Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 336 pages
Author: Makiia Lucier
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: November 9th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
The past never forgets…
Before an ambush by enemy soldiers, Lord Cassia was an engineer’s apprentice on a mission entrusted by the king. But when plague sweeps over the land, leaving countless dead and devastating the kingdom, even Cas’ title cannot save him from a rotting prison cell and a merciless sickness.
Three years later, Cas wants only to return to his home in the mountains and forget past horrors. But home is not what he remembers. His castle has become a refuge for the royal court. And they have brought their enemies with them.
When an assassin targets those closest to the queen, Cas is drawn into a search for a killer… one that leads him to form an unexpected bond with a brilliant young historian named Lena. Cas and Lena soon realize that who is behind the attacks is far less important than why. They must look to the past, following the trail of a terrible secret—one that could threaten the kingdom’s newfound peace and plunge it back into war.
That was one of my largest takeaways here. This book is magnetic. I was swept away in this story about Cas returning home to find what the plague has wreaked havoc upon. The audio is STELLAR. Highly recommend and I love the way the narrator gave a humorous voice to Cas. It perfectly off-set the darker sides of this tale and made it all the better.
I looove that this was told from the guy’s perspective. That’s not super common in YA lit. Cas was a resilient man who was looking out for those he loved, and the kingdom he fights for, all while bonding with Lena. I also adored Lena. Both of these characters sold the story for me. I loved the interactions, the banter, and watching their connection strengthen over time. I wouldn’t exactly call it a romance because it’s not heavily implied, but there’s feelings there by the end.
The story was intriguing and I liked the mystery aspect of it all. I remember thinking, WAIT WHAT, a few times as the reveals started occurring in the second half. The twists and turns are there and plenty of action to keep things moving. I can’t believe this was a standalone. It was without a doubt, one of the best ones I’ve read this year. Everything was well built and formulated to occur at the necessary pacing to finish up in less than 350 pages.
Absolute gem, highly recommend. I can’t wait to find out what this author will write next!
Overall audience notes:
- YA Fantasy
- Language: very little
- Romance: flirting (maybe a kiss at the end?)
- Violence: skirmishes, weaponry wounds (arrows, swords)
- Trigger/Content Warnings: plague (based off of the Black Death), loss of many loved ones, medical experimentation, near drowning of an infant