Series: Aurelia #1
Author: Anne Osterlund
SummaryAurelia Lauzon is the next in line for the throne of Tyralt. Though she loves her kingdom and her people, the last thing Aurelia wants is to be forced into a political marriage and kept in the castle. She doesn't like the court games and the rules that come with being a royal, she would much rather be free to travel the kingdom.
It's clear that Aurelia is destined to be a great ruler, especially to her childhood friend and son of the king's former spy, Robert Vantauge. It has been four years since he last saw Aurelia and he moved with his family to the frontier, and though he is glad to see his friend again, his visit is more than just a chance to catch up. Someone is trying to kill Aurelia, and Robert has been assigned to investigate who is responsible, all while keeping Aurelia ignorant of the danger she's in. But Aurelia isn't one to sit around and let someone else solve her problems, and she will risk a lot to help Robert uncover who is determined to kill her.
My ImpressionAurelia is definitely a character I felt I could connect with. She is clearly strong-willed and has her own opinions how to best run Tyralt, ones that sometimes stray from tradition. She is not afraid to defend her people and she is wants to be able to understand them. As the book goes along, it is nice to see that Aurelia's confidence and will is somewhat bravado, and that she has to put on a facade to hide her insecurities and self-doubt. I liked being able to see the multiple dimensions of Aurelia's character, and how she makes the best of her role as Tyralt's future leader, even when parts of it don't appeal to her.
This book follows both Robert and Aurelia, alternating between the two characters so the reader knows things that one of the other characters may not know. I liked the alternating perspectives because it added to the depth of both characters. At the same time, since both characters had no idea who is trying to have Aurelia killed, there was still plenty of suspense as Aurelia and Robert work together, and occasionally alone, to catch the murderer before they succeed.
I also like that the mystery is pretty tangled. Robert and Aurelia have multiple suspects for who might be the one trying to kill Aurelia, but I wasn't able to guess who was really behind the entire thing until Robert and Aurelia did. I liked that I was kept guessing and that I didn't feel like the characters were missing the obvious.
Though I really liked getting to know the characters and the suspense of the attempted assassinations, I wanted a bit more action to really go off of. The main villain is faceless until the very end, and there were only a few moments in the book where I was really on the edge of my seat. I would have liked to see a bit more of the dark side of the politics in Tyralt, as well as more about the mysterious Outer Realms, which Tyralt refuses to accept immigrants from. Very little is said about the places outside of Tyralt and their relationship with Tyralt's king.