Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Wil, the youngest princess of Northern Arrod, suddenly finds herself in the middle of political intrigue and a budding war between kingdoms. Though she'd rather spend time with her alchemist brother making mischief, she's forced by an abrupt tragedy to find her way in the world alone. Making many enemies along the way, Wil is thrust into a rollicking adventure to discover who she really is and why she was cursed with the ability to turn anything she touches into gemstone. She makes a deal with the secretive Loom, who seeks to kill prominent monarchs in order to stop corruption and end the war before it starts. She'll help him with his endeavors if he helps her find a mysterious guru who has the power to identify and break curses like Wil's.
This book has a very interesting plot and storyline, and the setting is both fantastical and richly detailed. DeStefano did a good job of building up her world and the political and economic turmoil surrounding the kingdoms. The plot itself is pretty compelling, and makes the reader want to know why Wil was cursed and how Loom would react when he found out that Wil herself was royalty. One weakness is that there were a few too many subplots going on. The reader will be really invested in Wil's story, but the brief chapters told from her brothers' or mother's or other characters' points of view are not as absorbing. The perspective changes are abrupt and random, which could be confusing to some readers. The intended audience will most enjoy the descriptions, characters, and emotional story.
*Contains mild language, mild sexual content, and moderate violence