A group of young people forge unexpected bonds that are tested when they must choose between love and duty.
The enchantress’s curse has been broken, but no happily-ever-after awaits Princess Harper and Prince Rhen; Rhen struggles with severe PTSD while rumors spread of an heir with magical abilities, weakening his claim to the throne. While the queen of Syhl Shallow regroups after a failed invasion, her elder daughter, 18-year-old Lia Mara, makes a doomed attempt to negotiate peace with Rhen. Meanwhile, Rhen’s former guard commander, Grey, has been captured and questioned about his knowledge of the mysterious heir. When Rhen’s conditioned fear of magic leads him to do the unthinkable, Lia Mara helps Grey escape. Their journey, told through alternating first-person perspectives, provides a Cook’s tour of both countries, prompting thoughtful consideration of their distinct social and cultural traditions—and just enough time for romance to blossom. Like Harper in A Curse So Dark and Lonely (2019), Lia Mara proves herself the undisputed hero right up to the stunning conclusion. This sweeping, romantic epic repeatedly turns the tables on the fantasy tropes that readers might be expecting. Apart from Harper’s brother’s boyfriend, who is black, the majority of characters appear to be white; Harper has cerebral palsy.
This nuanced sequel offers new perspectives and emphasizes the value and complexity of both sibling and romantic relationships. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)