Publication Date: JANUARY 5, 2021
Rating: 5/5


With my brother’s death came the crown and all the trappings that accompany it. Now, my father—the most dangerous man in Magaelor—seeks to control my future.

But fate has other plans.

Thrown into a mer-filled waters, I’m dragged into the rival kingdom of Berovia. Surrounded by those who murdered my brother and wished my entire family dead, I must find my way back to my kingdom. There, a marriage between myself and the dark fae prince could bring peace to a century’s old division between the fae and sorcerers.

But dark revelations and deadly lies threaten to destroy my destiny. I must make the choice between my duty, family, and heart before it’s too late.

Will I allow myself to become the exalted Queen of everything? Or be reduced to a cautionary tale as the shattered princess of nothing?

This book was so good. I went in not knowing what to expect but hope that I would like it and thankfully that I’m more than just like it, I loved it. Everything about this book was solid. From the storyline to the plot to the pacing to the characters to the world-building…It was all excellent. I’m happy that this book and this story exist.

This is a story about a princess named Winter Mortis who have fought many heavy obstacles in her life at the age of sixteen just so she can save her kingdom from those who want to destroy it, but first she must secure her crown and her throne.

What I liked about this book is the storyline and the plot. The plot was for Winter to get her rightful crown back and her throne that belonged to her since she is the only heir left after the tragedy that befell her brother, André. I was impressed how the plot stays consistent throughout the book because sometimes, there’s an inconsistency in the plot—I’ve seen this happened in a few books before. Thankfully, it doesn’t in this one which makes this book even more better than it already is.

The storyline was truly impressive. I liked how everything are connected to one another, how some things are hinted that might happen in upcoming installments, and how everything plays out the way it was meant to be. The way it was done and written are so smooth that I didn’t detect any flaws at all. It was surprisingly good.

There are many things being revealed in this book that shocked me, and there are many things that was hinted in this book and are yet to be seen in the upcoming installments. I’m so excited for the sequel and to see where everything will go from here, especially after that good cliffy ending. That ending was everything I expected it to be and now I’m eager to see what will happen next.

As for the shocking part, I’m not going to spoil it but let me just say that the shocking part was all the twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. Usually, I can see or feel what will come next but this book made it impossible for me to do so. I’m glad that there are many surprises in this book, it made the story more enjoyable to me. There will be twists and turns in many parts of the story, but don’t be afraid because all of it are so good that it’ll blow your mind.

The story is a very fast-paced one which is exactly the type of story that I love reading. I can’t handle a slow-paced story because it will only make me lose interest. Luckily, this beautiful book isn’t slow but fast and straight to the point too without any fillers or unnecessary parts. Everything is straight to the point, no delays or anything which is the more why I loved this book. Things happened so fast it was good that way because obviously you don’t want to waste any more time to get to the interesting part. I really enjoyed it a lot, I’m not even joking.

There wasn’t many action in this book, only a few which is understandable. Not all first book in a series have many actions, some do and some don’t. The few actions are incredibly good especially the one that involved magic. Since the protagonist, Winter, hasn’t fully trained in physical fights yet, I knew this book won’t have many action in it and I’m totally fine with that. Hopefully, she will have a training session in the sequel, and also I hope for many actions to come in the upcoming installments.

As for the world-building, it was really cool to be introduced to this big new fantasy world and to meet with new characters and magical creatures. It’s what I’m mostly looking forward to whenever I read or pick up new books. This world was massive and so enchanting. This world introduced the readers to three different kingdoms: Berovia, Magaelor, and Niferum.

I liked seeing the differences in these three kingdoms such as: the difference in how the kings are ruling their own kingdoms, the difference in their cultures and traditions, the difference in their laws like how the rulers are giving their people punishments for breaking a certain law etc. The differences are what made these three kingdoms different from one another and also made it clear which kingdom is the most dangerous and which king is the most vicious.

Honestly, all kingdoms in this book are dangerous due to its laws and also due to the vicious kings that are ruling it. None of the kings are truly good with a pure heart, unless André successfully become a king but sadly he doesn’t have that chance anymore. Winter might change everything from bad to good if she succeeded in becoming a queen but she still has a long way to go, and not to mention that she’s still way too young to be a queen but her people and her kingdom rely on her. It won’t be easy for her to get her crown back but I don’t expect her to back down and surrender because that’s just not like her at all.

In this book, Winter spent too much time in both Magaelor (her kingdom) and Niferum. She doesn’t spend too much in Berovia but the sequel definitely will have her going there again, so I expect the next book to explore Berovia more. It was said to be the most dangerous kingdom, so I’m excited to get to know the kingdom a lot more.

Magaelor is where Winter live, Niferum is where the dark fae live, and Berovia is where the light fae live. Since Winter has something to do with the dark fae prince, that is the main reason why this book is focusing on Magaelor and Niferum. That’s the only tiny bit of information I can share here.

