Two races fight for what remains of a dying planet.
For generations, the Maarlai, an alien race who fled the destruction of their own home world, have lived silently, hidden, exiled on Earth. They watched, year by year, as humanity destroyed what was once a planet full of hope and promise.
Unable to idly watch as the planet dipped further into destruction, the Maarlai left their hidden villages and went to war with what was left of humanity. With the death of the last great human king, the Maarlai found themselves victorious and vowed to protect and restore the planet that had sheltered them for so long.
A treaty made, an alliance formed.
Shannen of House Lyon is a member of the last of the human royal families. While they bend knee to the Maarlai ruler, her people have not forgotten their former greatness, the years of bloodshed and horror... or the memory of their fallen king.
To ensure a lasting peace between their two peoples, Shannen and three other prominent human women are sent to the Maarlai capital. One of them will wed the future Maarlai king, cementing the peace between former enemies.
When Shannen finds herself married to the Maarlai warrior, she discovers a whole new world... and freedom unlike anything she could have imagined. When war threatens once again, she will need to decide where her loyalties truly lie.
** 3.7 Stars**
I have to start by saying I didn't think this book would be as good as it was, but I really enjoyed it. The writing kept me interested and the characters were relatable. The conflict between the humans and the Maarlai, as well as the internal strife within the Maarlai royal family gave more than enough drama to keep the plot twists intriguing.
I liked that the author made Shannen into someone that was overall disliked (by the majority of the Maarlai), while also helplessly likeable as a character. She suffered a lot in her life and essentially suffered in silence, but she was a very strong person and defended herself when need be. I liked that against all odds she chose to show trust and follow her heart and her instincts. She was in a situation where she knew no one, she was hated, and she still managed to thrive and not become bitter. I wish her relationship with Daarik had blossomed more than it did, but I guess the time that it took was warranted. They had a lot of differences to overcome. I liked that he opened up to her, but I felt he was very naïve throughout most of the story. This was surprising since he was such a renowned warrior. I loved that Shannen and Janara developed such closeness and the initial source of that friendship developed because of books - genius, on the author's part. I was afraid that there could possibly be some sort of love triangle between Shannen, Daarik, and Baerne (Daarik's stepbrother), but I'm glad the author didn't go that route.
I didn't like that this book ended on a cliffhanger (with no release date for the next book as of this review) and with heartbreak, but it does give me something to look forward to from the author. I would read other books in this series, but I find myself on the fence as far as other works by the author are concerned.
About the Author
Colleen Vanderlinden writes about strong, flawed women and the men who love them. She's the author of the Hidden urban fantasy series, the Copper Falls paranormal romance series, the StrikeForce superhero romance series, and the Exile fantasy romance series.
She lives in Michigan with her husband, kids, demonic Basset hound, and two eternally cranky cats. You can find out more about Colleen's books at colleenvanderlinden.com.