Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own.
Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.
Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?
In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.
Four stars because it felt a little slow at times and I knew from the start who to trust and who not to trust. Four stars because I will absolutely be reading the sequel and am in fact really excited about where this one left off and promised to go. I loved the characters having complex motivations, and few if any are who they seem to be on the surface.
Even though I had my paranoid suspicions from the start about who to trust (because I know how books go), the journey to get there was full of surprises and further character revelations that ensured no one was simply black and white. I think by the end, you’re not sure who to like or dislike, or even who to entirely agree with. I think this would be a great book for discussion or groups because there’s so much that could be interpreted differently.
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So after I wrote that little snippet review, I of course went to look up when the next book is coming out. Since this one came out in 2019 I thought I might be in luck with a relatively soon publish date for book two. Alas…. Probably not.
In the longer explanation, Joan He explains that the book sold as a one book deal. So… it would need to do really well in order for someone else to pick it up and offer to publish continuations. I guess we’re not at that point yet, but y’all we should be! So if you think this sounds good, buy a copy and give it a go so we can get back to the world!! 😊