After banishment as a child, a girl must brave a treacherous estate to save her father and unearth her past.
White teen Jules Ember lives with her father in the kingdom of Sempera, where they struggle to make rent. The Gerling family, owners of the Everless estate, collect tenants’ blood-iron: coins forged from blood, each equating to increments of time that can be added to a life span. Desperate to save her ailing father, Jules hopes to work at Everless to earn enough blood-iron to pay their debts. There’s a royal wedding approaching and much to be done. Lord Roan Gerling, also white, whom Jules grew up with, is betrothed to the ward of the queen. Jules hopes Roan will remember her, and her heart stutters when she sees him. Her father forbids her to go to Everless, warning her never to let the queen near her. But Jules sets out on a dangerous path; she can pause time itself, and memories of her childhood aren’t what they seem. Rather than hide from the queen, she’s determined to find out their true connection—ultimately risking everything. Though tropes abound, characters are given room to grow past them. Propelled by inventive lore and magic, Jules’ story, which she narrates in the present tense, is a heady, addicting page-turner—especially for readers who prize worldbuilding over romance.
Utterly absorbing; a must for fans of Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass (2012) and its sequels. (Fantasy. 13-adult)