Thirteen-year-old Briana is the princess of Aldestone; protected by her parents for her entire life, she has focused primarily on the tasks required of her station. Everything changes one fateful night, though, when Briana loses the reality she once knew and discovers long hidden secrets about herself that will change the course of her future. This excellently written story is both emotionally enriching and delightfully entertaining and is highly recommended—especially for newer young adult readers. Please see my full review below!
By: E. S. Christison
Family is an important part of an enriching existence, and true family supersedes a simple blood connection. Thirteen-year-old Briana is a princess, living with her parents and brother in Aldestone where she studies and executes the actions required of her station. However, when an evil nemesis invades the city, Briana’s family is torn from her, forcing her to flee for the survival of both herself and her people. Unsure of what to do next, Briana is rescued by a brave trio of men whose special skills lead Briana to a future she never expected.
The first in its series, this book introduces readers to the land of Predonia and the mysterious Blameless who have covertly protected its people for generations. Acts of true selflessness awaken magical powers in those who put others’ needs before their own, and this is the heart of Briana’s story. There are clear delineations between well-intentioned and unscrupulous characters, painting a world that is complex and fractured while still possessing the ability to be redeemed. As Briana grows closer to those who share her innate values, both she and the reader are drawn to the positivity that comes from a society that treats one another with kindness.
Character development is a critical component of this story; Briana must bond with strangers as she mourns the loss of her childhood and the girl she once was, and she brings the reader along for the ride. While Briana’s overall situation is dire, the narrative spends a great deal of time focusing on Briana’s connection to the people who help her and the positive interactions she experiences. As Briana turns fourteen, the book increases in intensity, including more dramatic action sequences and peril, but deep relationships remain the story’s foundation.
Superb writing and expert world-building keep the pages of this dynamic tale turning from one to the next. Each of the characters has a unique personality and purpose, which enriches the storytelling and connects readers more deeply to the participants in Briana’s life. Like Briana herself, readers are warmly welcomed into the world of the Blameless—a world that is ready to embrace each person’s unique talents while working for the common good. This is an excellent and highly recommended addition to libraries for newer young adult readers and is a compelling introduction to this series.
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