Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.
SHE IS A PRINCESS. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of the nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s captital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelimina means to take back her home.
SHE IS A SPY. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.
SHE IS A THREAT. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.
**********************************************************MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD**************************************************
The story dives straight into the plan of the Ospreys. Wil, the lost queen (she’s thought to have been killed with the rest of her family), and her best friend, Melanie stole some papers with Liadia’s seal of the lion and coast of arms from a crate in the Indigo Kingdom’s paper mill. They stole the papers because they (Wil and Melanie) are going to use the identities of Lady Julianna and her friend to infiltrate the Indigo Kingdom under the pretense of taking shelter there. However, they are just there to dig up information about the wraith, among other things.
The first chapter itself reveals so much. Wil uses magic occasionally and secretly (even when it is prohibited). Melanie doesn’t know about this. What kind of best friend is she exactly? Black Knife is a vigilante against those who use magic. Wil has a thing against him and his pretentious belief that magic is harmful; obviously because she doesn’t think so since she uses her magic in the first chapter.
Besides that, the story was kind of boring besides a few chapters where Black Knife and Wil fight against each other and with each other to protect the kingdom against magic. There was a lot of filler chapters helping us meet characters like Tobiah, whom Wil thinks betrayed her even though she saved his life when he was a kid. I put this book down several times and then came back to it weeks later. I didn’t really enjoy the chapters where Wil had to pretend to be the proper Lady Julianna. She often failed at containing her emotions; which is realistic because you can’t always hide what you feel. She had to converse with Prince Tobiah’s future wife and learn how to stitch which wasn’t all too interesting. However, it really picks up towards the end where Wil starts to question the truth behind her parent’s death, whether Patrick really means well, if she’s willing to kill to become Queen, and the biggest question: is magic really that bad and is Black Knife right? That’s when things pick up and I couldn’t stop reading until I finished the last page.
I enjoyed reading Wil’s character. She’s very independent, strong and isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in even when people don’t support her. She’s against sending the smaller Ospreys on a mission to attain goods because it is dangerous and she doesn’t think they are ready which is an understandable thing. She even stands against Patrick and puts it to a vote. Almost everyone votes against her, even Melanie, her best friend.
She is suspicious of people. She even becomes suspicious of Melanie’s odd behavior and lying as to where she goes after delivering information to Patrick. She follows her and finds out Melanie is lying to her. It’s not that she is not a good friend, but Wil seems like she is a fact checker. She has belief but she’s definitely not blind about it. She’s not afraid to change her beliefs or question them, but she’s also not afraid to stand up for them. She stands up to Patrick time and time again and even gets slapped for it when she angers him. She has a fire inside her and it appears frequently, proving that she will be a great Queen.
Melanie is a little wishy-woshy. It is obvious from the beginning that she likes Patrick and when she starts hiding things from Wil, I began to get anxious. I had a feeling though, that whatever fishy business was going on with Melanie had to do with Patrick. Melanie and Wil’s relationship wasn’t really what I imagined between best friends and it becomes strained very early on into the story. We don’t know who Melanie’s loyalty lies with. Do you choose your love or your friend?
Besides that, I didn’t hate Melanie. I understand her but I often questioned her blind faith in Patrick. Patrick was always right and she didn’t immediately believe it when Wil told her that Patrick had slapped her in a fit of anger. However, Wil and Melanie’s friendship was shown when Wil told Melanie that she wouldn’t hold it against her if Melanie chose to support Patrick and be with him. Melanie chooses Patrick at the end but you can’t really be mad at her. She made a choice and she stuck with it (even from the beginning she was with Patrick). There is an understanding in this friendship and there is no blame-game going on. Wil handles the situation maturely and Melanie makes her decision without much drama. That’s how friendship should be. Honesty in what you think, feel, and a maturity to handle tense situations.
Patrick wasn’t my favorite character. That’s not to say that I didn’t understand where he was coming from. He had a plan and he had taken in Wil and the orphaned Ospreys. He trained them and got them ready to infiltrate the Indigo Kingdom. So, it’s not implausible that he considers himself (the other Ospreys do as well) the leader of the Ospreys and believes he is doing what he believes is right. However, I don’t think hiding things from Wil was such a good idea. He planned to have Prince Tobiah killed so Wil could take the throne. He was ready to take extreme measures to help Wil claim her throne. However, I felt that he was a little misguided. His intentions may be good in the beginning but I feel like his ego and arrogance grew over the years from having the Ospreys look up to him. He decided that he was going to be Wil’s King and partner through marriage without even discussing it with her. Hello! This is marriage here. I think you should have the would-be bride’s consent first.
