Author: Jennifer Anne Davis
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Length: 356 pages
When Rema chose to be crowned queen and join the rebel forces, she knew she'd face the fight of her life. What she didn't expect was to be kidnapped by an Emperion assassin and taken to the mainland to be executed in front of the emperor. How can she save Greenwood Island if she can't even save herself?
Darmik knows he doesn't have much time to rescue Rema. He's denounced his position as Commander and Prince in order to join the rebels. But now he must rely on his family name in order to go before the Emperor--his uncle--and beg for Rema's life.
If Rema and Darmik have any hope of being together and saving their kingdom, they must survive the greatest threat of all Emperion.
Protagonists; Once again Rema is headed to her execution and once again she seeks a way to escape death. Darmik is doing everything he can to save the woman he loves even taking a small group to Emperion in the hopes of either stopping the execution from happening or saving Rema as she faces the chopping block. Rema is no longer the sheltered girl she was at the start of this series, and as this book unfolds she finds herself struggling with the thought of possibly ruling not only the island she grew up on but possibly the largest empire in this world. Having defected from his position Darmik no longer struggles between his love for Rema and his family. What I loved was that his defection while kickstarted by his feelings for Rema, became much more about realizing the cruel and evil ways his father and brother treated their kingdom and his devotion for his country and putting someone worthy on the throne.
Romance: Much like the previous two installments Rema and Darmik don't spend that much time together, or at least not in the beginning, yet I'm still so drawn to their love story. Their love isn't about being dependent on the other person, but rather letting that person into your life, every part, and loving them for who they are. The "love triangle" from the last book isn't nearly as big of a focus, mainly because Rema has always made her choice, and while I have grown to really like Savenek as a character, when he's pining over Rema it's just sad.
World-Building: Wow, there's a lot of world-building in this book. There are some pretty dark secrets and long laid plans that come to light in this book. I loved how this series ties together, where there's a bit of foreshadowing in a previous book that only begins to make sense as the series continues culminating in some amazing backstory and wonderful exposition. We finally get to see Emperion in this book and learn more about how it's run. It was interesting to learn how while it's run differently from Greenwood Island, it is still ruled with an iron fist by an Emperor who may just be more evil than the heartless King Barjon. Rema herself also learns more about her heritage, not only from her Greenwood side, but her Emperion side as well, and the significance of her key necklace and what it truly represents.
Predictability: Unlike the previous books in this series there was quite a bit that shocked me. In fact even though I knew how some of the bigger more vague things were going to turn out, I was still very confused when things looked dire and in complete contrast to how I knew they would go. I talked about the reveals in this book and holy crap there are some great ones in this book, things that I didn't even think about until the more blatant foreshadowing in this book made me wonder. Huge shout out to the author for an excellent job with these twists, even the sad ones.
Ending: No cliffhanger? YES! Though I do have to admit that if I didn't know that there's going to be spin-off the end of this book makes if pretty clear that there would be. The final climax of this book was fantastic. There were definitely some twists that I wasn't ready for and some amazing action that I was. As the book wound to close I actually found myself crying, mostly happy tears, and of course the end of this story is just the beginning of another.
So as I was reading this book it became apparent to me that I would definitely be giving this book five stars. It was fantastic and a wonderful end to this trilogy. While I do love high fantasy, I think I'm beginning to like realistic fantasy just as much!