In a fantasy/murder mystery mashup, sixteen-year-old Prince Jared finds himself inheriting a princedom at the death of his elder brother, Prince Anders. He’s not ready to rule and much less ready for the decisions he’s called on to make as his cousin, the Captain of the Guard, investigates his brother’s murder. Despite what seems like obvious evidence, Prince Jared listens to the new Physician’s apprentice, a girl named Asta, when she tries to convince him that the suspected murderer is just a ploy for the real killer. As Prince Jared and Asta team up to find the true killers, more and more of the Council of Twelve come under suspicion as there are more deaths and seemingly neatly tied motives. Can they find the real culprit before the entire princedom of Archenfield is plunged into war and chaos?
Not your typical fantasy book, but full of drama, intrigue and a whodunit murder mystery. More for middle grade readers despite some sexual references and crime scene investigative descriptions (love, babies, affairs). However, I did not love this book. I was vaguely bored by the various hours and council positions, and just did not like the characters enough. This was definitely more plot-driven. Doesn’t mean I won’t be reading the second book! I especially did not like Jared’s family except possibly his girl-cousin, who dropped off the face of the book despite being introduced as an interesting character. Too much was going on and not enough connections to the main character to really make you feel what was happening.
Nevermind my opinions though; read for yourself!