Series: Rule #1
Published by Little Brown (9.11.2018)
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Source: For Tour
Three girls with three deadly secrets. Only one can wear the crown.
The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos.
Or rather, three unexpected options.
Zofi has spent her entire life trekking through the outer Reaches with her band of Travelers. She would do anything to protect the band, her family. But no one can ever find out how far she's already gone.
Akeylah was raised in the Eastern Reach, surrounded by whispers of rebellion and abused by her father. Desperate to escape, she makes a decision that threatens the whole kingdom.
Ren grew up in Kolonya, serving as a lady's maid and scheming her way out of the servants' chambers. But one such plot could get her hung for treason if anyone ever discovers what she's done.
When the king summons the girls, they arrive expecting arrest or even execution. Instead they learn the truth: they are his illegitimate daughters, and one must become his new heir. But someone in Kolonya knows their secrets, and that someone will stop at nothing to keep the sisters from their destiny... to rule.
To be honest, I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would! It was one of those books where you enjoy it while reading but it doesn’t necessarily stick with you or leave a lasting impression. It’s definitely not a memorable book, and sadly it was kind of generic.
I really, really hate switching POVs in pretty much any book. Two is bad enough, but three is even worse!! It makes it so hard to connect to anyone, and usually it’s hard to tell the difference between the characters you’re reading. There wasn’t a clear distinction in each voice, but thankfully I could tell the sisters apart. They all came from very different backgrounds so they had pretty distinct personalities. (Um, I love that they each had their own curse they used! Sun, seas, or sands for different kingdoms!) Especially Zofi, I think she was my favorite! She was fiesty!
I freaking LOVED the idea of the Blood Arts and the Vulgar Arts, it was wicked cool! That was the most unique part of this book, and definitely my favorite part. The concept was awesome – draw blood and use blood magic? Heck yeah! I loved the way Zofi used vials of extra blood to break for a boost. I also really liked how each sister had a dark secret they were keeping! Those two parts of the story were mostly what drew me in.
Sadly, that was the most exciting thing. Like I said, as far as high fantasy goes, this one felt pretty generic. Like any other HF out there. The romance was pretty bland and uninspiring to me. I didn’t care about Zofi’s love interest, and the romance between Akeylah and Rozalind moved WAY too fast. Kudos for the diversity, but I wish it had been handled better. They had ONE interaction for a whole 5 minutes and Akeylah was suddenly talking about feelings, what??? I never got on board with their romance because it moved too quickly and had zero time to actually develop.
Can I just say – the ending pissed me off like a lot? WHAT the actual crap is that?! View Spoiler »I expected the blackmailer/killer to be revealed at the very end right before a cliffhanger. Instead, we get NOTHING. FLIPPING NOTHIIING!!!! Literally nothing was resolved whatsoever!! What even!!! ALL THE EXCLAMATION POINTS!! « Hide Spoiler
Writing style: 3.5/5
Overall rating: 3/5