4 out of 5 stars
I received an ARC of this work.
Carys and Andreus are twin royalty to the Eden throne. Since their father and elder brother are healthy, they will not be taking the throne anytime soon. They are both okay with that as one suffers from a chronic condition that looks a lot like asthma (and the kingdom is at war, which means kings have to appear strong) and the other has a crippling poppy addiction. Then the king and heir apparent are killed and the queen goes crazy. Carys and Andreus are now in direct competition for the throne. The Elder ministers set up a series of tasks to test the willingness of the new heirs to do whatever it takes to seize power. The twins, who have always been loyal to each other, now find themselves fighting for their lives and the good of their kingdom.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. This is the second time Joelle Charbonneau has written a series that is concerned with life and death competition between characters and she does both the political maneuvering and emotional responses very well. Her books are well-paced and hard to put down.
It was fascinating watching both Cerys and Andreus change throughout the competition. They start out being virtually the only person the other can trust, but within days of the trials starting, they are at each other’s throats. The ministers and courtiers all start manipulating the twins and each other in a desperate grab for influence and no one knows whom they can trust.
This book is very quickly paced and exciting. The relationships are complex and the plot keeps you guessing. Definitely a must-read.