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Theo is a captive princess who is ridiculed, beaten, whipped and is expected to take it all with obedience, which she does because she wants to survive. She suppresses all her childhood memories and tries to forget her true heritage until the dam bursts open when she is forced to kill her last hope. She then decides to team up with a group of rebels and comes up with a plan to weaken the kingdom and accept her path as the Queen. Cress is her only friend, who has been her rock through her numerous punishments but who also happens to be the daughter of her mother’s murderer. Prinz Soren seems kind and sweet, very unlike his father. Blaise, Art and Heron taunt her, question her, distrust her, but ultimately do all they can to help their Queen in her plans.
Theo is an interesting MC, little naive but also clever, conflicted with her choices, questioning herself and her faith every step of the way, ultimately making the hard choices but also realizing that every action of hers takes some piece of her soul. Though some of her internal monologues and her indecisiveness frustrated me, I could still understand her upto a point and definitely want to know more about how she will step into her role as a Queen.
Cress is also a complicated character, capable of both compassion and cunning, brought up to be a Queen, finally seeing the brutal consequences of the actions of those around her. I think her character has great potential for development and I look forward to it. Prinz Soren is disillusioned by the cruelties of his father and wants to be nothing like him but we don’t see him enough in the book for me to form a strong opinion about him. The three rebels also seem okay but I am not attached to their characters yet.
I think the problem with this book is that the world building is not done enough. We don’t get to know how Theo’s kingdom was captured so easily despite having magic wielders or how the magical system even works. The various gods and different kingdoms are mentioned by name but without much detail, I don’t think they added much to the story. I hope this part is covered better in the sequel. The love triangle also feels forced and totally unnecessary. None of the characters except Theo are really fleshed out, so I couldn’t root for any of them, which is disappointing for me because I usually fall in love with the characters.
The writing is very easy flowing and I finished the book very quickly. I never found it boring and it was enjoyable enough that I want to read what happens next but I also hope that the sequel delivers more because this one did fall a little short of my expectations.
PS: I thank Delacorte Press and Netgalley for providing me an ARC for this interesting book and this didn’t affect my opinion in any way.