I loved Bonds of Brass, so when this slid across my radar, I couldn’t help putting a request in!
Thanks to the author, as well as Del Rey via NetGalley for the review copy!
Gal’s destiny has always been clear: complete his training at the military academy, prove his worth as a royal successor, and ascend to the galactic throne. When a failed assassination plot against Gal sends him and Ettian—his infuriatingly enticing roommate—on a mad dash through the stars, Gal’s plans are momentarily disrupted. But he was born to rule the Umber Empire, and with Ettian by his side, nothing will stop him from returning home and crushing the growing insurgency threatening his family’s power.
But nothing is ever that simple in war—or in love. Gal is captured by the rebellion during a skirmish and faces public execution, his grand fate cut short. To save Gal’s life, Ettian does the unthinkable: he reveals himself as the secret heir to the fallen Archon Empire and rightful leader of the rebellion . . . and, therefore, Gal’s sworn enemy. Now a political hostage in this newly-reignited conflict, Gal must use his limited resources to sabotage the rebellion from within, concoct an escape plan, and return to the empire he’s destined to lead. And if that means taking down the man he thought he loved?
All the better.
This is the continuing story of Gal and Ettian – whose story from Bonds of Brass I won’t spoil for you, but suffice to say that there are feels to be had. The end of Bonds of Brass had events that lead to much hard feelings between the two, and this one continues that story from Gal’s POV (Book 1 was from Ettian’s POV). He is a political prisoner, more bored than anything else, and is trying to come up with escape plans. One plan results in him being dragged to the warfront with Ettian, and from there, many shenanigans are had.
I really liked seeing this one from Gal’s point of view. It was interesting seeing how a lifetime of training makes him think about situations he finds himself in. It seems almost second nature for him to try and manipulate the people around him, even the people that he likes, to get what he wants. We also see a lot of Wen Iffan in this one, as she has become rather a central character in the grand scheme of things.
It was fantastically written and easy to sit down with for hours at a time. The last quarter or so was action-packed, and hard to put down. I didn’t love it quite as much as I loved Bonds of Brass, however the story that it sets up to tell in the third volume in the series is certain to be entertaining, and so it left me eagerly awaiting the next in the series. 4/5 stars!~