When Sage Wolfe is accidentally mistaken for a peace offering, her world turns upside down. Dayton, the young, handsome, and insane King of Rosementh whisks her away to his castle to be his bride with the promise that he can give her the world and anything she desires. These offers becoming tainted as Dayton’s true colors show themselves; he is cruel and violent and Sage vows to run away or die trying.
Just when Sage thinks she is hitting rock bottom, a hooded stranger named Jonathan Kreider comes to the castle. He doesn’t say much but his actions speak for themselves. Not only can he wield a sword or shoot an arrow better than most of Dayton’s men, but he always seems to be a step behind Sage, and though it should terrify her, for the first time Sage finds herself filling with hope.
Sage is faced with a choice. Should she run away from the wicked king who took her away from her family? Or should she stay to learn more about the man who lurks in the shadows, the man that makes her heart race and almost makes suffering Dayton’s wrath worthwhile? Sage is about to discover that nothing is as it seems and everyone has secrets; Dayton, the man that calls himself Jonathan Kreider, and even herself.
I’m going to start off and say that I really enjoyed this book. I was immediately pulled into the world and couldn’t put it down once I started (I had to a few times because I was sneaking in reading it while I was at work, but I just couldn’t wait until the end of the day to finish reading). I will admit, that despite loving the plot I did skim a bit in the woods over Sage’s training.
I’m going to jump into the characters. All of whom were well written and compelling.
- I liked Sage. I don’t think there was anything particularly special about her, but I liked her and her strong commitment to her family.
- Jonty was awesome. He’s super skilled, is the boy next door and the mysterious, brooding stranger. It’s a win-win situation.
- I really liked Nev and Martin. I’m still sad about what happens to them.
- Jonty’s father is awful. I was kind of hoping the other elders would expel or banish him and ask Jonty to take his place.
- I’m going to get a bit into Dayton, because while he was well-written, I still have a lot of questions. First thing’s first: What affected Dayton? Why do his eyes turned black—was he really talking to his parents? The characterization of Dayton also confused me a bit: he’s introduced as a cruel king, but then he’s kind to her once he realizes she’s his “chosen one”—so why does he torture her at his castle when his eyes aren’t black. I thought he would treat everyone but her horribly. Even before reaching the castle, him chaining her up never made enough sense to me, especially since he seemed sorry about it every morning. I honestly thought it was a bit of a Beauty and Beast situation where Dayton would only be bad when he had black eyes, and would eventually redeem himself, even if Sage would eventually run off with Jonty.
I also want to note that it kind of reminds me of Phantom of the Opera (especially Dayton’s obsession with Sage, and him hunting Jonty for taking him). I didn’t make the connection, though, until after I’d finished reading. It’s so uniquely engaging that its resemblance to one of my favorite musicals is not a sign of copying, but might explain why I found it so compelling.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. About halfway through reading, I recognized the sequel potential, but it doesn’t say on Goodreads that it’s the first in a series. Despite the end of the book clearly makes it seem like there’ll be a sequel. So, maybe the author hasn’t decided yet on continuing the series, but I hope a sequel comes out soon.