* I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Goodreads Rating: 3 stars
Raisa was only a child when she was kidnapped and enslaved in Qilara. Forced to serve in the palace of the king, she’s endured hunger, abuse, and the harrowing fear of discovery: everyone knows she is Arnath, but not that Raisa is a Learned One, a part of an Arnath group educated in higher order symbols. In Qilara, this language is so fiercely protected that only the King, the Prince, and Tutors are allowed to know it. So when the current Tutor-in-training is executed for sharing the guarded language with slaves, and Raisa is chosen to replace her, Raisa knows that—although she may have a privileged position among slaves—any slip-up could mean death.
That would be challenging enough, but training alongside Prince Mati could be her real undoing. And when a romance blossoms between them, she’s suddenly filled with a dangerous hope for something she never before thought possible: more. Then she’s propositioned by the Resistance—an underground army of slaves—to help liberate the Arnath people. Joining the rebellion could mean freeing her people…but she’d also be aiding in the war against her beloved—an honorable man that she knows wants to help the slaves.
Working against the one she loves—and a palace full of deadly political renegades—has some heady consequences. As Raisa struggles with what’s right, she unwittingly uncovers a secret that the Qilarites have long since buried…one that, unlocked, could bring the current world order to its knees.
And Raisa is the one holding the key.
This story was so unique. I loved the overall story and plot of this book.
This story tells of a unique kingdom that has conquered a people and outlawed learning to read and write. The levels of writing and who can read/write is complicated and different.
Raisa was from a conquered people that should’ve been extinct but she survived and is last of her “kind.” She doesn’t tell anyone of what she knows and who she really is. She is forced into servitude in the palace. She is then specially chosen to learn to read and write so that one day she may teach the heir to the throne.
She is thrown in with learning with the prince himself and they develop a bond and friendship which very quickly (when reading it) turns to love. Let’s come back to that later.
When the resistance contacts Raisa she has to make a choice that could help her people but put her at grave risk of her own life. The king does not toy or play with anyone breaking the law. Only certain kind of people are to be able to read and write. Raisa has to make a choice.
I appreciated Rasia as a character overall. She is bright, determined, and strong.
I really disliked the romance in this book. It was fast and it lacked mystery or anything magical. I found myself rolling my eyes A LOT and found it to be annoying. I thought and hoped that there might be another character involvement but I was disappointed. In the end, however I understood why the author did what she did even if I didn’t care for it.
Overall the story is intriguing and engaging, regardless if I hated the romance.
Sexual Content: moderate (lots of kissing, knowledge of 2 character had sex)