From what I’ve noticed in all books I’d read, the evil side is always the dark one and the good side is always the light one. Here, the roles are reversed. The good side is the dark fae (not many, only a few but still they are not as bad as many would think), and the evil side is the light fae (for majority, only those in minority are actually good). Winter feared the light fae more than the dark fae, and that to me proved which one is more dangerous and evil. It really surprised me to find that out. I expected the dark fae to be evil but well, color me surprise that it was actually the light fae. It was really refreshing to see these changes.

As for the magic system, each kingdom have different system. I’m not really sure how it works in Berovia because there wasn’t that much information being shared about it yet. But, in Magaelor and Niferum, the magic system works differently from each other.

In Magaelor, only the rich can have magic and the poor will remain poor. It hurts my heart that the poor have to suffer under King Amos’ rule. The royal family of Magaelor inherits their magic from their ancestors and Ash Forest. The forest is important and if it ever burns down, then their magic will be gone. Just like their staff, each of the people that have magic will need their staff so that they can easily use it to channel their power. They’ll be powerless without it. In conclusion, they’re not as powerful as they believe they are.

In Niferum, everyone have magic there and everyone can use their power—be it for good or bad intentions. The fae is obviously the most powerful beings compared to the humans due to how different their magic works. Their magic come from within, and I haven’t seen any dark fae using their magic to a maximum level yet but I imagine they would look even more powerful. Will I ever see Blaise (the dark fae prince) using his power and letting it all out without holding back? Maybe, or maybe not but I’m hoping for it.

There was also this differences between solises and lunas. These two are basically the same thing except for their different beliefs and their different methods of using and channeling their magic. Winter is a luna and if she’s in a solis territory, her life will be in danger. These two can never come to an agreement. There was a long history about their rivalry. Just like how there is a long history regarding the Objects of Kai—objects that can make a mortal become an immortal, and objects that can kill an immortal. I loved reading the brief history about these things, it helps me to understand how these things works in the story and why it was so important.

Overall, the magic system in this book are unique even though it works differently in each kingdom. The few magic actions are so good, and my favorite was whenever Winter used her staff to channel the magic in her. I just hope she knows how to use her magic without using her staff, just in case something happen to her staff.

Now let’s talk about the characters…

Winter Mortis is definitely the best choice for a protagonist. She’s fierce, never back down, always fought harder than many characters I’ve seen in this book, quick in finding ways on how to save her and others’ lives, and she was quite smart too.

Despite all these great things about her she also have some flaws, after all she is human and she was just sixteen. Honestly, she can be a bit infuriating sometimes. I understood her reasons why she sometimes acted without thinking things through or why she sometimes made reckless decisions. She was only sixteen and is naive because she was sheltered her whole life from learning the vile truth about her father and her own kingdom. I couldn’t blame her for acting recklessly, but I also feel frustrated because at one point in the story, she didn’t want to reveal what she knows about her father’s plans but if she did it, she will help save many more lives, instead she chose not to. I know she was conflicted and confused but I hope she will learn from her own mistakes and vow not to repeat it.

I also did get that she was panicked and still suffering from her anxiety for the majority of the book with how much she talks about the pill she got from Morgana that help take her worries away, add in the fact that she had to go through rough time in the story and that only made her more fragile and anxious. In some way, I can relate to her. Anxiety is a serious thing and I do feel bad for Winter for having to deal with it while also dealing with many other things involving saving her kingdom. I hope she becomes a lot stronger as the story moves forward. By adding this, it makes her one of the most realistic protagonists for a fantasy story.

She’s also still way too young to be put in this position and having to go through all the heavy obstacles but I do believe from her experiences with many harsh things in this book, it will improve her as a person. I can’t wait to see more development for her character and to see her growing more mature in the next book because she still have a long journey to go before she could take back her throne. On a side note, I want to see her training on how to defend herself physically and using swords just in case something happen to her in the near future, that way she knows what to do to escape.

Overall, she was great and still have a lot to learn. Her journey after this one might be more difficult but knowing her, she’ll never back down and she’ll always find a way. I hope she still have those people who always have her back, she’ll need them obviously. I couldn’t imagine how she survived the whole thing but I’m glad she did. I’m looking forward to see what the author have in store for Winter’s character.

Blaise Lazarus is not only charming and smart but also very cunning. He is literally the definition of ‘a nightmare dress like a daydream.’ He wasn’t that bad actually, but he was so ambitious that his moral compass doesn’t point north. There was a lot to learn about his character and even after knowing him, I still feel like there’s a lot more about him that I still didn’t know. He was this big mysterious and complex character that it was hard to figure him out.

There are times when he was sweet and kind, and then there are times when he was serious and scary. I knew deep down he has a kind heart but he completely shut that part of him the moment he realizes the things he wanted to achieve. I liked seeing him being open to Winter and showed her the side of him no one has seen before. She gained a soft spot in his heart, but he can’t let her distract him from his duty and that ended up in him doing something that made Winter feel betrayed.

