First Lines: For most, the bleak dark months when the black storms come howling out of the north is a time of grimness and sorrow as people await the arrival of winter, which brings death, hunger, and bitter cold in its wake.
When I saw this on the library shelf, there were no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I had to grab it. The first book in this series rocketed onto my list of favorites and the second wasn’t far behind. I’m in love with how these stories are told, the setting, the characters, everything. And I was very excited to see how this one matched the others.
*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*
Annith has watched others at the convent of St. Mortain come and go before her. Having lived their longer than others her age and being far more skilled than them, Annith doesn’t understand why Mortain is not sending her out to enact His will. But her worst fears are realized when she finds out the abbess is grooming her to be the next Seeress, to be locked in a stone tower in the convent for the rest of her life. Feeling betrayed, Annith decides that all there is left to do is escape. Just because the convent has changed their mind about her becoming an assassin doesn’t mean she has.
I loved this so much. Oh my gosh. My family and my boyfriend were so sick of hearing about this book and how I didn’t want to put it down. I spent all day at school counting the hours until I could get home and read more. It was such a delicious sensation because it’s been so long since a book has hooked me like this.
Annith is the most relatable of the three we’ve followed so far. Unlike the dangerous and confident Sybella and the clever and brave Ismae, Annith is quieter. She’s a people-pleaser, constantly trying to make the Sisters at the convent happy. Annith is always seeking out ways to better herself so she’s ready to serve Mortain at a moment’s notice. But that all changes the moment Annith learns they want to lock her up for the rest of her life as Seeress…and all because she is a people-pleaser. (The word they used was more along the lines of “biddable”, which would infuriate me as well.)
I really enjoyed the plot of this story as well. I liked how so much of it was about Annith finding her strength. She struggles with knowing what she should do, whether she’s actually following her faith or her own will. Plus, you have those pesky French trying to take over Brittany the whole time, so there’s always an eminent battle on the horizon.
And there are so many surprises along the way! So many twists and turns. I didn’t see a lot of them coming, so that was good fun.
The male lead…who shall remain nameless for my sheer enjoyment here…oh, he was something special. I may have swooned more than once over him. He was strong but contained, confident but unsure when it came to Annith. And he has one amazing plot twist in his story. …I think I’m swooning just thinking about him again. Jiminy Christmas.
It was a really sweet read. While I seriously loved this book (and I also added it to my favorites list), I still think I liked the first book in the series best. But with this series, does it even matter? I could read all three of them again and still turn into a giggling, excited mess who breaks out in goosebumps as she reads the cutest scenes. (…That really happened with this book.)