When Jude was seven years old, her life and those of her sisters, were irrevocably changed. Lord Madoc, the Faerie King’s general, showed up on their doorstep, intent on claiming back his long-lost heir and Jude and Taryn’s parents were murdered as a result. Madoc took them and his daughter Vivienne to Elfhame, where they were all raised as part of his household.
Most humans in Elfhame are servants (or even slaves) be-glamoured not to realise that they’re trapped in a magical realm. That Madoc has demanded that Jude and Taryn be raised alongside the children of the Fae, and treated as his own kin, is highly unusual. Vivi, his actual daughter, still does her best to provoke and oppose her father and scoff at Faerie traditions as much as she can. The twins, on the other hand, always so very aware of their otherness, do their best to fit in and adapt. Ten years after the death of their parents, Jude is wanting to fight in the trials to prove herself worthy to become a knight, while Taryn wants to find a faerie lord to marry. Vivi, on the other hand, keeps sneaking off to the mortal realm and has a human girlfriend who she’s keeping secret from Madoc and her stepmother.
While many of the Faerie youths that Jude and Taryn are educated alongside are happy to mostly ignore them, there are others who don’t like humans, and resent that the twins are given such elevated status. They take extra pleasure in torturing them and making their lives difficult. Chief among these are Cardan, the High King’s youngest son, and his little band of hangers-on. When Cardan discovers that Jude wants to compete in the Knight trials, he steps up his harassment. He wants Jude to promise to bow out, and she only becomes more determined to defy him. As Taryn just wants to be left in peace, she keeps trying to persuade her sister to bow to the prince, to no avail. The sisters start growing apart.
Madoc has no intention of allowing Jude to become a knight, he says she’s not ruthless enough. So when Jude gets an offer from one of the older of the High King’s sons, an offer that can help keep her safe from Cardan and some of his more ruthless allies, she accepts, even if it might put her in danger of a different kind. Then there’s an announcement that the High King will step down, and cede the throne to one of his heirs. Will this trigger a power struggle among the King’s children?
Full review on my blog.