The kingdom of Kandala is on the brink of disaster. Rifts between sectors have only worsened since a sickness began ravaging the land, and within the Royal Palace, the king holds a tenuous peace with a ruthless hand.
King Harristan was thrust into power after his parents’ shocking assassination, leaving the younger Prince Corrick to take on the brutal role of the King’s Justice. The brothers have learned to react mercilessly to any sign of rebellion–it’s the only way to maintain order when the sickness can strike anywhere, and the only known cure, an elixir made from delicate Moonflower petals, is severely limited.
Out in the Wilds, apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade is tired of seeing her neighbors die, their suffering ignored by the unyielding royals. Every night, she and her best friend Wes risk their lives to steal Moonflower petals and distribute the elixir to those who need it most–but it’s still not enough.
As rumors spread that the cure no longer works and sparks of rebellion begin to flare, a particularly cruel act from the King’s Justice makes Tessa desperate enough to try the impossible: sneaking into the palace. But what she finds upon her arrival makes her wonder if it’s even possible to fix Kandala without destroying it first (Goodreads, 2021).
Things I Enjoyed: It’s really hard to discuss this book without spoiling anything since there is a significant twist early in the story, but I will do my best.
One thing I really enjoyed was that this story was both character and plot driven. We get a lot of character development for, I would say, all the characters by the end of the story. The dual POV from the two main characters also gives more nuance to the story. It also allows the reader to understand, grow to sympathize and even like a morally grey character. At the same time, this was a pretty fast paced read with a lot of action in a short time. Thanks to the significant character development, in my opinion, the story at no point seemed rushed though. In fact, I couldn’t put the book down, because I found myself needing to see what happened next.
I also enjoyed the fact that this book had a balanced mix of romance and adventure. I could definitely see the Robin Hood influence in the characters of Wes and Tessa. And the romance between those two was so rich. There was a bit of enemies to lovers, friends to lovers and years of history that shone through all of their interactions. I really got misty eyed every time Wes said, “Lord Tessa”. I honestly can’t wait to see what happens next for those two.
Overall Thoughts: This was a definite 5 out of 5 star read for me and can’t believe I need to wait a year for book 2. If you love YA romance then I highly recommend this one, because you will enjoy Wes and Tessa’s story so much. This book completely blew me away.
Quotes That I Enjoyed:
True strength is not determined by how brutal you can be, ” she says and her tone is still quiet, but full of steel. “True leadership is not determined by killing those who oppose you”
I care for my people. I care for your people”. Another pause and she takes a step closer. “You are the King’s Justice, not his executioner. I thought someone should remind you”