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Sentenced to be executed.
Betrayed. Alone.
Hung on the gallows.
Rema thought her life was over, but she was wrong.

Saved by a rebel force she’d only ever heard rumors about, Rema finds herself in a forbidden place. She is finally safe—free from the king and Prince Lennek. But not everything is as it seems at the rebel fortress. Secrets are whispered, and loyalties are tested. Once Rema uncovers the truth of her heritage, will she flee? Or will she ascend to the throne, taking on the responsibility of an entire kingdom?

Now that Darmik knows Rema’s true identity, he’s on a quest to save her. But when an Emperion assassin arrives on Greenwood Island, Darmik knows he doesn’t have very long to find her. In a deadly game with high stakes, will Darmik remain loyal to his family? Or will he break away and join the rebels?

Kingdoms rise and fall.
Heroes are born and made.
But one thing remains the same—love conquers all

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

5 out of 5 stars
Shortly after starting this book, I decided the series is going on my very exclusive Shelf of Awesome. The first book had me biting my nails, pacing, making plans to subject certain characters *coughcoughLennekAndBarjoncoughcough* to unspeakable torments, and generally fangirling. The sequel did not disappoint and I will be at the head of the line for War this month.

The plot:
This series is very, very fast paced with less description and more action in the writing style. The plot is very “slender” with all unnecessary body fat (unimportant bits) trimmed off. In other words, if something happens, you’d best pay attention because it happened for a reason. There are a lot of places where things felt condensed and while that made for concise reading, I did wish for more description in certain places. But it wasn’t a big issue and it’s still clear what everyone looks like, how buildings are laid out, etc. This was a fast read despite its length and I think we can all appreciate a book that can be devoured in one sitting.

The characters:
I have liked Rema since book one and that certainly didn’t change here. Of course, I find her passion for equines particularly endearing and I love that the writer made her an independent, strong female without having her be kick@$$ or snarky. She has to sort through a lot of issues in this book and a lot of heavy revelations and I thought she took it rather well. Though, personally, I would have been a bit more miffed at Mako for lying to me. Make that a lot more miffed. Rema is far more reasonable than me.

As for Darmik—I adore him, okay? I’m a sucker for bad@$$ good boys. He too has to sort out buckets and buckets of choices, morality, and feelings in this book. Poor baby. It takes him a little while to figure out what he plans to do, but once he does he commits to his decisions like a true military man. His relationships with his father and brother are displayed further in all their dysfunctional complexity, but I liked seeing more of the friendship between him and Neco. There was a little of it in the first book, but a much more of it here. And of course, Neco and Ellie were adorable. Not as adorable as Rema and Darmik, but still adorable.

In the description of the rebel army, there was one thing I took issue with. It says that what the female fighters lacked in the men’s strength, they made up for with superior speed. That’s well and good, except for the fact that all the research I’ve done says swiftness is by far more important. What I mean is, their male fighters need to get up to speed. (Pun intended. Micro-rant over.)

The other character I’ll mention (because this is getting a bit long) is Savenek. At first, I was terrified that the author was going to put in a love triangle. I was all prepared to scream in outrage and stomp my feet, but Ms. Davis was merciful. I did not and do not like Savenek—misogynistic, arrogant, whiny, troublemaking little brat that he is—but he’s a good fighter and ultimately means well, so I’ll refrain from completely hating him for the moment.

In summation, I love this series and I am torn about reading the final book. On one hand, I must know what happens. On the other, I don’t want it to end. I certainly recommend it!

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