An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure
Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.
With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.
Pros – Daleina is a pragmatic heroine, the forest is dark and full of terrors, Ven’s training program
Cons – Some parts (such as the romance) felt glossed over and “then this happened” storytelling occurs, Ven’s an idiot, EVERYONE I LOVED [spoiler]
Spoiler – I won’t ruin the end, but literally keep a box of tissues handy if you ever get emotional over fictionals
Note -Durst notes this in the author’s note, but originally this wasn’t meant to be book 1, this is sort of a “prequel” to the events Durst was originally writing about. Which…I love Daleina, so I’m glad. Also I don’t trust trees now.