It’s clear from the start, that Annwyn is in trouble, the realm is fading; dying in winter. The author did a fantastic job building the world, providing us as readers with contrasting visuals involving how Annwyn used to be before the winter. We know that Annwyn is supposed to be vividly beautiful in its glory with greenery and sunshine. Remarkably, the realm is withering away with the impending death of King Gwyn, his separation fromQueen Eyra (after her betrayal and coming execution), and the wait for a new leader to claim the throne. More shocking, perhaps, is that such bitter ugliness is bleeding into the mortal world; plagues, war, and famine are increasing the death of humans quickly. The connection between our two worlds in the story is intriguing to say the least.
I also found that the hatred I felt for the enemy of the story came rather quickly. Sulia (who happens to be of royal blood, but is holding her cards close), is truly sickening; vain, deceitful, manipulative, cold, unfeeling, and greedy. I instantly loathed the woman vying for the throne, grasping at desperation to murder Prince Felan as he tries to save Annwyn while fighting for the woman he loves. The story captured me from the beginning as I was very entertained by Jacqui and Felan both.
Felan, though a little arrogant, learned to give all of himself to Jacqui and was not afraid to fight for her (let alone show her how much he was willing to try). He definitely is a white knight, so to speak. From killing for Jacqui, to simply walking through water (which apparently was/is a fairies greatest fear) to get to her; he proved himself time and again. Though he wiggled out of providing Jacqui with every tidbit of information from time to time, I never held it against him. After all, I could see that he was trying to resurrect their love and that he wanted to be honest, but let’s face it; he was trying to save the entire freaking world and his own race!
That reason alone was the only reason I became wary with Jacqui at times. She was only considering her own doubts, her own fears, and her own injustices without taking the time to search the reasons for Felan’s behavior. She was very stubborn, and it took forever for her to understand the gravity of how her and Felan’s courtship could change everything. Her unwillingness to examine the information offered to her, rather than only worrying about howthe change would impact her, annoyed me at times. With that said, I ultimately enjoyed Jacqui, because once she committed herself to saving Annwyn and fulfilling her destiny to be with Felan, she fought fiercely.
As for secondary characters, though I would have liked to learn more about them all, I was most drawn to Taryn and Dylis. The both of them were valuable, honorable, and loyal above all others to Felan. Taryn, I enjoyed mostly for her determination and grace as the Hunter (the law of sorts, the protector of Annwyn royalty). Whereas Dylis, was not only skilled as a fighter, but above all else, righteous and honest, as well as fair (though she had no tact…which I found to be part of her appeal). Really, I just loved these two! Ultimately, I loved everything about the story especially the use of emotions, because I really felt for the two main characters as they learned to trust one another again after a tragedy seven mortal years later that broke them apart. In the end, I definitely intend to go back to the beginning of the series, because not only did I adore this book, but there is too much I still need to learn about the world of Annwyn.
**ARC provided by Publisher**
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