Five stubborn royal sisters continue to pursue their intersecting and often conflicting destinies in this follow-up to the Viking-inspired epic fantasy Daughters of the Storm (2018).
The warrior Bluebell, heir to the throne of Almissia, seeks to discover which of the other four sisters is in possession of the magic-wrought sword Grithbani, which was forged to kill her. That would be her sister Willow, a religious fanatic eager to avenge Bluebell’s killing of their stepbrother, who also fathered Willow’s child. Her weapons trainer is Hakon, the Iceheart raider who has his own deadly grudge against Bluebell for permanently mutilating his face. Meanwhile, the undermagician Ash quests for the dragon she has seen in her visions, hoping to kill it before the beast devastates her country. She hides her intentions from her companion, the unreliable and dangerous undermagician Unweder, who needs Ash’s blood to prolong his unnaturally long life and also wants the dragon—but only so he can assume its shape. Ivy, Willow’s twin, is enjoying her position as Duchess of Seacaster and mother of two young boys but resents her elderly husband, Gunther, whom she is gradually poisoning. Unfortunately, once Gunther is dead, Ivy is slow to learn that there’s more to good government than simply ordering people around. And Rose, the castoff wife of King Wengest of Nettlechester, must find her kidnapped daughter, Rowan, a precocious little girl who is heir to a secret heritage but determined to make her own path in the world, regardless of how many people are planning out her future.
The story gathers more depth and originality in this solidly action-packed middle volume, with the promise of more plot development—and probably a hefty dose of tragedy—to come.