Hey all, Dani here.
It is finally Thursday again, which means my work week is finished. It has been a very good week. Damian’s dad is home from the hospital, though apparently now he has to spend the next month pretty much in bed. Considering he just had a pretty big surgery, I don’t think that’s too bad of a recovery. And it means that he’ll be around for the wedding of Damian and Dani next year, and that he’ll be able to do the father-daughter dance with me–since I have zero connection with my biological father at all since my parents’ divorce.
Anyway, that was a bit of a personal moment. Now, back to the book talking; let’s jump into this review.
I had a sister, once…
In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.
I promised her the throne would not come between us.
Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.
But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.
Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.
Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.
Rating: 5 stars
This book was definitely a great read, and I’m a bit sad I let it sit on my shelf for a couple months before getting around to it. I read this one so quickly, because it just completely swept me away. I was so entranced by the world and the phoenixes and the Riders.
Oh yeah, and you know how that summary above mentions how Veronyka suffers a shocking betrayal from her sister? Yeah, even having that laid out very clearly in the summary, I was still completely shocked at the exact nature of the betrayal. It was that kind of a moment…and I don’t want to go into specifics because I feel like that would lessen the impact of that particular scene. But wow…just wow.
I loved all of the letters and reports from events in the past, and trying to figure out what had happened to make the world as it was in the present timeline. It was just really cool, and by the end I was impressed with several details that I had overlooked.
The character relationships were also fantastic. It took a while for me to see how some of the characters connected with the main story line. This is where I should probably mention that there are three POVs for this book.
Also, I think there are hints of this being a book that qualifies for a Pride read, but I’m not ready to declare it as such just yet. So, Veronyka is disguised as a boy to join up with the Riders, and Tristan is a Rider apprentice who doesn’t realize that Veronyka is a girl, and I felt that there were maybe hints that Tristan might have liked Nyk, but maybe I was just reading into it; Veronyka was definitely into Tristan though. And then other POV character Sev might have had a relationship developing with Kade, but nothing outright happened…so I don’t feel like I can quite confirm LGBT+ relationships. We’ll see what happens in the sequel.
Anyway, I thought there was plenty of intrigue and politics and character development and action. The magic was pretty interesting, and with how it all tied together and ended this first book, I am definitely excited to read the sequel. Also, I guess that this is set up to be a duology, so the sequel will also be the concluding novel. Yay, but also boo. Oh well; I guess I’ll just keep my eyes open for any other future releases from Nicki Pau Preto.