Summary (from Goodreads):
“Raisa was just a child when she was sold to work as a slave in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father was teaching her to read and write, grooming her to take his place as a Learned One. In Qilara, the Arnathim, like Raisa, are the lowest class, and literacy is a capital offense. What’s more, only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the very highest order language, the language of the gods. So when the tutor-in-training is executed for teaching slaves this sacred language, and Raisa is selected to replace her, Raisa knows any slipup on her part could mean death.
Keeping her secret is hard enough, but the romance that’s been growing between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slave rebels—to help liberate Arnath slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.”
I’m going to apologize in advance because my review for this is basically OMG THIS BOOK IS AMAZING GO READ IT NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW.
First, as you know, books about books and words and the love of same tend to be my favorites.
As you can tell from the synopsis, this is a world where only a tiny handful of people are allowed to be literate. (We won’t even talk about how terrifying that is for me.)
Know what we can talk about? How awesome Raisa is. Her entire motivation is to help people, even when there’s a major risk to herself and her own safety. (Well, that’s her primary motivation. Her secondary motivation is to decode a message given to her by her father—who is now dead—when she was a child. And that is also incredibly dangerous because all writing must be burned.)
So I loved Raisa and I loved Mati (the prince) and oh God, the two of them together. I ship it so hard, guys. So hard. I think I’m a complete sucker for love that cannot be, and is there anything more star-crossed than royalty and servants? Nope.
Plus, best news ever? It’s the first book in a series. I cannot wait for the sequel; you don’t even know.