Every once in a while, I stumble across a book that actually treads new ground; one that is fresh without being weird; one I find myself excited to tell everybody about. This is one of those books.
Someone has murdered Lourdes' parents, making her the new maven of her clan. With the deaths of their rulers, the clan's protectors have turned on them and Lourdes must move quickly to find help. She agrees to marry Rhys, the prince of a feared warrior race. In exchange for the union, Rhys will provide his people to protect hers. And just when it seems Lourdes is pulling everything together, her sister disappears.
Lourdes and her new husband must travel out of her familiar territory to find the missing girl. On the way, she slowly begins to unravel his secrets. Rhys is much more than the cold killer everyone thinks him to be. In fact, he is quite stalwart and vulnerable. Their love story is very satisfying. One of the things I liked so much about it, is that it unfolds in a way that made me believe it. We see them peeling back the layers of armor between them, reveling in the real people beneath. It's really very sweet, without ever being saccharine.
While the love story is a big draw, there is also a solid plot moving the story forward. Lourdes and Rhys are working not only to find her sister, but to figure out who killed her parents and why. The pacing is good; I never found it predictable; and the world building is fascinating. The clan Lourdes leads spins powerful threads from their hands, sort of like spiders. They make virtually unbreakable armor, which grants them great wealth. They are a peaceful people, with unique traditions. And as we learn about them, we pick up bits and pieces about the neighboring clans, each with own ways of life. Trying to condense and summarize it here, doesn't do it justice. But I found myself really wrapped up in it all and I didn't want it to end.
I did get a little confused once or twice, trying to keep the different clans all straight in my head... especially since the words Arandeidae and Araneae are so similar. But don't let the unusual names and terminology intimidate you. The world-building is done really well. The whole thing
is done really well, honestly.
I enjoyed it very much. 4 1/2 stars.*ARC provided by author for review.