Publication Date: FEBRUARY 2, 2021
Rating: 5/5


Run. Hide. Pray for escape.

Racing down the winding streets of Imperia, my only hope of reclaiming my throne is to escape. Unfortunately, that means returning to the one place I truly fear—Berovia.

My fears—it seems—were justified. In the dark underbelly of Berovia, I am captured by King Xenos’s men and thrown into the pits with traitors and criminals to pray for salvation I knew wouldn’t come. My only hope to make it out alive is by agreeing to marry the king’s arrogant son. But this union comes at a terrible price. If I agree to be his bride, my people may be stripped of their magic and forced into submission under Kiros’s reign. If I die, I leave my corruptible cousin, Edgar, to ruin my family’s rule.

Can I find a way to save my people and myself? Or, will I die as the princess of nothing?

Back in my review for the first book, The Fate of Crowns, I did said that the ending of the first book set the tone higher for the sequel. Well, the sequel doesn’t disappoint me. It met my expectation because let me tell you, I have a high expectation for this book and I’m glad that it was just as phenomenal as the first book. It keeps getting better and better, and I can officially say that this trilogy is my new all-time favorite trilogy.

I admit that I was nervous at first because the sequel usually can be a hit or miss for most fantasy book trilogy or series, but this one was a hit and not a miss. All I felt was relief because this book which is a sequel wasn’t a let down. It was truly a fantastic continuation of the first book. I was impressed by how well-written this one is, and how the plot stays consistent throughout the whole book. Just like the first book, this one was also really amazing and enjoyable to read.

There are some new things too being included in this book especially more information about the Objects of Kai, and the reason behind why mer creatures become a lot violent over the years. I was wondering about it ever since the first book, because there was one scene that showed the mer creatures harm other people but not Winter. And in this book, the same creatures attacked other people but left her unscathed. When I found out why, I was shocked and then understood how important Winter is and why her role in this whole trilogy is bigger than anyone else. She’s going to have another tough mission to do next.

As for the new things being included in this book, it was curses and dragons. It seems like quite a few characters are cursed and the curses sound like it has a lot of complications to me. I knew the Objects of Kai would play a bigger part, so I wasn’t surprised to learn about the curses that come with those objects. I was about to pull my hair out trying to think of what will happen to the characters in the next book.

I can sense danger are coming, but what I’m mostly afraid of is seeing those other kingdoms that are mentioned in this book. What if any of the main characters ended up going on a mission there? From what was described, those other kingdoms are a lot dangerous than Magaelor, Berovia, and Niferum because the people who went there never came back. As much as I was curious, I was also hoping those kingdoms won’t be the focus in the next book and won’t have an official appearance in the story at all.

As for the dragons, I didn’t expect to see these creatures making an appearance in this book. It was a good surprise seeing the dragons even though it was only for a short period of time. Maybe they’ll appear more in the next book.

In this book the stakes are higher than before, things are going into many huge complicated problems, one problem after another and it was as if the problems are endless. The main characters—even though they are still in their late teens—had to face many challenges and take matters into their own hands, and then there was a political game in every courts. Luckily the characters are royalties, they are trained for these stuffs but how well they can handle a whole problem at once are yet to be seen. From what I saw in this book, they did great so I have no doubt they can handle whatever comes next. Of course, they can always improve their skills which I want to see more of that in the next book.

I can say that this book finally have an actual battle scene at the end even though it was quite short but it was still satisfying to me. Some may not feel satisfied by it and I get that because the battle scene doesn’t last longer, and it wasn’t too epic either but since this is the very first battle scene in this series I also understood why it was written as short and simple.

You can’t just suddenly have the first battle scene  to be epic and big, and also the battle are between two cousins (Winter and Edgar), so there was still an uncertainty hangs in the air. I wasn’t disappointed by the battle scene, instead I was glad to see this series finally have its first battle scene. There will always be a room for an improvement, maybe the epic ones are coming in the next book like in many books, save the epic one for the last.

The scenes involving magical actions are also still as good as in the first book. There was a new type of magic the story introduced and it was one of Cedric’s powers which I didn’t know he had. I’m not sure if it’s called dreamwalking or not because he visited Winter through her dreams but it was actually happening even though physically, they’re far apart from each other. This is the ability I find really unique, and it fits with him so well too.

