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Publisher's Summary

An evil princess, a ruthless persecutor, a wretched match.

Tormented at home and bullied during her studies abroad, second-born Iona of Wessett hides in the quiet corners of her father's castle. Her art and music provide refuge, but her cruel sister Lisenn ever lurks like a monster stalking its prey.

Such has been her life for 20 years.

However, a promise of reprieve and retribution arrives when the neighboring kingdom of Capria proposes an alliance between their new crown prince and Wessett's heir to the throne. The treaty will rid Iona of the toxic Lisenn, and the potential groom is none other than her erstwhile bully, Jaoven of Deraval. The marriage could not be more poetic: Each deserves the misery the other might inflict.

Except that Jaoven, humbled by the war that elevated his rank, appears to have reformed, and the fate of both kingdoms now hinges on the disastrous union he's about to make.

Contains mature themes.

©2021 Kate Stradling (P)2021 Tantor

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  • Alice3465
  • 22-06-2021

I love the book cannot stand the narrator.

I love this authors books but this narrator does this book a disservice. The Legendary Inge was a much better narration. Compared this narration falls flat and definitely not as interesting. I would highly recommend reading the novel instead.

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  • J. Amundsen
  • 23-07-2021

Fantastic read!

It took me a minute to get used to the narrator, but the story is fantastic and I really appreciated the protagonist as a character—strong despite so much abuse. Plus, it’s clean! Well worth a listen!

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  • AllAboutThoseBooks
  • 23-07-2021

A Masterful Story

The most important part of an audiobook review is that of the narrator--so I'll address that first. I thought it was very well read. While she doesn't have a wide vocal range, there was never any doubt about who was talking. Her delivery is sometimes a little breathy, but our main character still sounds like a young adult, so it worked for me. I honestly enjoyed the reading.

The story itself is a brutal romance. Iona's backstory is horror filled as she has had to contend with a psychopath or two in her family for her whole life. We have palace intrigue, good guys and bad guys, and the future of two kingdoms on the line. When I read the book, I read it in two days. When I listened to it, I did it in one day. Listening to it, I was once again on the edge of my seat, even knowing how it would end.

The relationship has a solid HEA. The kingdoms have a relatively firm HFN.

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  • Isabel McKay
  • 28-06-2021

Cool idea, follow-through didn't hit

This book had a good start and was entertaining for about the first half. The evil sister angle was compelling in particular. Interesting characters and back-story construction.

The second half, though, felt rushed and underdeveloped. The romance needed a little more time to be fleshed out, in particular, but there were also several potential dramatic moments that were all set up to happen, but never took place. It felt like there were some missed opportunities. Also, the ending itself felt played out too fast with too much off camera. This book had enough setup to be a trilogy, and maybe then the end wouldn't have felt so rushed.

This narrator isn't my favorite, whenever she reads stuff, just because her particular cadence bothers me, but the recording was completely professional and her reading was solid.

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  • JackL
  • 23-06-2021

Fantastic narration, great story!

Fantastic pairing of two wonderful storytellers. Great writing and excellent narration. This is an epic tale, dark at times, it gripped me from the start. Lots of twists and turns. Loved the characters. They were really well written. The narrator voiced them brilliantly. Loved it.

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