Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.
But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.
Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.
This book really took me a while to get into – I couldn’t understand all the raving ratings! It was one of those moments where I thought we must all be reading a completely different book. However, once our protagonist left her cloistered world, things start picking up, and it was a race to the proverbial finish line – I was absorbed.
Also, we have a bisexual protagonist, which is great and I daresay still fairly unusual in YA fantasy. The male love interest is a gruff grumpy darling. He may be all dark and broody but Oskar has a lighthearted side. And he treats his momma and sister good. I also really enjoyed the fact that he does not pressure her or place conditions on her with regards to her abilities – if she doesn’t do X, still has a home there regardless.
Elli as an MC was a tad annoying initially, but as she sort of undoes all the conditioning she was subject to in the temple, she becomes a much more interesting character with a backbone and her own desires.
ARC received from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.