On a quest to save her life by finding her father’s killer, a teen girl discovers conspiracies between kingdoms on the verge of war.
Outcast Britta Flannery, distrusted in Malam because her mother was from neighboring enemy country Shaerdan, has no income source and is about to lose her father’s land back to the crown after his death. He, the king’s bounty hunter, has been murdered. Caught poaching, Britta’s given a choice: instead of execution, she can use her tracking skills to bring down her father’s killer, revealed to her as Cohen Mackay, her father’s former apprentice and her best friend—whom she secretly loves. Devastated, she agrees. Soon, though, her mission to find her father’s killer takes her over the border into Shaerdan, where she learns a lot more about magic (forbidden and punishable by death in Malam—Britta herself has a secret ability, telling truths from lies), her family, and the dark power drawing the two countries into conflict. All characters seem to be white. Archer Britta is a familiar type of heroine, and the majority of the predictable plot twists happen right on schedule, but the writing quality is good. The strong climax sets up a cliffhanger for the sequel, which will not be unwelcome.
Though not terribly innovative, still a solid choice for fantasy readers who prefer a large helping of adventure with their romance. (Fantasy. 12-18)