Princess Esmae started a war—but will she finish it?
Esmae always dreamed of reuniting with the family who abandoned her when she was a child. She originally wanted to return her brothers to their homeland after they were usurped by their Uncle Elvar. But when her twin, Alexi, tries to kill her—and instead kills her best friend—her trust is shaken. Esmae reluctantly plots to maintain the status quo in hopes that Elvar will allow her to inherit the throne. But when she learns the truth about the duel that was meant to end her life, her sense of self is completely shattered. Driven by ambition, jealousy, and a lifetime of powerlessness, Esmae grows increasingly bloodthirsty and power hungry, abandoning her former quest for peace and her family’s love. The plot is fast-paced and full of surprises, its intricate world carefully rendered. Where it really shines, however, is in its characters, particularly Esmae, who, throughout the story, is forced to confront painful truths. Mandanna (A Spark of White Fire, 2018) is an astute observer of human nature and a master of suspense, deftly unraveling Esmae’s defenses until her complex feelings about her family turn her from peacenik to warmonger while simultaneously making her villain of a brother more sympathetic. After substantial intermarrying, race does not exist in this fantasy world.
Extraordinarily drawn characters and plot twists will keep readers’ hearts racing. (Fantasy. 14-adult)