Release date: February 6th 2018
When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.
Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.
Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.
With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?
It really didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this book. I really enjoyed the school scenes at the beginning, getting to know Brienna and her fellow students, her sisters, as they all prepared to ‘passion’ in their chosen field(wit, drama, art, music, or knowledge). There was the immediate mystery to why Brienna was accepted to the school when the headmistress has already selected the five students and she didn’t have an aptitude for any of the five passions, as well as who Brienna’s father was and why her grandfather refused to tell her his name.
I really liked Brienna. She was making the most of her situation, knowing she wasn’t fairing well in any of the fields at the school but she always tried so hard. It couldn’t have been easy to find the motivation to try so hard when she was always suspicious that she didn’t get into the school on her own merits but she never gave up. I thought she was really relatable in that way. I also loved seeing her finding out more about her heritage and the growth she showed.
I do wish we’d gotten to see more of the passion sisters after they’d been chosen by their patrons because the beginning scenes at the school were so much fun. But I could understand why it focused on Brienna’s journey. She was the main character and important to the brewing rebellion.
With the inclusion at the beginning of family trees and lists of characters, passions, etc. I was expecting a great, complicated world and it was definitely there. It had history, families ruling over different kingdoms, rebellions, and I can see why it’s been said it’s good for YA Game of Thrones fans, though there was a lot less violence. There was a lot of political intrigue that was interwoven through Brienna’s discovery of her heritage and finding out more about the mysterious patron who’d chosen her.
I’m really excited to see where this series is going to go next.
*I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music in exchange for an honest review.