Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is a promising first book in a fantasy series. Sole is a princess that survives a tragedy in her land called the Darkness which kills her parents and new husband. Her two sisters are nowhere to be found and Sole finds herself the Queen of Mosa. As she works tirelessly to pull her country out of the tragedy, she is summoned to heal the King of Sundom, the land her people fled to avoid being killed by the evil King.

Sole leaves on a ship to Sundom, escorted by Prince Rivian, the second son of the King. Initially the two have a testy relationship, with Rivian dismissming Sole, and Sole ignoring Rivian and refusing to allow him to disrespect her. I really liked this part of Sole. Despite her youth, she knew how she should be treated and insisted people show her respect. Eventually, the tension between the couple eases as they share their love of reading and searching historical books. They are both startled by their attraction to each other, and eventually start a relationship that they keep hidden from everyone. When they eventually reach Sundom, they discover that things are not as they were led to believe, and both Rivian and Sole have hard decisions to make about their future, and that of their countries.

I liked both Sole and Rivian, however I had a hard time with some of their banter. I have no issue with cursing, but here the cursing took me out of the story. It felt forced and wasn’t used in a natural way. I also got tired of the constant miscommunications between the couple. Of course, that could just be my issue because I really don’t like that romantic trope.

The world building was spotty and not as thorough as I would like. There were mentions of magic, but no explanation was given as to where it came from, how many types of magic there was, who could have magic and why, etc. I hope that is explored more in the next books. The book also felt uneven, with some storylines dragging on, and others rushed. Hopefully the pacing of the next book will be better.

There were a few twists in the book that surprised me and I enjoyed them. Others were not executed as well. However, I really like the cliffhangers at the end and where they may lead the characters in the next book.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Katie and Brey PA and the author. All opinions are my own.