Torn between Corin’s quest to free the dragons and his duty to his country, the lovers must both figure out how to master their powers in order to save Caithen. With a little help from a village of secret wizards and a rogue dragonrider, they just might pull it off.
There is magic, dragons, romance, politics and quite a bit of action in this story and it all begins when Corin and his father, King Aram realize how dangerous things are for their kingdom, Caithen and the royal family. Caithen is facing a potential war with Emperor Hadon and Corin and Aram need to figure out how to navigate the politics involved as he currently controls the dragons and the dragonriders. You do have to pay attention early on to all of the different names and information being shared as it all comes up throughout the rest of the novel. Additionally, take a look at the map at the beginning as it will provide some clarity around the location of all of the countries mentioned.
Early on in the story, Corin is approached by the dragonriders and informed that he has been chosen to free the Firekeepers from their slavery to Hadon. When the time is right, he is told that he will remember the conversation and then begin his labors to free them. At the same time, although she doesn’t realize it, Tam’s powers as a Seer are starting to reveal themselves.
Now Prince Corin is back at court after being on the road with his soldiers and Tam, a commoner, is at court for the summer with her sister-in-law. Via a chance run in at the library, they are immediately drawn to each other. Yes, there is a case of insta-love here, I mean, they are basically telling each other how much they love each other after about 3 days (this might be a slight exaggeration) but it didn’t bother me much. I enjoyed seeing their relationship develop, quick as it was, and the overall impact that it had on the story. In addition, to the romance, because Tam is a commoner, she isn’t as close to court life and definitely has to make adjustments the moment she gets there. She begins to see all of the politics and back-stabbing going on and is definitely not a fan. As these two characters begin to learn more about each other, they also begin to learn more about their roles in the war. They both will have critical parts to play and they are just beginning to understand what they are.
As characters go, I did like both Tam and Prince Corin. Tam is independent and smart. She stands up for herself and is fairly confident despite being in a very new situation. Tam also understands the implications of starting up a relationship with Corin and despite that, she follows her heart. Corin is happier being away from court and on the road with his soldiers. He is definitely a strong strategist and understands just what Hadon is trying to do. He also values and trusts the women in his life – he knows they are smart and like his father, begins to value sharing information with Tam to get her thoughts.
I also liked the secondary characters who played a significant role in the story. From King Aram to Kelvan to Joce – all were solid additions and I honestly would have welcomed more about each. Additionally, I really liked Mattan of Harin who Tam met at the ball and although I don’t see how it would fit, I would have liked to see more of him.
At the heart of this story is the fight for power. Emperor Hadon wants to control everything and is taking advantage of Tyrekh taking control of countries surrounding Caithen and eventually attempting to take Caithen itself. Hadon is also aware of the fact that Corin has been chosen to free the dragons from his control and is willing to do anything he can to make sure that doesn’t happen. As war breaks out, Corin and Aram both know anyone connected to the royal family will face danger and with that, they all flee to ensure they aren’t captured. In a quick moment before they are separated, the king performs a marriage ceremony for Corin and Tam and then they all part ways.
As Tam is traveling with Joce, a basilisk who understands magic and power, she begins to learn more about her power and what she can do. At the same time, Corin has escaped with Kelvan to the valley with the wizards and he begins to learn more about his relationship with the dragons and what he is expected to do. There were times that I was a bit confused about Tam’s power – how she was able to “speak” to the dragons and how her power was supposed to help Corin. I also am still a bit unclear of the significance of the moths. I mean, I get they were a sign related to Tam’s power but it was all a bit confusing.
Overall I enjoyed this story. It is different from any of the other fantasy novels I have read recently and that is a definite plus. There was a major focus on the relationship between Corin and Tam and although I understand why, I think true fantasy lovers may have an issue at just how much time is spent focusing on this piece. I myself love a good romance so it only added to the overall story for me. With that said, I thought the story surrounding the war and the dragons was great. If you like fantasy mixed with a bit of romance, I recommend you check this one out when you can.