Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow…
But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still only human, and no matter how strong or good they are, the threat of danger always looms.
Because the queen’s position is so precarious, young women are specially chosen to train as her heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Meanwhile, the disgraced champion Ven has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. When Daleina and Ven join forces, they embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land…before it’s bathed in blood.
The plot is relatively simple. We start in a village in the trees, because in this world they live in trees. There are spirits everywhere, and if you are strong, you can talk with them. Unfortunately, the spirits don’t like humans. The Queen is supposed to impose her will to keep the spirits from attacking the humans. The Queen though is losing her ability to control the spirits, and they attack the village where Daleina lives. She is able to impose her will to save her family, but the village is destroyed.
Years later Daleina joins a school to learn to speak and control the spirits. Even though she struggles in school, she works hard and shows some aptitude. Some girls get chosen to train with Champions to possibly be the Queen one day. and who doesn’t want to be Queen? But you can probably guess who will be one day. How will she become Queen though when most of the other girls are better at controlling the spirits than she is?
Daleina is the character we know the most about, but she is the main character of the book. We don’t see her family much either. Daleina does meet some other girls at the school. Two of the girls she makes friends with seem to be normal school girls. They are dedicated to their school work and help each other out.
One though, Daleina meets in the test to get in to the school, and she will walk over anyone to get her way. She will do anything to become Queen. I think the author gets tired of the character, or just decides the girl is of no further use. Trying not to spoil things here, so I’m going to be vague. The girl does something bad, but Daleina is blamed. She selflessly admits it was her, upon hearing Daleina will be tossed out of the school because of this act, and then leaves the school. This came off as very out of character since she had been anything but selfless until then.
Then we have the disgraced Champion. After the destruction of Daleina’s village, he reports back to the Queen. Realizing she is losing control, he threatens to tell the other leaders. She pulls a fast one and has him disgraced and out on the run. The Queen has many other instances where this Champion knows she is acting to protect herself, and to try and keep others from finding out she is losing control of the Spirits. In one particular moment, the moment where I quit the book, the Queen sets the Champion up again and somehow he doesn’t see it until she pulls the trap.
This is written like it’s supposed to be plot-driven, but you can guess what will happen. The twists come from acts, that seem out of character. These moments pull you out of the story. This is probably an unpopular opinion since most reviews I heard about this book were great. I was excited to read the book finally but then had these moments pull me out of the book. This is one series I won’t be continuing.