By Cynthia Bujnicki
Sylvie has traversed the desert to reach the Amber City, a place where her power will be cherished and respected. However, the place she thought she would find her past and home has turned out to be more perilous than the home she left behind. With political games and a tyrant queen, Sylvie must find a way to harness and control her power or lose her life.
This novel was difficult to judge, partly because of the characters and partly due to the pacing of the novel.
Sylvie embarks on this journey to find her roots and find acceptance in her power. She has many scars from the mental, emotional, and physical abuse she suffered at an orphanage, so this has left a dark stain on her soul, which is expected. However, when she finds herself in the Palais, she finds she has traded one toxic environment for another. what is bothersome about this is in the face of adversity, instead of thriving despite the toxic environment, Sylvie thrives because of it. Now maybe that was not Selene’s intent regarding her writing, but that is the tone the narrative took which is off-putting for a protagonist meant to be the heroine of the story.
Now, there are times where her humanity and compassion come through, but then there are times when Sylvie’s narrative is rather harsh, a bit narcissistic, and even cruel that it makes her off-putting. However, it is the perfect reflection of the environment she is in strips them of their names, giving them nicknames that reflect their abilities, stripping the court of their identities and their humanity. The Empress is tyrannical and uses her court as hostages and weapons for her needs.
It is not a bad story, and with the flowery and descriptive language, it does make for a decent read. However, it lacks a level of substance that would have otherwise kept the reader more engaged. It is easy to put the novel down and forget about it, and with the jarring pacing and predictable dynamics and reveal near the end, it ended up falling flat. (★★★☆☆)