April 24th, 2018
Theodosia–or Theo, as true friends would call her–has lived under the oppressive thumb of the Kaiser for years. She watched as a helpless child when the Kaiser’s people invaded her kingdom and slaughtered her mother–the Fire Queen–right in front of her. She now serves as an example and hostage to ensure her people’s cooperation. Whenever the rebellion tries to fight back or sabotage the Kaiser, she is savagely beaten in front of everyone.
Her only solace has been her one friend–who is incidentally the daughter of the Kaiser’s right hand man. One day, the last vestige of free elemental wizards among her people is captured and brought before her. The Kaiser insists Theo must kill the man she thinks could be her father–or he will (in a much more painful way, of course). Killing him breaks Theo’s endurance. So when she is approached by an old friend she hasn’t seen in decades to join the rebellion in earnest–she decides in finally time to take back her kingdom.
A story with entertaining amounts of court intrigue and rebellion, Sebastian gives us a heroine we can easily cheer for as well. Often with Fantasy YA, writers fall back too easily on tropes of heroines who begin with a learned helplessness that some other strong soul has to shake her out of–thankfully, that’s not what we get here. While some prodding does happen, Theo is the one who eventually has to insist on doing things the hard way. I look forward to the next in this series.