Talia — the young, Iridescent-winged Heir to the Fairy Realm — and the Heir to the Human Realm — Prince Bastile — embark on a secret love affair that has wide-ranging consequences for both their worlds. Certain elements within each society hate the other side, and the Realms have a long history of warring with one another.
Talia, her maid, her 8 Ladies, and her Heir’s Guard (9 female Fairy soldiers) soon find themselves alone on an adventure through the lands of the Fairy Realm in search of information on a reviled ancestor, the Exile Queen. While Talia has always aspired to bring peace to the two Realms, her evil Aunts (known as the Three Sisters) and others within both the Fairy and Human courts conspire to thwart her ambitions, not understanding the ancient prophecy they are about to set Talia on the path to fulfill.
There was a lot more to this book than the synopsis would have you believe. Beyond the politics of the two realms, there is also a lot of magic involved and of varying types. Talia and her Ladies perform warding rituals and defensive spells quite often throughout the story, but there are others with shadow magic, and the evil aunts use blood magic. (Yes, the blood magic is as brutal as it sounds.) As the Heir, Talia had more formal education in the uses of magic than most of the other characters, and it definitely helps her along the journey.
The majority of the story focuses on Talia’s perspective, and because of that, there are many fairies involved. What I liked about this book is that there were different types of fairies, and their wings determined something of what they’d become (leather wings are usually warriors, iridescent wings tend to be nobles, etc.) I really enjoyed the worldbuilding surrounding the fairies in this book; it was immersive and felt authentic, and the little details like wing type made it that much richer.
This was definitely a plot-driven story. As the Heir, all eyes are on Talia at all times, and her every action is scrutinized by the rest of the realm. As the story progresses, she learns that her actions have repercussions, and she is made to pay for some of them. The plot was intricate, with a few unexpected twists.
There isn’t a lot of action (but there is some.) Most of the book’s focus is on court intrigue/gossip, and the various plots for and against Talia. It’s pretty clear that there are similar factions at work with Bastile as well, but we don’t get to see how his story plays out once he returns home. I personally would have liked to see more of what was going on with the human realm and how Bastile reacted to it. Since this is book one in a series, I’m hoping we’ll see more of that half of the world in future installments.
One brief warning to readers: This one ends on a cliffhanger. Book two is available, but the series isn’t complete at this time (I know the author is actively working on it, however.)
Overall, this was good book one with an interesting take on fairies and their magic.