Elli is selected to be the next Valatia, the queen of her land who holds an extraordinary amount of power. She must use this power to defend her people against enemy threats. Elli cannot become Valatia, however, until the reigning queen is consumed by her magic and is destroyed. When the queen does die, her magic does not enter Elli. A powerless and therefore useless Valatia, Elli flees the kingdom and hides in the outlands. Here, the lawless barbarians she believes reside in the mountains turn out to be more than the criminals she imagined. Elli must gain their trust in order to find out why the Valatia’s magic did not enter her and save her kingdom from ruin.
File this book under “good, not great”. Based on its premise, I was really excited about it, but the plot can be slow, especially in the beginning. When it does pick up, there’s plenty of action and adventure — even some twists I didn’t expect. I also liked the inclusion of an LGBT love interest. If you’re looking for a new fantasy series with a strong female lead, definitely try this one. Just be ready to hang in for the slow parts.