A banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.
Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.
Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.
But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.
With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?
This book starts off introducing Wil and her family – 3 brothers, a controlling king father, and loving queen mother. Her brothers are all very distinctly different, which I always like – it’s a bit annoying when side characters are all too similar to remember who’s who. Her oldest brother, Owen, is basically the perfect king-to-be. The middle brother, Baren, is a jerk. The youngest brother, Gerdie, is an alchemist and Wil’s best friend. Due to Gerdies’s disability (caused by childhood illness) and Wil’s skills, he employs her to acquire some rare ingredients he needs for his experiments. This is how Wil learns about her power.
Wil finds herself in a life-threatening situation while trying to steal an ingredient for her brother, and when her skin meets her attacker’s he turns to ruby. It is a very painful sounding death, and while I am a bit squeamish about details included in his death, I appreciate the “realness.” It’s not King Midas, where anyone he touches turns immediately and completely into gold, and eventually could come back from it. It spreads from the point of contact, and seems to only affect the parts that are the same color. This solidly kills the affected person.
Wil, of course, freaks out and eventually confides in Gerdie, who just so happened to be working on developing a type of material that, when made into gloves, prevents her touch from hurting people. But Wil eventually finds herself in a position where she takes the gloves off and accidentally kills again. This one is significantly more heartbreaking, and causes her to be banished. From there, Wil sets off on a quest to find the one person in the world she thinks may be able to “cure” her.
I found myself really loving Wil though this book. She’s strong, determined, self-reliant (considering she’s a princess, that’s something), and is willing to put herself out there to help other people. This last one basically is why she gets in trouble for the rest of the book, but no spoilers. 🙂 I always appreciate a book that solidifies a woman as an individual before she becomes romantically involved, and romance really wasn’t the focus of the book. It was great. I mean, it’s obvious it’s going to happen, but not yet.
And lastly, this world sounds pretty cool. It’s medieval meets technology. Kings and queens and peasants, but with data goggles that can list the elements that compose whatever they’re looking at. Really sophisticated sounding ship steering systems (like autopilot type stuff), and stone castles. It was an interesting mix, and it worked well.
Have you read The Glass Spare? What did you think? What are your favorite myth/fairy-tale retellings?