Family secrets. Forbidden love. An empire on the brink of collapse.
Mandhi has spent years looking for her lost brother Navran. Their ailing father is near death, and Navran must inherit the title of Heir of Manjur, the descendant of an ancient king and leader of a secret religious sect. More importantly, if Navran returns then Mandhi won't be forced to marry to provide an heir, and will be free to elope with her bodyguard.
But the Navran she finds is not the man she was hoping for. He's a drunkard and a gambler, and he has no interest in his religious duties. Mandhi attempts to reform him---but her efforts are interrupted when agents of the Emperor kidnap Navran. Mandhi must find a way to free her brother and remain with her lover, and what she sets in motion will shake the foundations of the Empire.
I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
In this fictional world of arranged marriages, love, loss, death, and hard-won independence, it is easy to make real-life connections from the plot and the characters. Mandhi is a wonderful female lead, not overly exceptional, but determined and smart.
The storyline if how she attempts to change her brother's wild ways would be considered sweet, except for one thing: she has a self-serving motive for trying to clean up his act. Usually, many would dislike her for that, but that is the reason I love this plot. She is not trying to save him just to be a hero, or to help him live a full life: she wants freedom, and she'll do whatever it takes to get it. I love that. It is a character trait not often found in leads, and it was very welcome here.
This was a fast read, and I find myself wanting to reread it (I don't usually do that).
5/5--a really great book!