From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Three kingdoms, Limeros, Auranos, and Paelsia, struggle for riches and sovereignty in this complexly wrought tale of war, rebellion, and magic. A prophecy foretells the birth of a sorceress powerful enough to rival dead goddesses, ancient legend speaks of a ring that provides mastery over the Kindred (embodiments of elemental magic), and duplicitous betrayal leads to an alliance between royalty and commoner. The sorceress emerges in the form of Lucia, the princess of Limeros, while Cleo, the princess of Auranos, obtains the ring. Young Jonas, the son of a Paelsian wineseller, puts aside vengeance and aligns with his enemy to save his homeland. Intimations of romance and sex are interspersed with scenes of brutality and magic in an often-barbaric environment that vaguely echoes George R. R. Martin. The plot is packed with incident, although constantly changing points of view weaken the dramatic arc and interrupt the forward momentum. Characterizations are fairly stock, with little to differentiate them, and the stylized fantasy language occasionally stutters over modern colloquialisms. This first volume of an intended series sets up the backstory that informs and motivates the action to come. While the shifting points of view can be distracting, the result is short, action-driven chapters that may carry readers to the finish and on to the next volume.-Janice M. Del Negro, GSLIS Dominican University, River Forest, ILα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From an opening dripping with blood, magic, and betrayal through complex interweaving plots detailing treachery, deceit, and forbidden love, this novel is the first in a projected series that will immediately engage readers and keep them intrigued. When a simple Paelsian wine seller is murdered by an Auranian noble, the delicately balanced peace spanning three related kingdoms is split asunder by greed and entitlement. Four young people—Auranian princess Cleo, Paelsian rebel Jonas, Limerian prince Magnus, and his sister, princess Lucia—are catalysts, while witches and kings have equal part in courtly machinations leading to all-out war. Skillful world building and descriptive but not flowery prose allow the complex and layered plot, as well as the strong characters, to take center stage of this expansive epic. A quest to find and control the Kindred, four legendary crystals that hold the purest magic, along with a sorceress who can control all the elements, leaves tantalizing threads hanging for the next book. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Rhodes, the popular author of urban fiction, makes her high-fantasy debut here; the novel is being heavily promoted at Comic-Con International and Comic-Con New York. Grades 7-12. --Charli Osborne