Author: Marie Rutkoski
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: March 3rd (US), March 12th (UK).
I was given an egalley of this novel from the publisher vie netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
"Lady Kestrel's engagement to Valoria's crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust ...
While Arin fights to keep his country's freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.
The marvellous thing about Rutkoski is she can make me care about a character even as I want to strangle him for his stupidity.
I had to put my kindle down at least three times and go for a walk and take a deep breath, Arin was aggravating me so much. I mean, I can see why some doubt would be in his mind, but his lack of faith in Kestrel made me want to slap him a good one on his head. He should seriously know better.
The hard part here is reviewing this without spoiling anything, because if I say one thing, it unravels another, and it's just a vicious cycle.
But what I can say, was that I really liked Verex's character. He grew on me, and his worry over Kestrel was really cute. I hope things turn out okay for him in the next book, because there was some hint that they might not be entirely peachy, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
Risha really interested me. Knowing more of her backstory was great, and I'm very interested to see where Rutkoski takes it from there; logically, there are two open options for her character, and it'll be fun to see which one she takes.
What I did not appreciate, like I said before, was Arin's thickheadedness. He drove me to distraction, that silly man! I love him, don't get me wrong, but oh my god, someone needs to give him a good, hard shake to see if some reality sinks in. The same goes for Tensen. I'm a horrible person, because I was actually grimly accepting of the end; in a way, he brought it on himself, breaking his damn word and keeping the letter. If he hadn't been found with that, everything would've been fine. Now look what happened... brilliant job at screwing everything up, Tensen. Really brilliant *scowls*.
Now for Kestrel herself. I liked her development, and that she was still trying to save the whole world. It's impossible, of course, but she does her very best, and I loved that. Her daydreams about Arin were so cute, I nearly cried, especially when she started having mental conversations with it, like he was actually there - too sweet! And the idiot has no clue... hmpf.