Synopsis: A Princess of privilege, torn between duty and desire...
In the land of the Five Realms, home of the Kaels, political dissidence boils beneath the surface. Headstrong Princess Neala is the daughter of Riona the First, Queen of Kaels, a mystical race with command of the five elements, and second in line for the throne. She lives a life of ease but wants nothing more than to be seen for who she is and not as a pawn in her mother’s political games. When civil war breaks out, ravaging her homeland, Princess Neala is determined to unify the realms using her command of the elements and knowledge of the enemy that she alone possesses. Torn between her mother’s commands and her deepest desires, can she maintain her resolve and rise up against the dark alliances that threaten her life and her kingdom?
Clean Read suitable for most ages.
My Thoughts: I did enjoy this fantasy read, and will probably read the next books in the series. Naela is a very relatable princess, in that she is kind of an innocent trouble maker. I laugh every time she is described as rebellious, usually because she sneaks off, intentionally loses her guard, and is a typical teenager wanting some alone time.
It's really hard to review this book without giving too much away, because there are some unexpected twists and turns early in the story line that I want to talk about, but they will color the reader's view of the story. Needless to say, it is far more interesting than the synopsis suggests! There is romance, intrigue, espionage, and drama, but it is beautifully woven around Naela's perspective, which begins simple and innocent, and grows into a more complex emotional bang!
I like how the author plays with perception in that some characters that you start out not being big fans of, end up being your favorite as the story goes along, and vice versa. Agh, there is so much more I want to say, but I really don't want to give the story away.
Some cool elements in the story: Paintings that can act as portals, elemental magic that expresses itself in unique ways, a fantasy feel, but Naela rarely wears a dress! (I totally loved the clothes descriptions. I could stand being a princess if I could dress like Neala!) Strong female characters, and a couple of delightful heroes!
I will say that although it is a pretty clean book, there are a couple of scenes of assault and implied torture that might be triggering for any women who have suffered domestic abuse. Still, I am letting my 12 year old read it because it really isn't graphic AT ALL, and will probably mostly serve as a "I shouldn't treat women this way." warning, rather than as a guide or how-to.
Some good, but subtle moral lessons woven throughout which I admired and respected. Someone please read this so we can engage in a great discussion in the comments where we can issue *Spoiler Alerts* Lol!
It appears that the author has The Last Queen: The Book of Kaels Vol. 1 (The Book of Kaels Series) perma-free on amazon, or you can get the paperback for $12.99. Purchase here
Have you read The Last Queen? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!