Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a good second book in this unique fantasy series. The book starts off slowly and it was initially hard to get into it, but about a third of the way it picks up and is a lot more exciting. Lin is now the emperor, but most governors in the empire have not accepted her rule. The Shardless Few demand she abdicate. Islands are sinking, and an army of constructs is descending from the north, threatening Lin’s rule. As if Lin doesn’t have enough problems, the Alanga, an ancient race of powerful magicians, have returned to take over the Empire.

This book focuses on Lin’s efforts to stabilize the empire and solidify her rule. Lin has no friends, no one to trust and must rely on her wit and guile to run the Empire. She begins to rely more on Jovis, the smuggler that saved her life that she appointed the head of her guard. But can he really be trusted? Lin and Jovis are both damaged and flawed people. Neither has the self confidence to heal themselves, but just as they start to make progress circumstances set them back.

Some storylines in the book are finalized and others are left hanging, setting the book up for an exciting third book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Orbit Books. All opinions are my own.