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  • Wonderful world and characters

    Strong world building meets a heroine with heart and more in an exciting adventure with an intruiguing twist. Siria Nightingale has grown up with everything a girl could wish for: wealth, friends, and plenty of free space. She's a princess in her parent's estate, but one that loves to run around with the gardner and his son. She's wild and free, and her parents don't approve. So, when she finally heads off to school and four years later has the chance to be chosen to stand with the royals surrounding the Queen, she'll do what she can to make her parents proud. But as she stands on the dias, several things become clear. Her red hair will never fit in with the black of everyone else, others will never see her as someone who fits in, and her fear of darkness in a world of black carries a dreadful meaning she's not ready to face. Siria's worst nightmare is about to come true—she is the monster the Queen and her parents fear most. I was looking forward to reading this one, and it is a tale to get lost in. The world in this book is vivid and bold, making it hard not to sink into it. While the blurb makes it clear that darkness reigns and an evil queen will have more than a few thrills throughout the plot, I was surprised (and thrilled) when mages, nymphs, dwarves and more mystical creatures stomped onto the stage. Especially when they blend right into the tale with as much finesse as they did here. These characters alone made this a book with reading, although Siria is an intriguing character in many ways herself. Siria fits the role of a special snowflake in many ways, and this is something I'm not usually a huge fan of. She has secret, overwhelming strong powers and must learn to wield said powers from nothing. And lets not forget the chosen savior of their world and super strong heroine who can defeat anyone with a wink (if she gets those powers to go work). But her ample rough edges and corners...and a lack of arrogance...keep the cliche aspects from hitting too hard. Plus, she's got plenty to learn and enough character arc as she's thrown into a world she's hated all of her life. I just would have liked to get to know her a little better before her life flipped upside down. What really makes this book (besides the world) is the side characters. They are rich and bold and simply a treat to accompany. These are what makes Siria an interesting character. Add the darkness to light aspect and an evil witch Queen who is determined to hold on to her power no matter what, and it's a read to cuddle up with and enjoy. I received an ARC and enjoyed this adventure quite a bit.

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