When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.
Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.
Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.
With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?
The Meta Details:
Length: 464 pages
Publication Date: February 6th, 2018
Content Level: Young Adult
Pearl Clutching Content: teacher-student relationship.
Trigger Warnings: TEACHER-STUDENT RELATIONSHIP, allusions to rape
Featuring: a teacher who loves his student, a student who loves her teacher. Magic, and stuff. Memories. I dunno, I’m kind of fixated on the whole teacher-student thing.
Recommended for: fans of romance with some time on their hands who can ignore the whole minor relationship thing.
Rating: a solid meh
Ginny Lurcock’s Thoughts: A pretty solid entry into the realm of magical fantasy. By and large, I enjoyed the title. The characters were interesting, the plot moved at a steady pace. It was a brand new world but it was pretty easy to catch on quick. The only bits that felt slightly rushed were her sword training, her relationship with her adopted father, and this review.
But that’s because I want to get to the important bit.
With her teacher.
The man she met when she was ten.
That’s my not appropriate confetti. Just FYI.
Now, nothing comes of this until she is of age. I will give them that. But that is basically the bare minimum that you can do for acceptable relationships. And it’s totally negated by building a relationship on the cornerstone of “I am in a position of power over you and control your future.”
He holds, in his hands, her ability to become impassioned. (A master of her chosen field, not, like in bed.) He has influence over her field of study in the future. Where she goes. Who she goes with. And the other students in her school know it. They all recognize that this man they had largely considered to be stone favors her. That he smiles for her and no one else. That he indulges her.
He even admits to falling for her while she was a student and that he couldn’t bear the idea of parting from her. Of her leaving his life.
It’s just… not appropriate. And it’s addition to the story tainted the whole experience for me. Not enough to have me throwing the book across the room, of course, but enough to have me side eying it. Hard. (The romance is only a subplot and if not for the last chapter it probably could’ve been ignored. Or had you saying “but like a sibling, right? You love her like a sibling?”)
So that’s it. An interesting fantasy novel that has heavy historical and magical influences complete with a lackluster inappropriate romance leading me to an overall impression of meh.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for a fair and honest review via Edelweiss.