Page count: 480 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars
Date begun: September 28th, 2010
Date finished: October 1st, 2010
WARNING! CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR STORM BORN, THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES!
At the end of the last book in the series, Eugenie Markham, shaman and most-feared killer of faerie and other Otherworld beings, managed to defeat the not very nice King of the Alder Land, and through some trickery from Dorian, King of the Oak Land, became Queen of the now renamed and reshaped Thorn Land. Instead of a lush and medieval rural setting under the Alder King, the land shaped itself to Eugenie's whims and wishes, and is now a warm desert-like land, with cacti and high humidity, very different for all those living there. There is a prophecy that states that the heir to the daughter of the Storm King will wage a devastating war on the humans, and the gentry will defeat them. Eugenie's half-sister is on the run, more than happy to be the one who gives birth to said heir.
So Eugenie has to deal with her newly discovered half-fairy heritage, and that her father wasn't some run of the mill gentry lord, but the most powerful fairy king around, with amazing weather powers. She needs to find her half-sister before said sister gets herself knocked up and proceeds to give birth to some war chief, and she needs to get used to the idea that she is now a Fairy Queen. Kiyo, her half-human boyfriend, is not happy with her growing control of her rather scary weather magic, and the amount of time she has to spend in her Kingdom, which is directly affected by her moods and feelings. But since she IS queen, and discovers that her people are starving, unable to grow crops in their radically changed land, and that several girls have been disappearing, she has no choice but to spend more time in the Otherworld, and get more familiar with her duties. Besides, Kiyo has to spend rather a lot of time with his ex-girlfriend, who is expecting a baby.
Just because her sister is off somewhere willing to bear an heir, does not make Eugenie less desirable as a consort. She still has to fight off gentry who want to rape her, and there are powerful gentry who would like her as their lover, hoping to father the Storm King's successor. One of those men is Dorian, but Eugenie has trouble trusting him after he manipulated her into taking control of the Thorn Land. Yet with Kiyo gone a lot, a bunch of missing girls to find, and weather magic she needs to learn to control, it's hard for her to avoid him.
Things take yet a surprising turn towards the end of this book, and I will be very interested in seeing where Richelle Mead takes the story next. Eugenie, Kiyo and Dorian all continue to develop as interesting characters, and as the love triangle appears to be resolved by the end of this book, I'm pretty certain it's not going to be dragged out over the course of the series. The next book is out in March, and I look forward to reading it.