I admit that I disliked how he was handling matters regarding Winter’s kingdom, and from that point I didn’t know if he was truly kind or not all those time he spent with her. Blaise is a big mystery, and it’s going to be obvious he will make an appearance in the sequel but I hope he will do whatever is necessary to help Winter and gain her friendship back. I loved the idea of them together romantically, but since both of them are young then I guess it’ll be better for them to just focus on their own kingdoms first before thinking about getting into a relationship.

Blaise is not a villain, he wasn’t light or dark, he was merely grey. All I want to see from his character in the upcoming books are the good side of him he doesn’t let many people see. I want to see more development for his character, and more epic scenes that involved him fighting his enemies, I’m sure he knew how to fight. He was also talented and I want to see him shine with his talent. I want him to admit his feelings for Winter right in front of her instead of using a letter to let her know. Don’t be a coward, he’s the dark fae prince for a reason.

As for now, I’m having mixed feelings regarding his character. I want to like him but also I didn’t know which category he fall into since he’s in between light and dark. I’ll wait until the sequel to come out because I feel like that will determine which category his character truly belong to.

Cedric on the other hand is a lot different than Winter and Blaise. He’s charming, kind, and friendly. I was surprised that he wasn’t as vicious as the other light fae. There wasn’t much to know about him since he only appeared in a few chapters. I hope to see more of him in the sequel. He need to have more screen time and also he need to team up with Winter in case she needed his help. Out of all the characters in this book, he is honestly my most favorite so far.

King Amos is very vicious. He was just as cunning as Blaise but he was a lot more dangerous. I cannot believe I thought he actually cared about Winter. The poor girl had to go through many hardships in this book because of what he put her through. There isn’t much I want to talk about him other than he was a cruel man. That ending was satisfying to see when Winter faced him but also shocked me to see what she did because that wasn’t how I thought this book was going to end even though I expected something like a strong ending, just not like what she intended to do.

There are other side characters that made appearances in this book too: Morgana (the only one trustworthy so far), Birch (not sure if she’s going to appear in the next book but I’m hoping for it), Edgar (Winter’s cousin who I want to see whether he is kind or not, and whether he’ll let Winter take the throne or not), Aquarius (the sailor, and definitely have Winter’s back. Don’t ask why, but I pictured him as Jack Sparrow), Licia (this man hold too many secrets, and I want to know what connection does he have with a necromancer. Necromancers are gone and nobody ever heard from them again as was stated in the book, but I do feel like they might appear in future books), and lastly Darlina (she only appeared twice and I already don’t want to see her face again in the next book since she threatened Winter because she was jealous of Blaise and Winter’s relationship. Am I bad for laughing at her over-confidence that she would marry Blaise? I don’t think so).

There was a very little romance in this book. I liked how it didn’t focus too much on the romantic element since the main characters are mostly young, especially Winter and Blaise. And also focusing on their characters’ journeys are more important and I liked it that way. But I also loved seeing the two of them together trying to find a solution to put everything at peace.

Winter and Jasper’s relationship was short-lived, and what happened to Jasper was brutal. I feel sorry for Winter she had to witness the horror. The fact that she was still strong after that made me admired her more.

As for her relationship with Blaise, let’s just say both of them have feelings for each other but emotionally they aren’t ready for a relationship yet. Blaise is a playboy but even he admitted that Winter is the only one he ever felt something more for. She knew what she felt for him is more than just a friendship but she still have a lot on her mind and being in a romantic relationship definitely isn’t on her plan yet. I wanted to call what she felt for Blaise is just a silly crush but I couldn’t because that’s not what it looks like.

These two still have a lot of things they need to work on and since both are way too young, it’s better if they put their focus on their own kingdoms first. I didn’t know if they will be endgame but if they are going to be each other’s romantic partner then I hope they’ll try to mend things and sort out problems between them especially after what Blaise said before Winter ran away from his palace.

And if they are not the endgame, then I hope whoever are lucky enough to be with them will bring out the best in them and help support them in what they do and lift them up so that they won’t be alone in facing many upcoming obstacles that awaits them. Blaise and Winter needed good partners to help them, and boost their confidence and strength. If somehow they are each other’s destiny then they better don’t destroy one another.

This book was amazing for a first in a series. The ending of this book was shocking but also it set the tone higher for the sequel and I’m counting on the next one to be just as enjoyable as this one. What will happen next? And what will Winter do about Blaise’s letter? There are so many questions I had for the sequel and so many things to look forward to. I’m so excited to continue reading the journey of these characters.

The story was phenomenal, very informative, and it was full of courtly intrigues that set me on edge and made me feel restless because everything that happened in this book made me anxious due to the circumstances the protagonist was in. It was a very gripping page-turner tale filled with so many fascinating things that made me so focus in reading and following the story from the start to the end.


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