Princess Katya Nar Umbriel has little left to lose. Her uncle Roland took her home, scattered her family, and forced her to abandon Starbride, her dearest love. Slim hopes and righteous anger carry Katya into Starbride's homeland to raise an army and take back all that was stolen from her.
Starbride never dreamed she’d lead a pack of foreign rebels against a Fiendish usurper. She holds the capital city out of love, denying any rumor of Katya’s death. As the two strive toward each other, Roland dogs their every step, loosing Fiend-filled corpses on Katya’s army and hypnotizing the capital’s citizens into hunting Starbride down. If they ever meet again, it’ll be over his dead body.
When it comes to the things I enjoyed in this book I can just repeat what I already said about the first two in the series: I love the characters, I love the dynamics between Katya and Starbride, and the dynamics between them and the side-characters in general. Also taking about character dynamics and relationships: I love how there are characters that are good guys but that don't (always) get along that well with the main characters. They're not arrogant jerks who have to be endured because they are very good at what they do. They just have very different ideas from the others and so they're sometimes difficult to be around. Though in the case of Redtrue and the other adsnazi I quickly got tired and exhausted of their views. Towards the end, I found it easier to see their point of view but I still would have wished for less stubbornness on their part. I'm not saying I expected any of them to agree completely with Katya but someone showing some doubts would have been nice. Instead, everybody held to their opinion without moving an inch.
Another thing I enjoyed: while the book can't be considered a 'clean read' it's not because of any extremely explicit sex scenes but because it's a society that's not ashamed of sex and talks openly about it (and loves dirty jokes so much, something they share with me). I'm not a big fan of explicit sex scenes. Even if I love the author's writing style there's a high chance I'll just skim over the sex scenes. But a good dirty joke? Give it to me! Lots of them? Even better!
Like in the second book, the plot took a lot of surprising turns and I went 'WHAT?' more than once. And while I found the 'mirroring' of storylines a bit odd (Katya and Starbride were apart and dealing with very different things but yet seemed to have success and misfortune always happening at the same time) I didn't have the problem with it being a bit too fast-paced, as with the last book.
So: perfect book, five stars? Alas, no. And the ending is to blame for that. I don't mind cliffhanger endings but there should at least be a momentary conclusion with the big questions still left open. There was no conclusion of anything. It just stopped. Literally mid-battle. There wasn't even a solution to anything in sight and that is rather frustrating.
(And now I have to read the next book soon...)
ARC received from NetGalley