Rating: 4 out of 5.

I loved this first book in a new YA Fantasy trilogy set in the same world as the author’s Crown of Shards books. Here, we meet Princess Gemma Ripley, whose frivolous reputation hides her secret identity as a spy, and her skills as a powerful mind magier.

Gemma goes undercover with her loyal gargoyle Grimley to see who is stealing tearstone from her family’s mines. While sneaking around she crosses paths with Prince Leonidas Morricone (Leo) of Morta, one of her family’s mortal enemies. When Gemma gets into trouble she finds herself pairing up with Leo to uncover the mystery of the missing tearstone. Gemma never dreamed she would be working with Leo, and is surprised and disturbed when she finds herself attracted to him. Both royals will need all the skill, and luck, they can muster to get out of the increasing trouble they find themselves in.

This book caught my attention from the start. I really enjoyed the previous series, which is set in the same world about 15 or so years before the events in this trilogy. Gemma is a strong character, but as is typical in these books, there is something holding her back from achieving her full potential. She is challenged multiple times throughout the book until she’s able to push through and take control of her powers. I think perseverance and belief in oneself are an important messages that can never be stressed enough. Even in a YA Fantasy. 🙂

Leo is the typical YA brooding love interest with his own secrets and issues. We don’t learn much about him as this book is focused on setting up Gemma and the long-term difficulties she will face throughout the trilogy, but I expect we will learn more about him in the next books. Some of the book is formulaic and there is a bit of repetition regarding the Seven Spires massacre (from the previous series) and the couple’s childhood interactions that could have been omitted, but this book is such a fun read that those issues are minor irritants.

This is a good first book in a new fun and exciting trilogy and I am really looking forward to the next book in the series. You may miss some nuances in the story if you haven’t read the Crown of Shards series, but there is enough background in this book that you could read it without having read the previous series and still be able to enjoy it. However, I highly recommend you read the Crown of Shards series because it is SO GOOD!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Harper Voyager. All opinions are my own.