Sworn to Defiance by Terah Edun

Sworn to Defiance by Terah Edun(Cover picture courtesy of Terah Edun via email.)

Ciardis Weathervane returned to the imperial court of Sandrin to unite her foes. But her efforts hit a stumbling block. The imperial kind. She never thought that before rallying an empire, she’d have to fight the emperor himself.

An imposter sits the throne and the court she turned to for help is in turmoil. Ciardis hasn’t survived assassination attempts, torture and really bad luck to be taken down by her own ruler. So she devises a plan. But first she needs to get Sebastian and Thanar to agree. Each seems to love her in their own way. But neither is listening to her. Pushing them to put aside their differences, in an effort to ward off catastrophe, might be harder than displacing an emperor who would do anything to keep his throne.

Butting heads at court isn’t Ciardis’s only problem. With the princess heir’s threat looming she is forced to travel to the mythical city of Kifar, where it is up to her small group to stop the destruction of the entire city while heading a rebellion that could foment a revolution. It wouldn’t be the first revolution that Algardis has ever known. But with Ciardis Weathervane at its head—it would certainly be the last.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.]

When I realized that this wasn’t the last book in the Courtlight series as I had believed it to be, I’ll admit I got a little nervous.  After all, where could the story possibly go from here?  It seemed like Terah Edun was wrapping things up already in Sworn to Secrecy, the fourth book.  And when there were several pages of backstory right at the beginning I was even more skeptical about this fifth book.

As usual with Terah Edun, my skepticism and anxiousness was for nothing.  After the initial info dump things quickly picked up and just wouldn’t let go.  I had intended to only read a few chapters before bed but once I got past the exposition (which was important) I couldn’t stop and ended up finishing the book at one in the morning.  Yes, the plot was that fast-paced and there were that many awesome twists.  But first I’ll start with the thing that surprised me most: the characters.

Once again the characters surprised me.  Ciardis is finally demanding respect from others and not caring what they think of her (unless they’re trying to kill her).  She’s started to master the commanding air of her mother and is becoming knowledgeable about the intrigues of the Algardis court.  And finally, finally she’s made up her mind about where she stands with Sebastien.  I won’t tell you which way she decided, but let’s just say that I was both surprised and pleased with her stance until the little complication with Thanar was thrown in.  Sebastien too has grown up, even though he’s only sixteen years old.  He’s finally starting to take responsibility as the prince heir and is even more determined to save Algardis from the blutgott that’s threatening to destroy their entire world.  He’ll do whatever it takes, even journey to a city that’s been sealed off from the rest of the world for 50 years.

Once again Terah Edun took the time to expand on her world-building just a little bit more.  We finally learn more about the special connection Ciardis and Sebastien have as well as the rather unfortunate consequences of the Thanar complication coming into play.  This is quite literally the most heart-wrenching, complicated and realistic love triangle you are ever going to see.  I swear it’s not the typical love triangle, mainly because Ciardis is a woman that finally knows her mind but even she can’t control people like Thanar.  I also liked how we finally learn that there may be a way to stop the blutgott but that it’s way more complicated and dangerous than you’d expect.

Basically, I got everything I could have wanted out of this fifth installment in the Courtlight series: romance, character development, a complicated plot and an expanded world.  You really can’t ask for more in a series and after that insane cliffhanger I’m so anxious for Sworn to Ascension, book 6.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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