I can’t give this series enough praise! The characters and world that Cinda Williams Chima has created here is extraordinary. I can’t seem to put it down nor find enough hours in my day to read. Last night I read until my eyes went blurry but I couldn’t stop until I finished this book.
In the last book, Raisa’s mother tried to force her to marry Micah Bayar, the son of the High Wizard, which is totally against the law but the High Wizard seems to have some sort of magical influence over the queen. Luckily, Raisa escaped with the help of Amon Byrne, the son of the Captain of the Queen’s Guard.
Raisa traveled under an assumed name, Rebecca Morley, through horrible conditions with Amon and 8 of his cadets to Oden’s Ford to attend military school. Here’s where I became a little confused. Bear with me while I go on a side trip. Oden’s Ford contains many schools; one for wizards on the other side of the river from the military school, and another school for temple dedicates where students learn music, art and philosophy. What I didn’t quite understand was if Oden’s Ford is the name of the entire campus which includes all of the schools or if it was a town or if it was a small country of its own. I tried following the directions on how each of the characters traveled to Oden’s Ford but I got lost. I cheated and found a map from a spinoff series of the Seven Realms but I’m still confused.
Raisa is the princess heir of the country of Fells which is a mountainous region in the north of the continent. They traveled west through the mountains, past something called Westgate which seemed to guard the west border of the country of Fells yet they entered a swampland called The Fens where a people called Water Walkers live that the author described as part of the Queendom of Fells. They traveled southeast through the swamps to Tamron, the country connected to Fells. There was an abandoned guard house on the border. They then traveled south to Oden’s Ford. Even with the map, I couldn’t figure out if Oden’s Ford is part of Tamron or a country all on its own.
Raisa enrolled as a cadet in Wien House at Oden’s Ford. She may be out of Fells but danger is all around her. Students come from all over the Seven Realms to attend the schools at Oden’s Ford. She knows that Micah Bayar to whom she was almost forced to marry, his twin sister and his two cousins are enrolled in Mystwerk House just across the bridge so she will have to be careful not to run into them. Fortunately, most students who attend Wien House are from the war-torn country of Arden where wizards are viewed as demons so the wizards from Mystwerk rarely cross the bridge to the Wein House side of the river.
What Raisa doesn’t know is that two other unexpected people are at Oden’s Ford. Cat Tyborn and Han Alister aka Cuffs Alister, two street gang lords with whom she had dealings with in Fells. Cat is attending Temple School because Micahs father, Lord Bayar killed all her street gang while searching for Cuffs who took a powerful and illegal amulet from him. The Speaker (priest) from her neighborhood paid for her to attend Temple School because she is so talented at music and because he was helping her escape the same fate as her friends.
Hans was sent to Mystwerk after the clans revealed to him why he wore the silver cuffs on his wrists all his life. He is a powerful wizard descended from the Demon King, a line that no one but the clans knew existed. They had fitted him with magical cuffs when he was an infant to hide his abilities. After they revealed the truth and removed the cuffs, they sent him to Mystwerk to learn magic and help them fight the Wizard Council if it ever comes to a wat between the clans and wizards who hate each other.
Whew! That was a lot of explaining.
Han has to deal with Micah Bayar and dodge his attempts to get the amulet back which by rights belonged to the Demon King and has been outlawed in Fells.
There’s a lot at stake and a lot that can go wrong.
I’m off to read the next book.