In this YA novel, when 17-year-old Crusa returns home after graduating from an elite military academy, she finds herself embroiled in all sorts of family drama.
Thrown back into her huge extended family after time away at military school, Crusa is all set to marry Andrew, a good boy from another respectable family, whom her relatives have arranged for her to wed. But things get complicated when she falls in love with Lium, her roguish, bad-boy bodyguard provided by her family. The romantic setup is funny in parts and moving in others, but it ultimately feels a little too familiar. Luckily, it’s not the book’s sole focus. Different situations with Crusa’s family and her appetite for adventure make for several entertaining side plots. Though set in a somewhat futuristic alternate reality, the good story doesn’t get bogged down with details of the world, instead focusing on Crusa, her family and the dilemmas that surround them. Much of the novel is written in fast-paced dialogue, which can be confusing, although it’s entertaining more often than not. Crusa is supposed to be a self-assured, headstrong young woman—an appealing characterization, though her internal thoughts often only feature her telling readers how intelligent she is. Her voice doesn’t convey any sort of depth of thought, and she often states the obvious or makes jokes that fall flat. The narrative could have highlighted Crusa’s intelligence by having her see something unexpected or revelatory in her world. Nonetheless, even though her smarts don’t always come across in her voice, she’s a girl worth following, and her story makes for a compelling read.
A flawed but heartfelt YA novel with a memorable heroine.