After assassins kill the king and his heir, the remaining royal twins compete to earn the throne.
White twins Carys and Andreus live in the Palace of Winds, safe from the war. But Andreus has a secret: he’s cursed. And if the Council of Elders finds out, he and his sister face grave danger. All his life, Carys has kept him safe, shielding him whenever he’s had an attack. Subsequently, Andreus is free to indulge himself, whether it be in women or the study of windmills. Carys, however, frequently faces punishment in order to hide her brother’s affliction, and she will do anything to protect him. This tenuous arrangement holds until assassins kill both the king and their elder brother. Grief sends the queen over the edge, and the twins are forced to take her place: they must compete in the Trials of Virtuous Succession until only one lives. It isn’t long before the twins once bound by blood are out to shed it. Carys emerges as a strong, dynamic lead, but her brother quickly shifts into caricature to suit the plot. There’s no mention of magic in this fantasy until it ushers in the ending, adding much-needed hope to an otherwise endlessly bleak tragedy.
Predictable and offering too little adventure, save for the twist that will propel the sequel. (Fantasy. 13-18)