Published by St. Martin's Press on May 1, 2018
I received an ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive--an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.
Jack's mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamari is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it's people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda's Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.
Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.
The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.
I absolutely LOVED this book! What a fantastical world! It had been such a long time since I was properly swept away into another world and this Penelope's work was marvelous!
In all of my reviews, I try hard to think of both good and bad parts of the book. I have given up trying to find something I disliked about this book because I simply can't do it. Honestly, I finished this book a few days ago and I'm still wracking my brain. So, I quit. I give up. I LOVED THIS BOOK! I can't wait to read it again.
Penelope creates several beautiful characters. Of these, my favorite was definitely Jasminda. I'm a sucker for a strong female lead, and Jasminda does not disappoint. She is ready and able to take charge to protect herself and her land. She does what she needs to in order to save her family's land. Perhaps the most important thing about her is the lesson she teaches young girls. There is love in her life, but her love is not her life. There is SOOOOOO much more to her than just trying to find a husband and have a family. She is a strong, independent, black woman. She knows it and she owns it!
In addition to beautiful character development, Penelope accomplishes some INCREDIBLE world building. It is so easy to picture every setting. She gives just the right amount of detail. The places that should be explained in more detail-are. The places that are minimally experienced are minimally explained. I loved that she used her world building skills to add to the story rather than to take away from the integrity of the plot. Too many authors over explain the setting because they feel like they have to, Penelope understands that sometimes less is more.
Diversity, tolerance, and acceptance are very important themes in this novel. It is impossible to turn a page without seeing evidence of these three popping up. I honestly can't think of a more important topic for today's readers to see. Too often, harsh comments are made about people who are different from us or who see things differently. These differences should be celebrated, not attacked. I am so glad that Penelope took the time to embrace and celebrate them.
I absolutely adored this book. If you like fantasy, romance, and stunning writing, this is the book for you!