I started this with a degree of trepidation -- I've been burned lately by sub-par fantasy novels, and try as I might, I couldn't ignore that when I pulled this up. Thankfully, it took less than a chapter to dispel the trepidation, and not much longer to win me over.
Niri is the Crown Princess and the subject of prophecy. Which is why she's been kidnapped, imprisoned in an idyllic floating island, and had her memory wiped. Or so she's been told by a rescuer. She's really not sure, because, well, that whole memory wipe thing.
Why don't bad guys, misguided people's champions, pranksters, etc. ever learn what prophecy means before trying to defeat it? We're not talking weather forecasting, punditry, or statistical analysis -- we're talking prophecy. It's going to happen. (not really a spoiler, here) Sure, we'd lose out on some good stories if not for this stubborn refusal to pay attention to definition -- or self-deception. And, it needs to be remembered, not every prophecy is going to be interpreted correctly.
Anyway, I need to jump off of that particular rabbit trail . . . her rescuer helps her start to retrieve her memories, as well as to develop magical abilities she didn't know she had (even before the memory wipe), in an effort to confront her kidnapper, fulfill the prophecy and save the kingdom.
The book blurbs give away less than most, and I'm going to try to honor that here, so that's it for plot from me.
I liked the characters -- the King and Queen aren't as useless as most authors would make them, Niri's kid sister is a pretty good character, Love Interest Guy seems pretty decent, too. Niri's allies are great (I wouldn't have minded the snarky one being snarkier). I liked Niri and started rooting for her almost instantly. The villain of the story is believable and fairly sympathetic. Really well-drawn.
The writing is warm and engaging -- it could be better, some of the dialogue is stilted; there are goofs like using "implicated" instead of "implemented" (just a guess, but given context, I'm betting that's what she was going for); commas out of place, someone having a "photo" in a fantasy kingdom -- minor, and relatively rare, goofs. The story and people C. Esther has wrapped around these flubs are entertaining and compelling enough that you shake them off and move on.
This is a fun book -- it could've used a little more polishing, sharpening up some plot points and character beats a little. But it's good enough as it is to recommend it. Fun, a little out of the norm, with a satisfying conclusion. That's good enough for me. Check this one out.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. Honest, not punctual. Really sorry for the delay, C. Esther.