Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publication date: July 15, 2014
Source: an e-galley provided by the publisher for an honest review
In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.
In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.
On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.
While the characters are great and the plot picks up, the writing is what stands out. Pearson is a fabulous narrator, which I think is sometimes overlooked in fantasy. The plot is a necessity, but Pearson's writing stood out for me. Lia is the main narrator, but it does bounce to the "prince's" and assassin's" POVs occasionally in the beginning. After Lia and her maid Paulina escape Lia's future marriage, running away to a far-off inn, the assassin and prince follow. There, we don't know who is who and who Lia is exactly referring to. All of this could completely bomb if the writer doesn't pull off the writing. But Pearson basically flipped her hair like Beyonce and blew me away with her writing.
However, at first, I worried about everything. The inn setting felt a little too dragged out. I was too confused with the boys (which I see now is FULLY intentional). I was just feeling iffy about it all, and unfortunately that's a side effect of reading a hyped book. On the flip side, there's a reason it was hyped.
We hit the TWIST and basically...
I'm still kicking myself over how gullible I was. You see, I had it all figured out. I guessed and felt right and then Pearson TRICKED me. She completely deceived me, when I thought the only deception going on was between Lia and the boys
After that, everything picked up and went full force. All these spoilery things that I can't mention, but I'm dying to, believe me. Political strife and personal anguish happens as well as longing and hatred. Once we got over one twist, trauma, or problem, we were almost instantly introduced to another, but in a good way. Unlike other authors who will blatantly place conflict in a plot to force it to be interesting, Pearson does it with ease, making it feel natural.
I had people warn me about the non-love triangle, but despite their warnings, I was still super nervous while reading. From the very beginning, I wondered how it would play out until Lia clearly wanted one guy more. Then the TWIST happened and it was essentially cemented. Then the fun begins and I had a nagging feeling that Lia would cave. It left off with her still only wanting one guy, but I can see a love triangle playing into the mix in the sequel. I really hope that won't happen, but I'll try to mentally prepare myself anyways.
If it does happen, I might even forgive it if I could just get my hands on the sequel now. I liked this book that much.
Verdict: A twisty fantasy with feels and encore-worthy author moves. Bravo, Pearson.