I was given this book by the author for an ARC review and this book comes out on January 19, 2021

I gave this book three stars on Goodreads, it was an entertaining fantasy but I felt there was too much going on. Instead of finding answers to one thing something new happened which I just wasn’t a fan of.

So let’s get into the book, the book is in the point of view from Luscia, who is al’Haidren of Boreal, and Zathan, who is al’Haidren of Darakians. The al’Haidrens are part of a quadrans to the country Orynthia, basically political advisors to the king. There is a glossary in the back of the book which I believe should be moved to the front because it does help make things make more sense.

Zaethan hates Luscia, he believes she is a witch which I guess is a bad thing. The people of Boreal are different; they have light skin, light hair, light colored eyes, they live in trees and it’s cold where they live. Like anywhere, different is horrible. Zaethan isn’t a fan of the other houses either but he legit hates her. Spoiler alert: they do not fall in love. This made me happy, not going to lie, I really didn’t want them to fall in love. Their acquaintanceship does get better to try to solve who is killing all the cross-caste children. There is a lot that goes on in the book, like the news of the prince, a possible marriage, Luscia teaching Zaethan how to fight and we kind of learn about her vulnerability, Luscia’s aunt, the guy she’s working with, possible war-taint, Zaethan’s father trying to replace him; but the main focus is the cross-caste children murders.

Cross-caste is a mixed house child. The children who are half Boreali are the ones being murdered. We don’t know why and we don’t find out why. What I find upsetting is every “house” doesn’t want their own cross-caste and the children are usually sold as slaves. I like that Luscia cares about what is going on and I hope in the future they work on making it more accepting to have cross-caste children. Zaethan and Luscia work together to find who is killing these children, towards the end they’re actually able to fight together when they do find who is killing them. They believe the killer is someone who is war-tainted which in the glossary is stated as “residual, toxic poisoning as a result of the Forgotten Wars.” This did confuse me a bit because war taint does sound like it makes sense, but I felt like I was led to believe it’s actually something different and I can’t wait to find out what it is.

Although I have many questions that kept me guessing the book did keep me hooked. Nothing dragged on and the characters are interesting. He won’t admit it but I do believe Zaethan does start to trust Luscia, which I think will be beneficial for all of Orynthia. I can’t wait to read the next one, I need to know what’s going to happen and I really want to know why her blood is so important.