By: Cait Marie
*Originally posted on YA Books Central.
He’s promised to another. She’s promised to forget him.
Eighteen-year-old Renna Degray is hopeful about love and her future after a chance encounter with a handsome stranger. Until she discovers who the mysterious man is—the Prince of Albion, betrothed to Renna’s stepsister. Now Renna must try to keep her feelings for the prince in check. But he’s not making it easy. The prince is charming, funny, and impossible not to fall for.
Trev has no room for mistakes. He must marry the princess of New Hope and secure the marriage alliance along with his future as king. The safety of his kingdom depends on it. Duty and honor never bothered Trev before, but love has a way of changing everything.
In this post-Desolation world, the Council of Essentials controls everything, including the prince. Is love more than a negotiation?
Is love essential?
After reading The Rejected King, I was really excited for this sequel. Especially when the author said this one expanded on the world a lot more. And it did!
I love this world Keisel has created. It’s a dystopian world, set after a monumental disaster across the globe. But even though I’ve read more than a couple series in a similar setting, the futuristic North America that’s reverted to a monarchical society, it still feels very unique and original.
That being said, it feels more like a dystopian prequel. There is clearly a divide in the social classes, and the people aren’t happy with the way the Council of Essentials has deemed them less worthy than the royals and wealthier population. However, the term “dystopian” typically implies there’s a revolution or people fighting against the government, at least to me. Now, there are small acts of rebellion and some of the characters do try to make changes. And I have a feeling it’s building up to something bigger in book three, but it just didn’t happen in this one.
This might also be because we’re seeing things from the royals’ and their love interests’ points of view, which I think is really interesting. It’s part of what makes it a unique dystopian story. These characters are wonderful too. I absolutely love Trev and Renna, and even Drake, Seran, and the king and queen of New Hope feel really well developed. At one point near the end, Trev’s words literally made my own heart flutter. It was perfect. All of the characters were just rounded out so well, with their individual personalities and histories.
Everyone except the villain, unfortunately. Without giving too much away, they fell a little flat to me. Other than their desire for power, we don’t really get a motive behind their actions. There’s nothing about their past or why they want control so bad, nor how they are connected with other key players. They had a strong personality, their involvement and dialogue were written well; I just wish there’d been a bit more development to understand them more.
That wasn’t enough to deter me though. It wasn’t even something I thought about until I got to the end.
I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read the next one! I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys dystopian-fantasy. It’s a fun, clean book with heartwarming characters and a twist I never saw coming.