Publication Date: MARCH 2, 2021


For a hundred years, the once-prosperous kingdom of Perin Faye has suffered under the rule of the greedy and power-hungry Thungrave kings. Maralyth Graylaern, a vintner’s daughter, has no idea her hidden magical power is proof of a secret bloodline and claim to the throne. Alac Thungrave, the king’s second son, has always been uncomfortable with his position as the spare heir—and the dark, stolen magic that comes with ruling.

When Maralyth becomes embroiled in a plot to murder the royal family and seize the throne, a cat-and-mouse chase ensues in an adventure of dark magic, court intrigue, and forbidden love.




Rating: 4/5

This is one of my most anticipated releases this year and it didn’t disappoint at all. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and the story was not like how I thought it would unfold. I knew it was a cat-and-mouse game between two heirs, but there was a lot deeper going on than just a plot to seize a throne, and I find the whole story so intriguingly well-written.

The storyline about Maralyth and Alac fighting on who will get the throne of Perin Faye seems easy and predictable enough, but turns out there are too many complications in the process. I was tense the whole time reading this book, mainly due to what will happen once Alac found out the truth about Maralyth’s bloodline, and since they started to have feelings for each other then what will become of it? How will their respective supporters react to that? There was so much to think about.

So many things are at stakes in this book and the whole situation was really dangerous and intense. As for the plot, it was incredible how there are many twists and turns in it. I was shocked on multiple occasions, especially learning the truth about Maralyth’s background, Nelgareth’s plan, the sudden change in Alac’s to-be sister-in-law’s character, and the main threat. What a bunch of great surprises all of this are, I can’t stop being shocked. I was impressed by how unpredictable the story was as a whole even though it seems predictable to me at first.

I was really interested in learning more about Maralyth’s background and Alac’s background, and how Alac’s family stole the magic and throne from Maralyth’s family. Everything happened way in the past, but discovering the truth made this book far more enjoyable than it already is. I was really invested in this part the most, and then there was a matter of the magic. The history of the magic and how it became the stolen magic which turns it into a dark and dangerous magic was explored a lot deeper in the story which fascinated me. I liked how the author gave a detailed explanation regarding these matters instead of explaining it in the simplest way and left the major details out. That must’ve took a lot of patience to write it and make it make sense so that the readers will easily understand the part. I appreciate the author’s hard work for writing all the intricate details.

There are quite a handful of amazing action sequences in this book, especially the one that involved Maralyth’s magic. Her magic was beautiful and captivating, I can pictured it clearly in my head. Her power was simple but enough to changed the fate of the whole kingdom and saved many lives. She used her magic for good which made her out to be a hero of Perin Faye, I’m honestly fine with that. The best way to describe her magic is that when she uttered a simple word, it became a reality. It’s not a spell, just any normal words. I find her ability so unique because this kind of magic usually need a spell to work but in this book, there are no spells needed which was refreshing to see.

Now, let’s talk about the characters…

Maralyth is just a girl who was born with magic and lived with her father and brother. She grew up as a daughter of the famous vintner. Turns out, she was a lot more than just that. I was actually surprised to learn who she really is. She was a special girl because of who her mother was. Never once in her lifetime did she dream of becoming a queen, ruling a whole kingdom, and is actually the true heir to the throne of Perin Faye.

She’s a girl with a kind heart, and her only intention is to change Perin Faye into a better kingdom. She wanted what’s best for everyone and always stood for what’s right. She helped save many lives using her magic and is a very down-to-earth girl. I liked how she carry herself throughout the story. She may be a normal girl but she does possessed a strong trait of a queen, nobody can deny that. There isn’t much to say about her character other than that she’s an amazing and well-written character with a bright and strong personality.

What saddens me was how she was wrongly accused of plotting the downfall of the Thungrave royal family so that she can become the queen of Perin Faye. She had no idea it was Nelgareth’s plan. He is her uncle and he was basically a creep. I was uncomfortable reading the scenes that had him in it. The way he threatened her father’s life in order to force her to agree to his plan on seizing the throne, and then demanded her to marry him once she becomes queen really disgust me. I hated his character from the start and I was glad his life didn’t last long for him to achieve his goals. I feel bad for Maralyth because her creepy uncle tried so hard to control her, but I was happy she grew a backbone and fought back later on.

The only thing about her that frustrates me was that, whenever she get close to Alac she reminded herself that she shouldn’t get close to him because sooner or later she would sit on his father’s throne which rightfully belongs to her since from the beginning of time her family was the ruler of Perin Faye. I get that things will get complicated for her and Alac if they let themselves get closer to each other but nothing is wrong with enjoying his company if that means she will at least have someone to talk to at the castle aside from her uncle and her maid considering she doesn’t have friends. It’s better to spend time with him than being alone. Aside from that, her character is really likable for the majority of the book.

