The sequel to Royal Bastards (2017) starts off with Princess Lyriana, her cousin, Ellarion, Zell, and Tilla in the glow of Lightspire—but where there is light, there is also shadow.
Lyriana is no longer allowed to practice magic under pain of death, Zell joins the City Watch, and Tilla becomes a ward of the Volaris and studies at the University alongside Lightspire nobles and Lyriana. Things are going reasonably well considering that they are all pretending, acting their parts to some extent. But everything changes when Tilla’s roommate, a wealthy Baron’s daughter, Markiska, is murdered in their dorm room and Tilla catches sight of a strange mage lurking and watching her. The rise of a cult called the Ragged Disciples also raises questions. In trying to solve Markiska’s murder, the quartet uncover a horrendous plot to destabilize the seat of the kingdom. Like the first book, this one takes its time to get going, but once it does, it is nonstop action and plot twists. The author comments on societal norms, sexist BS, the tragedy of history written only by the winner, and the hypocrisy embedded in class warfare. The cast has a number of diverse characters in terms of race, culture, and sexuality.
An exciting story full of magic and action-packed scenes. (Fantasy. 14-adult)