A humble woman goes from rags to riches in debut author Broc’s medieval tale of destiny and redemption.
Raja, a young peasant girl, is accustomed to the hard toil of fieldwork. Although her daily existence is filled with drudgery, she’s still spirited and curious about the world around her. When a wealthy young man gives her a job as a scullery maid, she’s grateful to leave her present circumstances and start a new life. But she soon makes a startling discovery about her past that turns her world upside down overnight: Proof has surfaced that she’s the rightful heir to the throne of Zurkia. She was abducted as a baby and forced into a life of servitude, and her true identity was kept a secret by people who wanted the throne for themselves. This revelation comes at a terrible price, however; news of Raja’s claim to the monarchy quickly spreads, and soon, there’s a price on her head that puts her life in danger. Who can she trust on her journey to the throne? As Raja evades assassination attempts and escapes kidnappers, she transforms into a formidable woman of strength, beauty, and valor. Broc’s descriptions of the medieval settings and atmosphere are detailed and colorful, and she also gets across the bleakness of life as a peasant in a feudal system: “It was fear that motivated them—fear of not producing enough for their lord, fear of the future for their family. Their lives were not their own.” However, the dialogue tends to fall flat most of the time. The characters’ conversations are often stiff, wooden, and less than lively: “ ‘Are you okay?’ asked the girl. ‘Yes,’ said Raja. ‘How about you?’ ‘Fine.’ ‘Do you want to put on a dry shawl?’ ‘Yes.’ ” Still, there are a few passionate outbursts that help to lessen the dry discourse.
A well-intentioned fantasy novel that lacks spirit.