Alac on the other hand is the second son of the king, who never wanted the throne and hated the stolen magic that his family possessed for years. He just wanted to become a vintner instead of doing his duty as a royal prince. Out of him and his brother, he is the only prince I find really likable due to his kindness and good heart. Just like Maralyth, he wanted what’s best for everyone and wanted to make a good change to Perin Faye. He knew how corrupted her father’s rule has been and he wanted to destroy the magic if it means the kingdom will be save and everything will be good again.

He’s so down-to-earth just like Maralyth. There are so many similarities in their characters and yet there are still a few differences. He’s not an arrogant and a self-absorbed prince like in many books. A kind-hearted and selfless prince with a good attitude and likable personality is very rare to find in most of fantasy books, and I’m glad Alac is that rare prince. I find him to be a bit hilarious, especially when he was trying to get angry at Maralyth for deceiving him but then he can’t even be angry at her at all. Being angry or mad at someone doesn’t even suit him, especially if that someone is Maralyth. The way his facial expression changed from angry to soft in a matter of seconds actually quite funny the way I imagined it. Even if he did get angry, it was only for like a few seconds. His heart was too kind and soft. Overall, I find his character so easy to connect to and is very much likable.

The romance between Alac and Maralyth are sort of insta-love at first but actually not. How wrong I was for thinking it was going to be that while it was actually a slow-burn kind. The attraction was instant because they both felt something when they first laid their eyes on each other but they get to know each other first and then became friends before acknowledging the feelings they have for one another. Their romance is a slow-burn friends-to-lovers kind of romance which is my favorite romance trope. I liked the progress of their relationship throughout the book.

From two strangers who slowly get to know each other to two strangers who slowly get closer to each other to two friends who enjoyed each other’s company to two friends who finally acknowledged their feelings and decided to pursue a romantic relationship and become lovers. I loved this so much, how it went from small and later developed into something bigger. They are so compatible together, both have the traits of a queen and a king in them and I have no doubt that both would be great as the new rulers of Perin Faye. They both stood for what’s right and have the same goals in their minds which makes them an amazing king and queen even though they are so young to rule but they’d proven they can handle whatever is coming their way—be it good or bad.

The story as a whole is very incredible and I enjoyed it so much. If you’re looking for a standalone fantasy book that has an amazing storyline with many great plot twist and a dash of courtly intrigued, a secret or hidden bloodline that unraveled many protected secrets, unique magic with a little bit of darkness and danger in it, simple and yet beautiful world-building, two well-written and likable protagonists, and a sweet forbidden romance with a dash of angst, then you might want to read this book.


1.  Everything green and growing sang music to my soul. Music I knew, by now, nobody else could hear.

2. No good comes from dark thoughts.

3. If my heart had been able to stop beating, it would have.

4. It wasn’t fear that kept my eyes from shutting—it was a sense of powerlessness.

5. Magic, it was told, existed in time itself, woven into every grass blade, every tree, every squirrel or horse or murder of crows.

6. A queen will always need the support of her lords’ armies—especially during a takeover of power.

7. There’s no glory in being king if your people don’t stand with you.

8. Preserving life wasn’t evil.

9. There would be no coup without death.

10. The best leaders are those who never sought leadership.

11. No creature wants to be caught, no matter how fine the net.

12. Time is neutral. Therefore, the Magic, which is wrought of time, is neither good nor evil on its own. When freely given, it provides life and light. When stolen, it turns on itself, bringing power at great cost. And if this stolen magic is set free, it will consume everything in its path in the same way time itself eventually does—by bringing it to death and rot.

13. If I lied to everyone, where would I find my truth?

14. A man who doesn’t protect the integrity of his household is an open target.

15. Stolen magic turns on itself and becomes destructive.

16. It was hard, in the dark, to tell friend from enemy.

17. I was fire. Wind. A universe of exploding stars. The magic came to me like a wayward sheep, like a retreating army, like a swarm of bees. I opened myself to it, a yawning portcullis to my soul, and it rushed through, all ice and motion and the complexities of time. I drank of it like a parched traveler, swallowed it in great, heaving gulps. It rushed in through my hands, my mouth, my heart.

18. Making mistakes doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be good at something.

19. You made choices because you knew they were right.



Jillian is known to the online writing community as Authoress, hostess of Miss Snark’s First Victim, a blog for aspiring authors.

In real life, she holds a degree in Music Education, sings with the Nashville Symphony Chorus, and homeschools her remaining youngster-at-home.

She’s still crazy in love with her husband of more than thirty years and is happy to be surrounded by family andfriends amid the rolling knolls of Middle Tennessee.



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