Kadou, the shy prince of Arasht, finds himself at odds with one of the most powerful ambassadors at court—the body-father of the queen’s new child—in an altercation which results in his humiliation.
To prove his loyalty to the queen, his sister, Kadou takes responsibility for the investigation of a break-in at one of their guilds, with the help of his newly appointed bodyguard, the coldly handsome Evemer, who seems to tolerate him at best. In Arasht, where princes can touch-taste precious metals with their fingers and myth runs side by side with history, counterfeiting is heresy, and the conspiracy they discover could cripple the kingdom’s financial standing and bring about its ruin.
I’ll start by saying I absolutely adored this book. I loved so many things about it – the world building, the characters and the plot. I love this cover as well, so pretty!
Kadou just gets under your skin, this privileged Prince who has to deal with crippling anxiety and yet want to protect his family and those who have sworn service to him. I have to say is I think the first time I have read a character with anxiety where we are so inside their head, where we as the reader experience that sensation of questioning everything, not feeling good enough, worrying about every small detail, honestly it was so well written. I was rooting for him from very early on, wanting everything to be OK for him.
Evemer is just as likeable, a much more stoic character, to whom duty is everything but who finds that Kadou might be something he didn’t expect. Watching Evemer gradually soften up a little and allow Kadou to see who he is, is delightful.
I loved the world created here, Arasht is very much ruled by women, but that is not to say that men are powerless. The whole world was richly built and felt very real. The political structures and culture added world view. I loved the idea of people being able to ‘touch taste’ metals to tell how pure they were – a cultural cornerstone of Arasht culture with huge importance placed on the purity of the currency.
The plot line was interesting and wove together beautifully, Kadou’s anxiety and an incident that leads to, a plot to debase the currency with counterfit coinage, and the growing romance between Kadou and Evemer this book just works.
Hugely enjoyable, with character driven plot, add this one to your TBR pile.
With thanks to Black Crow PR and Tor for an advance copy in exchange for honest review.