Thank you to Harper Teen and Qamar Tours for this arc in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
I did not choose this fate. But I will not walk away from it.
Children have been disappearing from across Menaiya for longer than Amraeya ni Ansarim can remember. When her friend’s sister is snatched, Rae knows she can’t look away any longer – even if that means seeking answers from the royal court, where her country upbringing and clubfoot will only invite ridicule.
Yet the court holds its share of surprises. There she discovers an ally in the foreign princess, who recruits her as an attendant. Armed with the princess’s support, Rae seeks answers in the dark city streets, finding unexpected help in a rough-around-the-edges street thief with secrets of his own. But treachery runs deep, and the more Rae uncovers, the more she endangers the kingdom itself.
I loved this book so much, it’s a story about a young woman who is often overlooked and underestimated but she is capable of so much more than anyone gives her credit for and it resonated with me deeply.
Rae isn’t like the usual fantasy heroines we see, she doesn’t have secret magic powers, she’s an average girl who has a family and doesn’t have a tragic backstory. She is however a young woman who will protect those she loves and will fight for the people who no one else will fight for. I think this made her so much more relatable and real because she could be any of us. She is smart and resourceful and she perseveres no matter what obstacles are put in her path. She is kind and empathetic but also knows that not everyone is trustworthy and is cautious about who she trusts.
I assure you I am well aware of what I am capable of
She also has a disability and it affects her mobility which means she is often underestimated and overlooked, she is seen as less capable but I really loved how she didn’t allow that stop her from protecting her loved ones and seeking justice. Her internal conflict was so relatable as someone who also has a mobility disability, I really felt for her, how she will sometimes push herself too far and that fear of being looked down on or pitied if someone finds out about her disability, how her disability is the only thing anyone sees. I loved her arc and how she realises her disability may affect some things that she can do but it doesn’t define her and only she decides who she is.
I also completely fell in love with Bren from the first moment we meet him. From his first conversation with Rae I loved their interactions and how he looked out for Rae right from the beginning without making her feel helpless or self-conscious about her disability. He never thinks less of Rae because of her disability and I just loved that so much. He sees her for who she really is and not just a helpless girl. I loved their banter and sass and how they worked together. It was such an interesting dynamic between them as Bren is a thief and Rae doesn’t always approve of things in his life but she accepts him for who he is. Some of my favourite scenes were between them two.
She has more power than the stories grant her.
It was also great to see Thorn again and especially see her happy with Kestrin and how she dealt with her family. I loved seeing their wedding celebrations and it reminded me of a big fat desi wedding! The beautiful clothes and all the functions and food and traditions. I just loved seeing it in the book. It was also a great contrast between the rich and the poor and how different the lives of nobles are compared to the average citizen.
There is also discussions of the violence women face and how they have to adjust the way they live and how they don’t always feel safe. Even Thorn has to deal with this and it was chilling because it was her brother and he was enabled by those around him who didn’t hold him accountable, instead ignoring what he did to her. The comparisons to how this happens a lot in our society was easy to see and I could relate to how Thorn and Rae felt.
While this is a character driven book where we see everything from Rae’s point of view we also got to explore a lot more of the world outside and the politics of the nobles too and how the nobles ignored what was happening to the children as it didn’t affect them directly. We see how it affects Rae and the frustrations she feels and it makes her more determined to help, it was interesting to see Thorn as her ally but she was also limited in many ways because of the politics at play. The end of this book and the plot twists and revelations shook me, I was not expecting them at all. And then the book ends in a cliffhanger which has me dying for the next book!
As much as we ask for help. We have to help ourselves.
I highly recommend this wonderful story with a main character you will fall in love with and root for and I cannot wait for the sequel as there are things which were alluded to in this book that I think will come into play in the sequel, especially the fae angle! Everyone please go read this book!
This is the tour schedule so do check out the other bloggers posts too!
Here are some quote art designs I made with some of my favourite quotes!