A displaced teenage queen acts as a thief, spy and vigilante while plotting to reclaim her throne.
The One-Night War stole the lives of Princess Wilhelmina Korte’s parents and her kingdom, Aecor. Ten years later, in Skyvale, capital of the conquering Indigo Kingdom, Wil and her band of ragamuffin teens, the Ospreys, are attacked by glowmen—humans corrupted by wraith, the noxious supposed residue of magic, which is forbidden—and survive only with the help of vigilante Black Knife. Patrick, leader of the Ospreys, sends Wil and her friend Melanie to the Skyvale Palace as spies. There, Wil has an understandable but frustratingly difficult time controlling her anger—especially toward ailing King Terrell and aloof Prince Tobiah—even under threat of exposure. Wil reconnects with Black Knife—known for targeting thieves and magic users—and a bond slowly builds, despite Wil’s magical abilities. Some may guess Black Knife’s identity, but that doesn’t diminish the intensity of the inevitable kissing scene. What’s not so obvious is the connection between Wil’s magic and the encroaching wraith; readers will have to wait for that. The story is not perfect. It’s pushing credulity that Patrick, so young himself, trained the Ospreys so well, and problems sometimes resolve rather simply. Still, solid worldbuilding, interesting characters and just enough romance make this an enjoyable read.
Despite what’s possibly the most agonizing cliffhanger since Catching Fire, genre fans will find it worth their time. (Fantasy. 14 & up)