A princess must choose between her kingdom and her true love.
Princess Alera, heiress to the throne of Hytanica, has reached a crossroads in her life. She has agreed to marry to benefit her kingdom. But Alera is displeased with her father’s choice of suitor, the egocentric and arrogant Lord Steldor. Selected for his firm hand and military skill, Steldor can expect to wield much power over the inquisitive and spirited princess–Hytanic tradition favors the rule of males, so Alera must settle down and defer to her leading man. As preparations for marriage are made, the return of a long-lost child of Hytanica, Narian, from the rival Cokyri people sends shockwaves through the kingdom–and Alera’s heart. The Cokyri are renowned for their violent and bloodthirsty ways, and Narian is welcomed warily by the masses. Alera is quick to warm to him–he is mysterious and daring, fearless and capable. And Narian takes her seriously. Their clandestine relationship leads Alera to take dangerous risks, especially when the Cokyrians’ plans to reclaim Narian as their own come to light. The looming conflict jeopardizes their nascent love affair, as well as the whole of Hytanica. The princess finds herself not only pitted between two suitors but forced to decide between her royal obligations and her heart’s deepest desire. Debut novelist Kluver’s solid world-building skills flesh out this dynamic coming-of-age romance with strong detail and cultural development. Alera is fiery and likable and will find favor among young adult readers. Lively secondary characters, with the exception of a somewhat flat depiction of Steldor, and sharp dialogue, combined with richly imagined Hytanic legend and history, keep the pace of this epic moving until the last scene. However, the tale’s abrupt cliffhanger leaves both major story lines frustratingly stalled until the sequel.
A fantasy romance novel that shows much promise as the kickoff to a series.