Everything about this book was pretty much entertaining, and I really liked the direction of the story the author went for this time. A few things intrigued me and everything that happened in the story are so unpredictable. I also liked how it started off right where the first book ended without any time jumps.

This book was also very straight to the point just like the first one. There are no unnecessary scenes and no fillers at all, and to me that made this book really easy to enjoy. I liked the pacing, it wasn’t slow which was really nice. I hope the author keep this up for the upcoming installments.

In this sequel, Winter ran away from the castle after everything that went down between her and her father. She ran away to Berovia and there she reunited with Cedric but something happened to them and she had to face a big challenge, and then both of them made a journey to Niferum to discuss some important matters with Blaise.

I liked watching these three going through their own journeys. It showed that these three royalties are going through many obstacles in their lives and yet still survived which only proved that they can handle everything even with a slight bump in the middle. It might be tough for them to solve all the problems since they are still too young but that doesn’t mean they will fail. They’ll always find a way to achieve success because they are so smart and I’ve witnessed it all. I’m not going to question their intelligence, it feels wrong to do so since it was proven time and time again how intelligent they are and what are they capable of doing. I trust them to make the right decisions.

Now let’s moving forward to talk about these characters one by one…

I’m going to talk about Cedric first because he’s my top favorite character in this series, and has captured my heart since the first book. He doesn’t appeared too much previously, but in this one it was really satisfying to see his character appeared a lot and I’m so glad to know that he is officially a main character in this trilogy. I’ll never stop talking about him, praising him, and shouting how much I love him.

Ever since the first book, he was so captivating and the moment he was introduced, he already captured all of my attention that even after I finished reading the first book I was still thinking about him. I knew he will be important because there are just many things about him that are still mysterious and has yet to be discovered. This book explored his character a lot more and also explained how he is so important and what kind of role did he play in the story. All of the information about him are important enough to look deeper.

There was a few things regarding him that I’d guessed before and it turns out to be correct especially the fact that he is the light fae prince. It was obvious since the first book because there is no way he was put in Winter’s path to become her friend only, there is more to him than what was shown. I wasn’t surprised to find out he is the prince, everything pointed to him. What I’m glad the most was finding out that he is the good light fae prince meanwhile his brother isn’t, at least I get to breathe easier knowing it wasn’t Cedric who murdered Winter’s brother.

Cedric is basically the epitome of sunshine. He was glowing, shining, sparkling, charming, kind-hearted, down-to-earth, and is a very caring guy. He has a very bright and vibrant personality, and a wonderful positive attitude. He always smiles a lot which is why I was charmed by him right away after meeting his character for the first time in the first book. Life thrown him some tough issues and made his life miserable? He just laugh and smile because he knew good things are coming after facing the heavy obstacles. He is actually a happy go lucky and vibrant type. I would love to have the same energy as him, the type to always be positive and think positive.

This sequel gave Cedric a lot more space for him to shine a lot, it gave his character to be explored in a lot more depth, and it also gave him enough room for a development. I really enjoyed seeing more of him, and he brings a high energy into the story that no characters can bring or reach. I’m looking forward to see more of him in the next book and to learn more about what will he do next. In conclusion, I love Cedric Evermist so much that he basically can win against any male characters. I have four male characters that are my top and all-time favorites and Cedric literally jumped straight to the top of the list, and now I have five. That’s how amazing he is. He’s just an easily a likable character.

As for Winter, she did have a very big development in this book which made her even more amazing. I really liked the changes that the author did to Winter’s character by making her even more mature and wise despite her young age. If there’s one thing I can get from her character in this book is that, never underestimate her. She had proven time and time again just how capable she is of successfully doing impossible things. She did all the things she can to make sure she achieved her goals.

She still have her stubbornness and I don’t think it’ll go away anytime soon, but I do think that she can try to tame it. In this book, I get to see her grow as a character and take matters into her own hands and live up to her title as the next queen of Magaelor. She already have some traits of a queen and know how to handle any problems like any other royals do. I get to see her becoming a lot more intelligent than before, and to see her quick at finding ways and making plans in order to save not only her but also her friends’ lives. She’s really an incredibly smart young lady and one who is perfect to be a queen.

