In a world where rulers hold power through their ties to the great “Immanent Powers” that inhabit their lands, peaceful princess Kehera of Harivir and the infamous Wolf Duke of Pohorir must work together to stop a mad king and a power-hungry Immanent.
When the King of Emmer threatens Kehera’s country, he offers to spare her people the wrath of his Immanent spirit if she agrees to marry him. Kehera’s father promises to rescue her as soon as he can, and so Kehera agrees to take the risk and go to Emmer, hoping she can buy some time. But when she arrives at his court, she discovers that a terrible Immanent Power, more powerful than she imagined possible, has taken the king over completely. Kehera flees and eventually finds herself at the mercy of Innisth, better known as the Wolf Duke. Innisth has been hiding his Power’s strength from his own king for some time, and he can’t help but see Kehera, with her tie to her country’s Power, as an opportunity to finally break free. But the more he grows to care for her, the harder it becomes to use her for his own ends. Though the Immanent Power mythology is often convoluted and the prose can skew purple (“In this, you are the foundation of all my hope, and the tomb of all my fear”), Neumeier (The Mountain of Kept Memory, 2016, etc.) knows how to balance fantasy with character. The specifics of which Power can do what and why get fuzzy, but the characters' emotional experiences keep the story grounded. The supporting cast is large enough to provide depth and interest but small enough to be memorable.
The worldbuilding is patchy in places, but a finely drawn web of convincing characters with complex relationships wins out.