FORCED TO MARRY THE MAN SWORN TO DESTROY HER KIND
The Dynasty claims to be a veritable paradise, where a multitude of races live in peace and harmony. Everys knows better. The Dynasty has been broken since it was founded, with the human nobility oppressing many of the peoples they've brutally conquered, including her own. As an illegal mage, Everys hides in a rundown corner of the capital city, running her family's electronics repair shop, afraid to risk her life to stand against the injustice. But then she brought to the palace and forced to marry King Narius, the descendant of the tyrant who destroyed her people's homeland, and she realizes this might be the chance she's been waiting for to make things right.
Due to sacred law, Narius must marry to legitimize his reign. Forced to marry for political gain, he cannot marry the woman he actually loves, so he must settle for another. Unfortunately, the young woman he chose seems determined to cause him nothing but trouble, jeopardizing his plans to bring the Dynasty into a more prosperous future.
Thrown together by circumstances they can't control, Everys and Narius must set aside old grudges and painful legacies to forge an uneasy partnership before the Dynasty's enemies destroy everything they hold dear.
The sprawling story that follows turns on faith, surprise alliances, suppressed histories, secret magic and high tech programs, and affecting “talk of destiny and purpose” as Everys—note the name’s similarity to the biblical Esther—must find a way to save her people while helping King Narius navigate the many dangers facing the Dynasty. As the new queen she must deal with the mystery of the fate of her predecessor, the seemingly transactional nature of her relationship with Narius, plus the politics, intrigue, and assassination attempts facing the royalty of any empire that rules through force, all as she faces serious questions of allegiance to a seemingly defeated god. That fascinating element gives Otte’s narrative power, and the details of Everys’s rune writing—and her people’s enduring faith—prove resonant.
The wealth of themes, characters, crises, and intriguing connections to the story of Esther means that, despite brisk scenecraft, the length is epic, with much to keep track of—the story can feel dense when it covers scheming and geopolitics. Still, Otte has created a compelling protagonist whose relationships with both her god and her husband prove rich and rewarding. Seasoned fans of dystopian adventures, especially with underpinnings of biblical allegory, will find much to savor here.
Takeaway: An unexpected queen must save her people, her empire, and her faith in this dystopian epic.
Great for fans of: Jill Williamson’s Kinsman Chronicles, Karen Hancock’s Legends of the Guardian-King series.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A