I also liked how the author portrayed Winter’s trauma and anxiety properly. She had to deal with a lot of things in this book. She’d witnessed some tragic things before, did the one thing she never do before at the end of the previous book, and was tortured while in a foreign kingdom in this one, and yet she survived. The amount of hardships she had to go through in order to get to where she is at the end of this book are higher than I imagined. She’s strong and tough all the way through and I really admired that about her. She’s good at magic but I want to see her train using weapons too such as a sword. I hope I get to see that in the next book. 

In both the previous and this book, Winter traveled a lot. Previously, she has spent her time in Berovia and Niferum but mostly Niferum due to some circumstances happening in her kingdom. Now, she’d been spending her time a lot in Berovia and some in Niferum due to a few unexpected occurrences that happened in her kingdom too. As much as it can get quite tiring to see the main protagonist spending much of her time in the kingdoms that are not her own, I also couldn’t pass up the chance to explore those kingdoms and learn to know more about its histories. I’m hoping for her to settle in her own kingdom for the next book since she will be back to claim her throne therefore she has to attend many court meetings and start ruling Magaelor.

What happened to her near the end was really shocking. I didn’t see it coming and my heart stopped for awhile because I couldn’t believe the author would do that. Some will be disappointed and might say that it was pointless to make her go through that, but I do see why and it made a lot of sense because now interesting things are coming which may or may not take a darker turn. Will the tone of the storyline change to a darker one next? It would be cool to see that but only the author knows, I can only guess. I didn’t like the idea of a darkness is growing inside of her but it makes me excited to see how the author will handle that part in the next book. I just hope Winter can get rid of it or at least tell someone about it.

Blaise on the other hand is still the same like he was in the previous book. He’s still smart and cunning but he matured a bit here. He acted warm and cold at times but I understood why even though I wanted to shake him and tell him to grow up. I adored him too even though it wasn’t at the same level as how much I adored Cedric. Both guys are unique in their own ways.

Blaise definitely had some issues he need to deal with and as much as he wanted to deal with it on his own, I want him to get help because it’s not bad or weak to ask for help especially from someone he can trust. What he had to deal with was quite extreme especially with spies trying to murder him silently. And then seeing him broke down because of his broken heart made me sad. He was sobbing late at night and no one was there to comfort him, not until later when Winter ended up at the same place as him. That scene was heartbreaking to read.

Despite being a morally grey character, deep down he is just a teenage guy who wanted to get rid of his own curse in order to feel love at its fullest. I wanted him to be happy, watching him feeling tortured was miserable enough for me. There are a few scenes in which I get to see who he truly is when he wasn’t surrounded by many people. He’s strong and definitely is one of the most powerful young king. He’s also a lot wiser than before which is an upgrade. I just hope that he get to use his power more in the upcoming books. I was slightly disappointed with him not being able to show what he was capable of in terms of magic. I’m looking forward to see the progress he will make in the next book.

Kiros is a new addition in the story. I guess this might or might not be the last time I see him? He was kind and have a good heart but he was also a bit shady especially with all the secrets he kept. I can’t trust him at all. I was really wary of him especially now that he is the new king of Berovia. Would he want revenge on Winter since she basically left him hanging? Maybe, who knows!

There isn’t much I can say about him other than he has a good personality and is truly a caring person. It was just that, he doesn’t strike me as the impressive type. As a young prince-turned-king, he should have some backbone and don’t just blindly trust his father. His father has been proven a vile king and a man like that shouldn’t be trusted at all. The fact that Kiros defended his father and told everyone that they are wrong for thinking his father is evil made me cringe. Open up your eyes, the answers are there. Even his sister called him out for always agreeing with his father’s words.

He can still improve as a character and stop being so naive about a lot of things. I wonder what will he do next now that he is a king. Is he a lot worser than his father? Will his father’s influence on him strong enough so that he can be just as evil as his father? It would be a shame to see him change like that especially since he has been kind in this book but also it won’t surprise me considering what Winter did to him. In his eyes it was obviously a betrayal but he should’ve known that making her do the things she didn’t want to do doesn’t always bode well for anybody. I’m nervous to see him again but maybe he won’t be in the next book? I mean, I’m not too sure if he should be in it either.

