This book was…confusing. First, Jasper is the good guy, then the bad guy, then the good guy again, as if the writer couldn’t make up her mind. The beginning starts out strong with a compelling narrative and a promising storyline, but then the confusion has me looking in all sorts of directions as I try to figure out what is what and where the story is headed. People’s motivations don’t make sense, at least until the very end of the book. Within this complex world the author created, I was left not entirely sure who could do what and where the magic limitations started and ended.
For a children’s book, this is pretty dark. People die. Small children are murdered and get maimed.
The writing style is very good, with characters that could definitely be really interesting if expanding upon a little more. However, this book was just not for me. The mistreatment of children is not something I like to read about.
My rating: 2.5 stars
Keita thought that being a princess was nothing but trouble even before the power-hungry Stygians took over the Spectra kingdoms. Now she’s on the run, hunted at every turn, and able to trust only a few other royal exiles. Of course she’d like to make her life safe again, but standing up to the Stygians means confronting Jasper Smelt. A former friend, Jasper insists he wants nothing more to keep her safe, but his pitch-black dungeon and fiery threats suggest otherwise.
With help from her friends, Keita escapes, but there is no safe place for former princesses. Banding together despite their different cultures, the girls head into Jasper’s desert kingdom. They soon find themselves in the middle of a conflict between the Stygians and a small rebel group. Hanging in the balance is a colony of children abandoned for having abilities different than their families. Keita wants to help, and she hates feeling helpless. But how can she face Jasper, someone with abilities she couldn’t begin to fight, someone constantly seeking her out, someone who fears everything…except her?