A young seamstress and a royal nursemaid find themselves at the center of an epic power struggle in this stunning young-adult debut.
On the eve of Princess Sophia’s wedding, the Scandinavian city of Skyggehavn prepares to fete the occasion with a sumptuous display of riches: brocade and satin and jewels, feasts of sugar fruit and sweet spiced wine. Yet beneath the veneer of celebration, a shiver of darkness creeps through the palace halls. A mysterious illness plagues the royal family, threatening the lives of the throne’s heirs, and a courtier’s wolfish hunger for the king’s favors sets a devious plot in motion.
Here in the palace at Skyggehavn, things are seldom as they seem — and when a single errant prick of a needle sets off a series of events that will alter the course of history, the fates of seamstress Ava Bingen and mute nursemaid Midi Sorte become irrevocably intertwined with that of mad Queen Isabel. As they navigate a tangled web of palace intrigue, power-lust, and deception, Ava and Midi must carve out their own survival any way they can.
Can we just say, this is BORDERLINE YA. I am going to say not YA at all, like maybe not for middle schoolers, or even high schoolers?? Mildly disturbing, violence against women, and general grossness of historical fiction.
Originality: 9. Super unique setting, story telling characters, and never-ending twists of power in a historical kingdom. Even the format of the book was unique, with section page designs, red page edges, and fairy tale interludes.
Absurdity: 10. Really nutty over all. Kinda like Survivor meets Historical Fiction in a race for power. Am I making it clear how crazy I thought this book was?
Level of Harry-Potterness: 7. Overall, this book was just DIFFERENT. I cant say that I liked the characters, or the story, but I COULD NOT STOP. At times grossed out, but still unable to put it down and compelled to finish. I guess that is one way to identify a good story, eh?
If you are looking for a detailed, compelling story that is gothic and dark, go for it. You will not be dissapointed.