From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Shinn (Quatrain) carries readers away into a vivid new fantasy world where the five elements control everyone's lives. Alone and in shock after the death of her father, Zoe Ardelay is invited to the capital to become the king's fifth wife and create a much needed numerological balance both politically and at court, where the four queens vie to promote their children for the role of heir to the throne. Then Zoe learns she is the new œprime of Lalindar clan, which saves her from the marriage, but thrusts her into a world of dangerous political scheming, secret agendas, and an increasingly risky attraction to royal adviser Darien Serlast. This entertaining and suspenseful story is full of lively characters, and the intriguing new system of magic and politics provides plenty of potential for sequels.
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This coming-of-age story begins with Zoe Ardelay mourning her father and follows her on the road to power as she discovers who she really is and what that might mean to the kingdom. The palace is where she must eventually go, and the court itself could have been taken from any of the scheming and backstabbing courts of Europe in the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries. There is a complicated love story woven into the main theme, and it also shows Zoe’s growth from a naive young girl into a strong, determined young woman. The world Zoe inhabits is well described, and the idea that the five essential elements rule everyone’s lives is something that has roots in the Western philosophies of the past, though never to the extent that it became a religion. This easy-to-read tale will be enjoyed by readers who like stories with hints of Western European aristocracy and elemental magic, and with a happy ending. --Rebecca Gerber