Samantha so graciously includes some amazing bonuses at the end of the book as well! There is a Glossary, Timeline of Events and Characters section where you can learn even more about this Goliath of a novel. While I didn’t feel as hooked with her other book series I now want to go back and try to read them again because I am simply floored with how amazing this book is.
To wrap this all up I gave this book a 5/5 GLORIOUS GOLDEN STARS. This book was an absolute joy to read and while the page count seems intimidating you won’t even be counting when you dive into his story. If your looking for an exciting High Fantasy that includes Dragons, Magic and some Court Politics you should definitely check this out. I can’t express how much you should read this book. This was my most anticipated novel of 2019 and it lived up to EVERY SINGLE EXPECTATION.