Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
“The word is to be prepared. The key will arrive.We must all be ready.”
A conquered kingdom.
A nation on the brink of civil war.
A soldier prince tired of killing.
A lost heir.
And a court full of enemies.
The result? Young Adult fantasy at its finest.
“Surely, fighting for what was right and what one believed in was worth the risk. Because if no one stood up against this tyranny, it would continue until they eventually lost their land, livelihood, and homes.”
Seventeen years ago, Greenwood Island fell and the entire royal family was slaughtered. Or so they thought. The young princess survived, and grew up away from potential dangers, isolated and ignorant of her true heritage, until she crossed paths with Prince Darmik and everything changed. A series of events forced Rema to get engaged to his brother, the despicable Crown Prince Lennek, who chose her as his bride only to upset his brother. Rema ended up locked inside the palace, afraid of her betrothed and the king, trying to decipher the meaning of an important riddle, while Darmik tried to fight his feelings for her and find the rebels who threatened the peace of his kingdom. But some truths are better left hidden...
“You ruin everything you touch.”
What makes a YA fantasy book a good YA fantasy book
-An intriguing story
Do you know when I was certain I would love this book? When I read the first chapter, a chapter narrating how a soldier tried to protect the royal family and swore to the fallen queen he will keep her daughter alive. I got goosebumps and I could hear my loud heartbreat, my hands shook and my breath caught and I knew, I knew I just dived into an unforgettable reading experience. The rest of the story did not disappoint. Sibling rivalries, politics, a brewing uprising, hideous acts, mystery and a huge cliffhanger left me craving for more, and Jennifer Anne Davis managed this without using magic and bloody battles, and it surprised me that I didn't mind at all.
-A good world-building
Even though the structure and the history of Greenwood Island and the Empire were gradually revealed, every necessary information was at your disposal, making you a part of this suffering, broken world, feeling for the poor and wanting to right everything that was wrong. Starting with murdering Lennek and feeding him to the sharks. Which brings me to the next entry.
-A villain that makes you thirsty for his blood (in a non-vampiric but homicidal way)
There are villains you love to hate, villains that cause you a pang of sympathy, Darkling who is a category all by himself, and villains that awaken your violent tendecies and make plotting their death a very satisfactory hobby. Lennek and the King belong to the latest category. If you're scared there's a love triangle rejoice! because there is not. Lennek is the jealous, ruthless brother who doesn't take no for an answer and wants to hurt Darmik however he can, and claiming a girl his brother likes is his sick pleasure. He and his father, two people who care only about their needs but leave their people starve, deserve to die in the most painful way possible. I am more than willing to help.
-A relatable heroine
Rema is not your typical kickass YA heroine who can do nothing wrong and handles a sword like a trained soldier. But she is strong and proud and dedicated to her family and willing to help people in need. There were moments she lost her courage and her faith, and she made mistakes, but those are the exact reasons I could relate to her, and assume I would follow the same course of action in her place. She's realistic.
Even though there was insta-attraction and connection between Rema and Darmik, things between them developed slowly in a burning-your-insides, turning-you-into-goo kind of way, and their moments were so sweet and adorable I couldn't help but puke unicorns. They had a fairytalish vibe I found deeply endearing. They have many things to resolve and trust to rebuild but I fiercely believe they're soulmates and they'll find their happy ending. If not, you know I'm available Darmik baby, right?
(don't judge me, you know I have a thing for tortured but noble princes!)
If you loved Air Awakens, you have to try The Key ASAP!