I bought this book after reading the past two in the trilogy and needing to know what happened to Phaedra, because I love her.
It has been a long time since I read the first book in this series, Finnikin of the Rock, but I think this book is my favourite in the series. I really liked the world the series is set in, and how the political situation is important to the plot, but not the main storyline of the series. As shown by her other books, Melina Marchetta can write like the best of them, and in this book she makes me interested in the fate of Skulendore and all it's countries and provinces, which probably would have bored and disengaged me if it was written by anyone else. I tried to pick my favourite character in this book but it was too hard, I really loved a lot of the characters and grew to love some of the ones I didn't. A couple of the best ones in my opinion would probably be; Phaedra, who can kick some ass when she needs to, Perri, who developed a really nice sensitive side in this book, Quintana, who also developed her sensitive side, and Finnikin, whose character had a step up in this book compared to the last one which made me remember why the first book in the series is about him. This is an awesome fantasy series that I would reccommend to anyone who likes the magic, curses, kingdoms and rulers drama.
This book starts a couple weeks after Froi was attacked and Quintana hid away with Phaedra and the other girls. Froi is being looked after by Arjuro and soon leaves to go find Garagrin and Lirah, which he does, however when he finds them Finnikin is about to kill Gargarin. Froi convinces them to let him go and explains what has happened to him in Charyn, Finnikin, Trevanion and Perri then leave him to bring the news to Lumatere. De Lancey then approaches Gargarin and tells him they want him to be the King's regent once he's born, but Lirah can't live in the palace so Gargarin gets angry and leaves, but they threaten Arjuro and Froi goes to save him. Once together, Gargarin, Lirah, Froi and Arjuro decide to go to the Lasconian camp to use their army to save Quintana, once there they discover Bestiano's army is camped just across from them keeping watch. Soon the Turlans come to the camp to join forces as they want to help Quintana, and De Lancey and his army, who says that he has another massive army training in Desantos as the plague there is merely a rumour. Lirah then realises that Phaedra died of a plague that never existed, and realizes that Quintana would trust her because Froi did, their army then attacks Nebia's army and Froi goes to kill Bestiano. However Froi decides to hurt Bestiano first and his guards return and try to kill Froi, however Dorcas suffocates Bestiano instead. Meanwhile, Quintana and the girls were betrayed by Ginny, who told her husband Gies where they were and he and Donashe capture them and put them in a cave near the top of the valley. Everyone realizes that Bestiano's order was to kill Quintana once the baby was born so when Quintana goes into labour the girls put a peice of wood in her mouth to keep her form making any sounds to alert the guards. Nebia's army joins forces with the turlans, lasconians and De Lancey's men and they go to save Quintana. Isaboe gives birth to a stillborn boy, but tells everyone that he told her to go down to the valley, so she does and goes into the cave where Quintana's giving birth. They then tell the guards that Isaboe's gone into labour so she can take the little King to safety and Quintana can live till the army arrives. Once the army comes, Froi cries when he sees Quintana and the baby but he is told to stay in Lumatere until Gargarin writes. After six months, Quintana's consort is being chosen by the Provincari and Lord August and Lady Abain present Froi as their son and promise peace with Lumatere as their dowry, Froi is chosen and he and Quintana get to live together with their son.