She’s spent years preparing to become an all-powerful queen and to wield her land’s magic, but that’s not her destiny at all.
Sixteen-year-old Elli is the Saadella, training to inherit Kupari’s crown and its strongest fire and ice magic from the Valtia—the queen—as soon as the Valtia dies. Temple elders always choose a Saadella with coppery hair, ice-blue eyes, and a blood-flame mark on her (presumably white) skin. But when this Valtia dies, things go horribly wrong: Elli’s body receives no magic, not even during torturous trials. Handmaiden Mim—with whom Elli’s in love—hears the elders’ plan to slit Elli’s throat and sneaks Elli away, but Mim gets caught, leaving Elli alone and helpless in the countryside. Injured by a bear trap and nearly dead, she’s rescued by her next love, who turns out to wield ice magic himself. Her new life outside the rigid temple leads to revelations about her country, some gruesome and shocking, some hopeful. Fine’s portrayals of fire and ice magic are scorching and chilling. Despite her new knowledge about fire, ice, blood, copper, and power, Elli knows that “we’re fated by stars, our lives mapped and foretold”—this is a tale of prophecy, not agency. She sets determinedly down her real destined path, poised for revolution in the next installment.
Full of passion, fire, and ice. (Fantasy. 12-16)