Torn between loyalty and love, a young prince will learn how much he’s willing to sacrifice as he tries to destroy the rebellion that threatens his throne in this exhilarating sequel to Bonds of Brass.
Gal’s destiny has always been clear: complete his training at the military academy, prove his worth as a royal successor, and ascend to the galactic throne. When a failed assassination plot against Gal sends him and Ettian—his infuriatingly enticing roommate—on a mad dash through the stars, Gal’s plans are momentarily disrupted. But he was born to rule the Umber Empire, and with Ettian by his side, nothing will stop him from returning home and crushing the growing insurgency threatening his family’s power.
But nothing is ever that simple in war—or in love. Gal is captured by the rebellion during a skirmish and faces public execution, his grand fate cut short. To save Gal’s life, Ettian does the unthinkable: he reveals himself as the secret heir to the fallen Archon Empire and rightful leader of the rebellion . . . and, therefore, Gal’s sworn enemy. Now a political hostage in this newly-reignited conflict, Gal must use his limited resources to sabotage the rebellion from within, concoct an escape plan, and return to the empire he’s destined to lead. And if that means taking down the man he thought he loved?
All the better.
I was lukewarm about this book at first, which surprised me given how much I loved the first book. I chalked it up to the POV change and the aftermath of the twist ending of the first. I even worried I would have to put it down due to just disliking Gal.
However, I can now say that I absolutely love Gal and I love this book. SO much. Seriously. I’m not sure I’ve ever met a character quite as scheming and conniving as Gal is, nor one so wholeheartedly dedicated to playing a part. If that part changes as the story progresses, well, that’s just character development happening to him as his head catches up with his heart. I feel for him, I really do.
The painful beginning was necessary for letting us get inside Gal’s head and really understand his emotions and motivations. By the end I was rooting for him to get what he has finally realized he wants.
And that ending!! I’m not sure anyone can top Emily Skrutskie’s endings. Whew. I can’t wait for the third book! And someone please tell Emily Skrutskie that Gal and Ettian and Wen deserve their happy ending?? I honestly have no idea what form it will take to get rival Emperors of a galactic war a happy ending, but just. Happy ending. Please?
And if I could read about Wen going off-script with a mad slap-dash plan and Ettian caring too much and Gal “fed up to here with these two idiots but don’t anyone dare touch them” emp-Umber attempting to manipulate everyone forever I totally would.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine, Del Rey for providing an e-arc for review.