The E-ARC was provided by Edelweiss. But the cover was so cool that I also bought it.
This book started off with a Scorpio Races feel. A girl and her horse, and a fiery heart. I was drawn in right away. Since Scorpio Races is one of my all-time favorite books in the world, I was so sucked in, and I could not put the book down.
This book is told in two POV’s, Kate and Corwin. Let’s start with Kate. She is a nineteen-year-old Relay rider (basically a mailman on horseback) who is also a wilder, able to influence animals. Not only that, she is the daughter of a man who tried to kill the king of Rime. People call her Traitor Kate. But for all she’s been through, she has developed a thick skin. She loves horses and is pretty good with a bow.
Then there’s Corwin. He’s the second born son of the king and child-hood friend of Kate before she was exiled and her father put to death. It’s by chance that their paths cross some three years later while Corwin is investigating a rise in Nightdrake (lizard-like creatures) attacks. Kate saves Corwin, and their lives begin to change.
Corwin hires Bonner, Kate’s friend, to make revolvers. The thing is, Bonner is also a wilder and being a wilder is pretty much illegal and will get you a death sentence. But the deal is too good for Kate, Bonner, and their friend Signe and they all start new lives at the royal palace. Things become complicated when Kate begins a mission of finding out what really happened the day her father attacked the king. She knows her father was a dedicated and honorable man and that he wouldn’t have done such a thing without being compromised. Meanwhile, the nightdrakes have become daydrakes, and the whole land is going crazy. Corwin is up to start three trials to take the crown from his brother, Edwin and his relationship with Kate becomes more and more complicated.
Pretty much, this book was magical in every way. The writing was superb and never-mind that world-building. Holy cow. This is a book to learn from. I was a tad POed at Corwin at one point, but he sort of redeemed himself. The side characters were great and sometimes more interesting than the main characters. If you can ignore the tropes (secrets abilities, royal rivalries), you’ll love this book. I, for one, didn’t mind them at all.
All in all, I loved this book, and I cannot wait for the sequel!