When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.
One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable—until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.
As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world—and of each other.
I have been dying to read this book since I first saw it’s beautiful cover months ago. The premise sounded so exciting and I tried quite a few ways to get the ARC and failed. Imagine my surprise when I got the book from my library just two days after it’s release. I just had to set aside everything else and get on with it.
The world building here is done quite well. We are given a good idea about the belief system of the people and the various saints who are worshipped. I loved the way their statues and temples are described. Every chapter also starts with a little snippet from their history books (or archives) which expands the mythology more than what happens in the story.
The book alternates between two POVs in different timelines and almost every chapter ends on a cliffhanger, which was an interesting way to keep me hooked and why I finished this in a single sitting. There are also several parallels between the two timelines because they are essentially a journey of discovering themselves for both Rielle and Eliana.
Rielle may come across as selfish and naive at times but it is probably not unexpected considering her emotionally abusive father and a very sheltered life. The seven elemental trials which she has to go through before being declared the Sun Queen are very thrillingly written and I was always looking forward to read about the next one. Eliana is a bounty hunter who doesn’t let the deaths of her victims affect her because all she wants is the survival of her family. I expected that her world view would change as the book progresses but she seemed to go back and forth in her motivations every couple of chapters which didn’t really endear me to her. I also guessed the truth of her heritage pretty early on, so it was quite a wait for her to get to know the truth.
My main problem with the book is that even though the plot kept me engaged, I was pretty indifferent to both the MCs. I didn’t feel upset when they were in danger or got excited at their accomplishments. I really liked the side characters much more. Ludivine, Audric and Rielle share a beautiful friendship and I could definitely feel the love they had for each other. That’s why I’m pretty interested to know how their story ends in disaster. Eliana’s brother Remy is the cutest little one and his character relflects the openness, curiosity and unconditional love of an innocent child. He is also a great lover of stories (and loves buying books without telling anyone… kinda like me) and I’m very excited to get to know him better. Navi also has potential to be a great friend and suppoprt to Eliana and it would be fun to see their relationship explored. I’m very intrigued by Simon and I really want to know more about his backstory.
My average rating for this book is because despite the extensive world building, the MCs were kinda underwhelming. The prologue is also very intense and I felt that the remaining book didn’t match up to it. I also expected Rielle’s story to lead up to the events in the prologue but the ending of the book seemed like a halfway point which left me disappointed. Overall, I loved the world of Avitas and it’s prophecy of magical Queens and I definitely want to know what happens next.