Author: Jennifer Anne Davis
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Length: 294 pages
Jennifer Anne Davis's best-selling True Reign series captivated readers from the very first page. Now, get ready to become entangled in the follow-up series, Reign of Secrets. In this new series, follow Allyssa, the daughter of the beloved Emperor Darmik and Empress Rema— and find out what happens after happily ever after.
Seventeen-year-old Allyssa appears to be the ideal princess of Emperion—she’s beautiful, elegant, and refined. She spends her days locked in a suffocating cage, otherwise known as royal court. But at night, Allyssa uses her secret persona—that of a vigilante—to hunt down criminals and help her people firsthand.
Unfortunately, her nightly escapades will have to wait because the citizens of Emperion may need saving from something much bigger than common criminals. War is encroaching on their country and in order to protect her people, Allyssa may have to sacrifice her heart. Forced to entertain an alliance through marriage with a handsome prince from a neighboring kingdom, she finds herself feeling even more stifled than before. To make matters worse, the prince has stuck his nosy squire, Jarvik, to watch her every move.
Jarvik is infuriating, bossy and unfortunately, the only person she can turn to when she unveils a heinous plot. Together, the unlikely pair will have to work together to stop an enemy that everyone thought was long gone, one with the power to destroy her family and the people of Emperion. Now the cage Allyssa so longed to break free from might just be the one thing she has to fight to keep intact. In order to save her kingdom, she will have to sacrifice her freedom, her heart, and maybe even her life.
Protagonist: Allyssa, the daughter of Empress Rema and Emperor Darmik, isn't your typical princess, tired of court life and feeling stifled she sneaks out of the castle at night and apprehends criminals with her friend Grevik. I loved Alyssa's character, she's strong, feisty, stubborn, and loyal to a fault. She's not perfect by any means, she has a temper and it can be at times extremely hard to control especially when she meets Jarvik. Nonetheless She is an amazing protagonist and I can't wait to see how she continues to grow over the course of this trilogy.
Romance: So this romance is complicated for many reasons, one Allyssa is on track to marry Jarvik's prince, two Allyssa has no romantic feelings for said prince, and three Jarvik and Prince Odar are best friends. While there is a tiny bit of a love triangle between the three, it's not really something to be taken seriously, in fact Allyssa never even has any sort of physical feelings for Odar. To say that this romance is a slow burning one is an understatement, these two start off practically hating each other, but as they get to truly know every side to one another there's a bit of respect that blooms, followed eventually by a bit of romance. This is in stark contrast to the True Reign series where Rema and Darmik's romance seemed to move almost too fast.
World-Building: I'm a huge fan of spin-offs that focus on the next generation. While I loved the adventures of Darmik and Rema, their time has passed and now it's time for their and their friends' kids to have the adventure. In this series the larger focus is on Emperion and the politics and diplomacy that comes with not only being heir to the throne, but also the leader of a large empire. I loved getting to know more about this world, what previous characters were up to, and meeting new and interesting characters. There are secrets and deception afoot though...
Predictability: So in this book there are three large and key twists, or rather two as one was never actually revealed. The first one that came up was pretty easy to figure out, though I'm not sure if it was from an abundance of foreshadowing or my own twisted conspiracy theories leading me to notice small bits of foreshadowing, nevertheless after enough time I'm sure anyone would figure it out and it's a good twist too. The second one that came up was much easier to work though, especially after reading the synopsis, once a crucial bit of exposition/foreshadowing comes up it's pretty easy to work out. The last one, that hasn't been revealed but was teased so many times I nearly went mad, I'm not 100% sure about yet, but if it is what I think it is, I may just cry with joy, mainly because just at the prospect of it being true I teared up a bit. Sorry for being so vague, but I've got to avoid spoilers.
Ending: Attention Jennifer Anne Davis, you cannot end books like that! Well, you can but you're truly evil for doing so. The ending of this book was both excruciating and fantastic. The final climactic scene was epic, and while it didn't turn out quite the way i wanted it to, it did turn out the way I expected it to. I've noticed that this author doesn't like to end her first books in series of even a little bit of a plateaued ending, not she practically pushed her readers of a cliff forcing them to hang on for dear life. Seriously, I need the next book, like yesterday.
So this wasn't much of a surprise for me. I knew I would go into this book loving it, but I have to admit if the quality of these books keeps up they will definitely surpass the True Reign series!
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