Asa is the youngest daughter of the house of Fane, which has been fighting a devastating food and energy crisis for far too long. She thinks she can save her family’s livelihood by posing as her oldest sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the throne of the house of Westlet. The appearance of her mother, a traitor who defected to the house of Galton, adds fuel to the fire, while Asa also tries to save her sister Wren’s life . . . possibly from the hands of their own father.
But as Asa and Eagle forge a genuine bond, will secrets from the past and the urgent needs of their people in the present keep them divided?
Author Tessa Elwood’s debut series is an epic romance at heart, set against a mine field of political machinations, space adventure, and deep-seeded family loyalties.
This was surprisingly good. If I had to compare it to a current book, I would say its similar to These Broken Stars, but with less emphasis on cheesy romance. And I found myself thoroughly entertained – I finished it in one sitting.
I mean, it’s not perfect. There are gaps in the worldbuilding, and no history of how things came to be, and our heroine makes a seriously dumbass decision to save her sister that could very well lead to the deaths of all her people, but she does spend the rest of the book trying to make up for it.
Look at me, raving about how much I liked a book while emphasizing what’s wrong with it. HA.
But seriously. I enjoyed the author’s take on political intrigue, alliances and trade. I think that aspect is pretty well thought out. While the beginning of the book was a bit meh – Asa sounded like a spoilt child, ordering people about, I came to really like her. She comes to understand the ramifications of what she’s done, and takes serious, although questionable steps to keep things from falling apart.
And the romance, well, I liked that part too. (Also, POC love interest!) It was pretty much a slow build, of awkwardness and emotional constipation on Eagle’s part. But the two come to realize they’re in this together, and the relationship is built on mutual respect, which is awesome. And they both try to protect each other, well aware that they’re just cogs in a political machine. I did think the ‘I love you’s’ came a bit suddenly, but I’m choosing to overlook that.
I want to know more about some of the side characters – I wish they’d been more fleshed out – and methinks I spot a possible long-con involving Asa’s parents in the last chapter. (This won’t make sense if you haven’t read the book, but I’m putting this here so I can see if I’m right when the next books come out!) Indeed, there’s so much more to explore – I’m particularly interested in the family dynamics of the three houses.
Suffice to say, I went in with low expectations but was happily proved wrong. Entertaining, compelling and a fresh take on inter-planetary intrigue.
ARC received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.