Riaznin is finally free from imperial rule.
Valko, the dethroned emperor, is in prison awaiting trial. Sonya is no longer sovereign Auraseer—no longer the empire’s property. Anton, Valko’s brother and leader of the uprising, is now one of the governors on the nascent Duma, the council set up to oversee Riaznin’s new democracy. Peace is still far away, however, as the peasants and the former nobility continue to resent one another while the forces of a neighboring country are charging their way through the countryside toward the vulnerable new government. Sonya not only possesses the Auraseer’s ability to sense the emotions of others, she also has the unheard-of ability to manipulate others’ emotions. Only Anton and her old Romska friend, Tosya, know she used this ability to influence Valko to abdicate just as his regime was on the verge of winning the One Day War. Unfortunately, enemies past and present also know her secret and threaten to use it against her. The whiny girl Sonya was has been replaced by a strong but flawed woman who owns her convictions. Sonya’s first-person narration is filled with descriptions of the emotions of those around her. The effect can be disorienting, but perhaps that’s the point. A few minor characters have darker than white skin, and other than the Romani-cognate Romska, the people of Russia-analog Riaznin appear to be white.
With this second installment, the Burning Glass trilogy hits its stride. (map) (Fantasy. 12-18)