SPFBO, Book #3 of 5 on my list
The main focus of the story is around three (3) siblings: Crown Prince Atham, the eldest sibling; Prince Alexius, the bastard son of the High Queen; and Princess Amalia. They are all in a power struggle for the throne as the High King's health is quickly degrading. I did enjoy all of the secrecy and undermining undertaken by the siblings as each has a different outlook on how things should be run. Sort of Game of Thrones-esque as Atham is a bit like Tommen, Alexius is a lot like Joffrey, and Amalia is basically Cersei (and no, I'm not dumb. I realize Cersei is the mother of the other 2 but you would understand had you read TTS). Also, Kanika's marriage to Atham sets off some interesting happenings throughout the book that are enjoyable to watch unfold.
First things first: editing. I know I continue to find myself saying this with almost every self-published novel out there but it continues to be an issue. The only ways a novel can hang with the big dogs are with original, engaging storylines and errorless writing. The chapters in The Tainted Shrine need to be separated and the line ends need to be even. Most chapters began on the same page as the end of a previous chapter. A simple and quick fix.
The Tainted Shrine is a pretty short read (only around 191 pages) and I think that is why I can't give it more praise. There is so much going on that is neither explained or fleshed out and I feel the author could've taken some more time to bulk up the story. There is also a ton of useless asides by the characters during conversations. At some point, it all just becomes fluff. I also wonder how a known assassin could be thrown into a cell without being searched for weapons. Little confused on that one.
I will say that I have enjoyed this one the most so far because I see the potential it has. Flesh out the characters a bit more, add to the storyline giving the reader some background info and some descriptions of how things work, and quicken the pace.