Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she'd imagined.
I watched in helpless horror as two guards hauled Gavin to his feet and dragged him from the room. My voice was frozen, unable to protest as another guard took hold of my arm, leading me upstairs. From the confines of my room, I stared into the darkness beyond my window, hoping to catch one more glimpse of Gavin. He was gone, and I wondered if he would have been better off if he had never met me.
This was a pleasant surprise. For some reason I didn’t have the highest expectation going into it. I think part of it was that I didn’t love the cover. I probably would have put off reading it for awhile if I hadn’t read the great reviews (especially Chrissy’s). I guess I’m a cover snob and I gravitate to the books with awesome covers (which doesn’t always mean you’ll get an awesome book. Unfortunately.) Ariella was a great heroine. I really liked her. The book opens when she is fifteen and I thought the author did a good job portraying her at that age and especially how her relationship with Gavin grows from friendship to young love. Very believable. I liked that the book takes place over a few years and we get to see the changes Ariella goes through and how she handles struggles. I like that she wanted to do the right thing and was willing to make hard choices, if it meant doing the right thing. Again, I really liked her character. I also liked Gavin. He was a sweetheart. I thought they had good chemistry and I was rooting for them. I wasn’t sure how things were going to play out, they come from different worlds and obviously won’t have the support of her family. There was another character introduced towards the end that I actually loved, I think he is more my “type” and almost started rooting for him, but I was still on Team Gavin. I was happy with how everything eventually works out. Anyway, I love high fantasy novels that have a princess as our leading lady. Not sure why, but it’s just a great setting. The book kind of reminded me of Seer and the Sword and Queen in Exile, although this book focused more on Ariella’s self discovery, and not too much court intrigue. Maybe since I had those other books in the back of my head I expected this to be similar in action/intrigue, and did keep expecting something to happen, but for the most part it’s just a nice story. There is some excitement thrown in though and I thought that made the story fun. I think it’s one I would probably enjoy even more the next time around, knowing what to expect. The writing was well done and the characters likable. I look forward to reading about Areilla’s sister Lylin in the next book. Hope it comes out soon. Overall, a fun read and one I would recommend. Can’t wait to read more from Ms. Larsen. Content: Clean.