I think the two or three passages with Wil and Patrick were quite interesting. We finally start to see Wil as a Queen and the other Ospreys start to turn their allegiance towards Wil instead of Patrick. Wil has proven time and time again that she will not stand to be kept in the dark and will stand for what she believes in. Wil’s interactions with each of these characters brought new things to her character. Her self-doubt, confidence, independence, and willing to change her point of view developed by bouncing off of character like Melanie, Patrick, and even Black Knife.
Oh, Black Knife. What can I say about you? I was intrigued by his character instantly but I also dreaded it because it was obvious that a romance was going to bud between him and Wil. If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’ve seen that I haven’t given books 5/5 because the romance aspect of the novel pissed me off so much. However, that isn’t the case in this book. Before I delve into the romance, let me tell you what I liked about Black Knife’s character.
First of all, Wil compares Black Knife and Prince Tobiah often and you can obviously see the difference. Black Knife has a certain righteous to him and is mysterious and enigmatic while Prince Tobiah is always yawning and seems bored. Black Knife was an interesting character on his own. We know from the beginning that he is against magic users and those infested with the wraith or those who use magic just disappear when Black Knife finds him. He’s made quite a name for himself. From the bat, we know that Wil and him have different beliefs. She uses magic and doesn’t like him so much. They both are suspicious of each other. They don’t automatically start trusting each other. When they meet for the second time (the first being at the paper mill when Black Knife kind of saves Wil’s life), they descend into a fight. Both of them keeping knife to knife with each other. There is a curiosity in them. They are enemies but they also start to question their beliefs when they are together.
Black Knife, like Wil, isn’t opposed to changing his views on things, like magic. There is a lot of mistrust on both their parts but their relationship moves slowly to comradeship, to friendship and trust, and then into something more. It didn’t seem unbelievable. I like how their relationship progressed. For most romances I have read, I never understand why two characters were good together. Probably because I never understood why each character was great individually and what they brought out in each other when they are together. Here, we see each character developed individually and also together. Both Wil and Black Knife are strong characters, both physically and mentally. They both are willing to change and accept new ideas. They are constantly growing and learning. Black Knife treats Wil like an equal. He doesn’t treat her differently because she is a girl. There isn’t even any mention of her being weak (not in his eyes).
He doesn’t automatically turn her in or get her arrested when he discovers that she is Lady Julianna (or is at least pretending to be). He spends time with her, observes her, and doesn’t automatically trust her. He lets her actions and his observations of her let him determine whether she is a good or bad person. And he also isn’t afraid to put her down (as in stop her from almost killing the man who was beating up a poor woman) because he stands by his beliefs, as well. He sees her at her worst and fights to stop her but he doesn’t turn her in. He’s not afraid to show her she was wrong and neither is she. They are like two knives colliding against each other. They sharpen each other with each attack. They make each other stronger and better.
So, all in all, read the darn book! It is worth it! It may seem slow at first but it is definitely worth it. The characters are worth it! The romance and story is worth it! And the ending just demands for the next book to be read.
Questions we want answered/Jaw dropping moments:
- Who doesn’t want to know how the wraith turned into a boy and why the boy listens to Wil. What exactly did Wil and her magic do?
- So Prince Tobiah is Black Knife. What???!!!!
- Is Black Knife still alive???!!
- Prince Tobiah is still marrying his fiancée?? (Okay, I guess we need a little heart break in the next book)
- The wraith-possessed scorpion battle was epic!!! (Black Knife and Wil back to back, knife to knife)
“Say it again.” – Melanie
“Prepare to be scandalized. The prince is a terrible swordsman. He sleeps through breakfast almost every day. And once I saw him chew with his mouth open.” -James
“I don’t trust you.”
“I don’t trust you, either.”
“So we don’t move.”
“You may not believe that I have things to do besides chase you around the city, but it’s the truth.”
“Doesn’t change that I don’t trust you.”
“If I dropped my dagger?
“You’d pick it up and throw it at as soon as I retreated.”
“If I handed it to you?
“I’m sure you have more weapons.” -Black Knife & Wil
“…What are you doing?”
“Taking a walk.”
“Most people use the street.”
“Standing on a roof isn’t illegal, is it?” -Black Knife & Wil
“If I were going to fight a steal, it’d be because I had not choice. It would be for survival.” -Wil
“Sure. But if you try to talk to me or ask me anything, I’ll stab you.” -Wil