The despicable King of Brigant is stirring up trouble with the neighboring kingdoms and employs his son, Boris, do the bulk of his dirty work. They torture and kill anyone who might interfere. The King arranges the political marriage of his only daughter, Catherine, to the Prince of Pitoria, supposedly securing peace in the process. But diversions, betrayals, assassinations, and invasions abound and all because of demon smoke. The fierce demons live in the northernmost section of Pitoria along the border of Brigant. When a demon is killed, a smoke – perhaps their soul – escapes and is bottled. The smoke is inhaled to induce a euphoria of sorts. It is illegal to hunt demons and trade in demon smoke but the story opens with young, swift Tash teaming with huge Gravell to lure demons to their death.
This ensemble novel of the five central characters is brilliantly written and immediately captivates the reader. Each chapter is told from one of the five central character’s point of view:
Catherine – the most refined, resourceful, brave and intelligent of princesses. Ambrose – Catherine’s most loyal guard, risking everything to keep her safe. March – the Abask servant to the Prince of Calidor, who may or may not have been led astray in dealings with Edyon. Edyon – the newly discovered illegitimate son of the Prince of Calidor. Tash – the wise-cracking, boot-loving, young demon hunter who has fun with her dangerous occupation.
Tash is fun to read, especially her interactions with her big burly partner, Gravell. All of the characters are either good or bad, none fit in the gray range – at least not yet. Not nearly as the dark as the spectacular Half Bad Trilogy. The first book in this series is a fast-paced, political fantasy, filled with entertaining characters and action galore and I am eager for the next in the series. Highly recommend!
eGalley review Publication date 5.1.18