Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Erin Beaty
Sage is surprised that her uncle has been to the match maker to arrange a marriage interview for her. She suspected he was arranging an apprenticeship, which is what she wanted. Sage tries for her Aunt and Uncle's sake to behave but doesn't quite succeed. The matchmaker offers her an apprenticeship instead. Sage's observation skills and people skills quickly make her invaluable. The qualified brides are given a military excort to the Concordium and Sage is brought along to assist the matchmaker. She soon begins to fall for the military spy, Ash. No one in this marriage mishmash is who they seem and nothing is as it seems as a plot to dethrone the crown unfolds from an unexpected source. Sage and Ash open up to each other, find love together and save a prince, the brides, and the entire kingdom with courage, intelligence, and personal sacrifice.
This book has many turns and unexpected revelations. The characters are well written and have traits that make them relatable. The heroes are heroes and the villains are downright wicked. A thirst for power is a primary theme, and the destructive effect that such a hunger creates on an individual as well as the negative effects to an overall population are presented intelligently and honestly. The story could be preachy given how strongly the thme is presented, but it stays true and significant. Sage and Ash are noble, courageous, selfless people, and the way that they treat each other, their friends, and their duties is examplary. They are terrific role models for anyone. Sage, Alex, and their associates are well rounded with insights given occasionally into how they became the people that the are. This lends credibility to them and to their actions and feelings. This is one of the most enjoyable books in the market!
*Contains moderate violence and mild sexual content.