Edgar is the character I was mostly want to get to know more. Sadly, he didn’t appear a lot which is understandable but from those many informations that the other characters gathered about him, I knew he wasn’t fit to rule as the new King of Magaelor and the informations proven that he wasn’t a smart king at all. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised with what happened to him in this book. I was looking forward to that moment actually. I think he has a brother named Louis if I’m not mistaken. Morgana did mention about him before, so I don’t know what happen to him since he didn’t appear in this book at all. Let’s see if he makes an appearance next.

From what I’ve noticed, the princes and princess are all pretty intelligent. Cedric, Blaise, and Winter are all very smart at making decisions. I have to exclude Kiros from this since he’d done nothing that can make him on the same level as the rest. He was weak compared to the other three.

I liked reading the part where Cedric, Blaise, and Winter are meeting with some lords to discuss about their plans and the way they are handling the problems in this book made me admire how quick they are when it comes to thinking of the solutions. They had to work hard and each of them provided something useful. I would love to see them team up again in the next book just like they did in this one. The way they are all strategizing their plans and how it successfully worked was impressive. They might be in their late teens which means they are still too young but there is no doubt that they have a high level of intelligence to handle court matters and protect their kingdoms. They have huge responsibilities but they never once back down from it. They take it seriously and are so focused. This is why these three are the best trio.

As for the romance, there are plenty of pairings actually. There’s Blaise and Winter, Cedric and Winter, Kiros and Winter but out of these three, Blaise and Cedric are the main ones but which one of them will be the endgame is still unclear. For your information, this isn’t a reverse harem book, this is a normal young adult fantasy book. Just because there are 3 love interests for the heroine doesn’t make this book a reverse harem, this is still a young adult book so don’t expect any stuff like that in here.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind if Winter ends up with either Cedric or Blaise, as long as not with both of them. Cedric is the better choice to be honest because of how good and kind he is, but Blaise and Winter have an unbreakable bond so it’s possible Blaise will be the endgame instead. There are many hints that pointed to him as the one Winter will end up with.

Listen, I strongly hate the love triangle trope because of the drama that comes with it. But this book doesn’t make me hate it, in fact I’m actually interested to see where this is going and how the author will settle the Cedric-Winter-Blaise love triangle in the next book. The main reasons why I didn’t hate it is because there are no drama that comes with this love triangle, and it is not the main focus at all. I’m fine with the fact that the romance is a side thing in the story. It’s better that way, and let the story focus on the looming war and these three trying to find solutions to stop it from happening.

Out of these pairings, the one I didn’t expect to see happen is Kiros and Winter. There are no chemistry and romantic connection between them. Honestly, Kiros’ character is weak compared to Blaise and Cedric. As a love interest, he’s not the best choice and he’s lacking too much. I don’t see anything special about him and all he did was follow his father’s orders even though he can defy his own father like Blaise and Cedric did. He can’t even grow a backbone and fight back. He kept Winter in his father’s castle and made her feel like a prisoner. He even proposed an idea of taking Winter’s throne and kingdom to her and said it in front of her face without feeling guilty.

When Winter got angry at him, he called her rude and even reminded her that he is a prince and said how no one ever talks to him in a rude manner like she did. Props to Winter for fooling him, served him right even though I did feel like he deserve an explanation from her at the very least on why she escaped from their wedding. He fell madly in love with her in just a short period of time, but she was fooling him the whole time. I can’t blame Winter for doing what she did too, and the marriage wasn’t her idea. She had to agree because she had no choice and it was the only for her to survive and stay alive.

She was brave and very bold too for doing what she did, I admired her for that. I’m not sure what will happen in the next book but there’s a high possibility that Kiros will try to attack Winter’s kingdom for revenge. I hope they can come to an understanding on why Winter had to run and escaped the wedding. I feel like Kiros is not entirely as bad as his father, just that he was ignorant and turned a blind eye to the bad things his father did most of the time.

As for Blaise and Winter, these two had a history before and still has a strong connection with each other, not to mention their chemistry is very explosive. This is mainly the reason why I’m afraid for Cedric, especially with how distant he was at the end. Deep down, I knew that he knew but he tried to stay strong. Now back to the matter of Blaise and Winter. In the previous book he told her he couldn’t love, now I understood that he was cursed. But with Cedric and Winter staying for awhile in his kingdom in this book, it was understandable why he strongly pursued her. He was definitely jealous and would do anything to break Winter’s relationship with Cedric which was not a very good move.

