By: Cait Marie
Original review on YA Books Central.
For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.
But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.
When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?
The first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.
*I received a free advanced copy of this book from the publisher via YABC for my honest review.*
This is how far I am behind on reviews… oops.
This was… one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It was one of my absolute favorite books of 2020.
In order to save his sister, Malik must kill the princess. To resurrect her assassinated mother, the princess must use the heart of a king. To do so, she initiates these trials to find a husband. Trials that Malik enters to get close to her.
They need to kill each other to save those they love, but they inevitably start growing closer. And my heart could barely handle the tension. It was so magnificently written, and it kept building and building to the ending that left me desperate for more.
Everything from the intricate world building to intriguing plot and lovable characters drew me in. I couldn’t stop reading!