Blaise isn’t evil, he’s a morally grey character but leaning more toward the hero side. At times, he can be quite vicious too but not in a murderous way so he isn’t dangerous. I get the reason behind his jealousy and why he tried so hard to have Winter back. He felt like he was losing her to someone who is much better than him and he can’t accept that. Deep down, he do love her despite the fact that he was cursed. He cares about her even though in this book he didn’t make a big effort to try to save her life. He could’ve done much better than just sending someone to give his letter to her, but the content of his letter doesn’t make things better either.

His intention was good and honest, but the way he went about it was wrong. I hope in the final book there’s going to be a huge improvement for his character and I also hope if he have any sort of plans, he will try to go for a much better way. I liked how he matured up a bit by being able to open up to the idea of accepting Winter’s relationship with Cedric even though he felt slightly jealous but he managed to tone down his jealousy. This took him quite some time actually.

I also liked how despite her strong feelings for him, Winter still didn’t excuse Blaise for what he did to her back in the first book as in she didn’t forgive him so easily. She really made him work for it. There are parts in the book that really irks me and it was when Blaise and Winter kissed twice without Cedric’s knowing. It was Blaise who did it first on two different occasions but I liked how Winter was the one who broke the kiss twice and said, “I’m with Cedric.” She even reminded Blaise that she have a boyfriend. Despite still having feelings for Blaise, Winter refused to go any further with him even though it was tempting.

I hate cheating and I’m not okay with characters who cheats but in this case, I don’t know what to make of it. Some readers would say that it’s cheating, and some would say that it’s not cheating due to how Winter wasn’t the one who initiated the kiss and how she was the one who broke the kiss first. She can’t even stop it before it even begins because Blaise was too fast for her to react. There was a lot of angst between these two star-crossed lovers but as much as I wanted Winter to stay with Cedric, I knew that deep down she would eventually end up with Blaise but how will that happen, it’s yet to be seen in the next installment (it’s very obvious which of the two is the endgame). I hope it’ll be written well enough to make them as the endgame believable because Blaise clearly lacks in the love interest department.

As for Cedric and Winter’s relationship, it was just way too good. There wasn’t a single flaw in their relationship, and he was always good to her and treated her better than how both Blaise and Kiros treated her. Honestly, he’s way too good for her and someone as kind as him will eventually get hurt in the end. It’s been obvious since the beginning that they are meant to be just friends and even if they get into a romantic relationship with each other, it won’t last long. When he was first introduced in the first book and seeing the time he’d spent with her, I wanted them to be together romantically and it wasn’t a surprise to see it happened in this book. It was bound to happen anyway but not meant to stay forever.

I also didn’t mind if they stay as friends. Their friendship was beautiful and so is their romance but they aren’t compatible as a couple. If they ever breaks up in the next book, I hope they’ll still stay as friends. What I liked the most about Cedric and Winter’s relationship is that when she was captured, he tried so hard to find a way to save her life and even went to great lengths to help her escaped. He defied his own father and broke some laws just for the sake of saving her life. He fought really hard for her, cares for her safety and wellbeing, and saved her in every way possible. Even if it’s impossible, he still make it possible.

Cedric has a big heart and I loved how important Winter is to him. He was the one who did the most when it comes to saving her life even though he knew the consequences of his own actions, and yet the consequences still doesn’t stop him from using illegal ways to save her. He just wanted her safe and it broke him seeing how broken she was. One of my favorite moments of them was when he visited her in her dreams while she was still being held captive in her enemies’ castle, and he changed their surrounding then kissed her. That was so romantic. Their relationship is just like their friendship, so wholesome. Despite the heavy obstacles they had to face separately and also together, they managed to survived it all. I was really happy with the progress of their relationship and how it turns out to be. This is honestly one of the well-written friends to lovers romances I ever read.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. It was really entertaining and there are so many intriguing things happened that kept me going. I was satisfied with how good this sequel turned out, and now I’m really excited to read the final book. This was supposed to be a 4-book series but the author gave a new update that this is now a trilogy, so I’m wondering how the author will wrap everything up in the next book. There are some things that still need to be explored more especially the Objects of Kai, and then regarding what happened to Winter near the end all I can say is that Morgana definitely used necromancy. So, I guess the subject of necromancy will come back and I’m excited to see how the author will fit it into the storyline in the final book.

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