Goodreads Plot Synopsis
When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.
My Personal Theory
I think Rielle is the Sun Queen and that Corien or some other angel made her kill Audric making her look evil-the Blood Queen. So that would mean that Elaina is the Blood Queen.
Now onto the Spoilers
Rielle is giving birth with her husband Garver in the room. Eight year old Simon is hiding and comes out when the baby is born. He hates Rielle because he believes she partnered with angels and killed thousands including Audric the Lightbringer, her husband and king. Simon says the well known Sun Queen prayer and Garver says “He knows,” and jumps off the balcony. We learn that Garver and Simon are marques, babies born of humans and angels, and they are hated. Marques also have scars where wings would be on their backs. Rielle gives Simon the baby that’s in a blanket and a necklace that has a winged horse with a woman with streaming dark hair and a sword raised victoriously-it is of Rielle. Simon is on the balcony with the baby when Corien, the angel, comes in and Rielle creates a shield of light around herself. Simon can hear screams of anguish from both Rielle and Corien and as he’s about the teleport to Borsvall, the baby is ripped from his arms.
Rielle’s story is now told two years prior to the prequel. We learn that Princess Runa of Borsvall has been killed. Rielle is with her tutor Tal and she reveals that she accidentally burned her mother and her home when she was four. Since then, her father has been distant and during lightning storms, he locks her in a cage. He and Tal are frightened she’ll lose control again. There’s a scream downstairs and we learn that it is Ludivine causing a distraction so Rielle can join the big race. Her and Audric are sponsored by Odo Laroche. We learn that Rielle is in love with Audric and that Audric is betrothed to his cousin Ludivine to combine their families. While they are racing, Borvallians surround and attack Audric. Rielle accidentally causes some real destruction showing her magical abilities.
1020 years later Elaina, the Dread of Orline, and Harkan are out hunting for rebels. Elaina has a secret skill where her body can heal itself. Elaina has a necklace of Audric the Lightbringer on a winged horse. Elaina’s mother taught her how to hunt and kill and she does so for Lord Arkelion. We discover that Elaina and Harkan are lovers. Elaina has an eleven year old brother named Remy who likes to tell stories. There are girls being abducted in Orline and while on a mission Elaina sees an abduction and tries to stop it but is knocked out. Elaina is given orders by Lord Arkelion to capture the Wolf, an elusive rebel with the Red Crown, and on her return home from a party, the Wolf finds her. Her mother has been taken but it wasn’t the Wolf. He tells her that if she helps him, he will help her find her mother. She agrees. Their mission is to infiltrate Arkelion’s party and while on their mission, they are stopped by the adatrox-an army with black eyes and no emotion. Their leader is Rahzavel. Simon and El go to the pleasure houses to retrieve a girl killing lots of adatrox on the way out. El and Simon fight Rahzavel and push him over the balcony. We learn that the rescued girl is Navi, the princess of Astavar. El stops to get Remy and Harkan but they are being chased by adatrox trying to escape. Harkan risks his life to stall the adatrox while Wolf, El, Remy, and Navi escape. We don’t know if he’s dead.
The King finds out about Rielle’s abilities and wonders if she’s the Blood Queen or the Sun Queen. Hundreds of years prior, Saint Katell fell in love with an angel named Arvaya who prophesied…The Gate will fall. The angels will return and bring ruin to the world. You will know this time by the rise of two human Queens-one of blood and one of light. One with the power to save the world. One with the power to destroy it. Two queens will rise. They will carry the power of the Seven. They will cary your fate in their hands. Two queens will rise.” Saint Katell with the other six saints locked the angels behind the gate. Saint Katell became Queen Katell and although she loved Arvaya the angel, she resisted or so they say. I personally think they had a kid who is a marque.
We learn that after Rielle dies, magic disappeared but many believe magic never existed. We also learn that that El’s father never returned home from the war. El is knocked out and taken to an underground safe house of the Red Crown. She meets a lot of refugees including Hob, a documenter of refugees stories and a young girl who lost her family to the Emperor’s men. Seeing these refugees makes El feel bad about her “job” and she takes Remy and runs away. She goes to an Empire outpost to tell Lord Morbrae where the Wolf and and the refugees of the Red Crown were hiding. When she tied to seduce Morbrae, she has a vision of Celderia where she saw the Emperor of the Undying. When she woke, Simon came and she stabbed Morbrae but he didn’t die. They get out alive but they go back to Red Crown where the adatrox set it on fire. El saves Remy and Navi and gets injured by a blast.
They get to Rinthos where Navi tries to change El’s bandages and El comes clean about her abilities to heal. El tells Navi about her visions when she looked at Morbrae and Remy speculates that the Empires soldiers are angels and not men. One evening El and Navi are talking and El talks about her mother and her necklace. El says her mother says, “This is a relic that’s been in YOUR family for a long time.” (Why would her mother say YOUR family and not OUR family? I think she knows who El is). El also reveals that the horse is a godsbeast called a chavaile. While in Rinthos, their caretaker Camille tells El that women have been abducted by Fidelia. They are rumored to be angel lovers who believe the Emperor and his generals are not men but angels. They hunt to serve them, that they may be raised to glory once the world is conquered and the angels run all. El sneaks out for some answers when she gets dizzy. She notices that women have disappeared. She runs into Rahzavel and Simon and Navi comes to save her. Simon and Rahzavel fight and Navi and El get abducted. El wakes up in a cage and she sees an angel named Zahra who is a wraith. She tells El that El is the last of House Courverie, daughter of the Lightbringer, heir to the throne of Saint Katell, the true queen of Celdaria and the sun queen. Zahra shields El as she rescues Navi and they escape. No one can see Zahra except El but Zahra tells El that she exchanges messages with Simon and she serves the Prophet. When El doesn’t believe her, she lets El see visions. El sees a a birth of a baby and a small boy in the birthing room; a vastness of black full of screams; she watches a woman kneel beside a dismembered, blood-soaked corpse. She wore a suit of black armor and a crimson cloak. The woman moved a pale hand over the corpse knitting it back together. The corpse rises and shouts to the sky. A different man beside her tells her she’s working faster now. The woman had dark hair and a hungry smile and El recognized the woman as herself. She kissed the pale blue eyed man as if their kiss was the only reason she remained standing. The man is the Emperor. Zahra tells El that before he called himself the Emperor he was known as an angel named Corien. Zahra says that Corien failed to accomplish resurrection with Rielle before her fall ruined all their work and he hopes to finish with you-resurrect the angels and seek revenge.
As Rielle does her trials, she hears a voice speak to her. We later find out it’s Corien. Sometimes he helps and encourages her during the trials and sometimes he bates her to do evil. There have been attacks in three lands with dead Celdarian soldiers. Audric thinks this is a sign that Aryava’s prophecy is coming true but the king doesn’t. Rielle and Auric have a sexy moment outside and they are caught by Ludivine’s father. Ludivine confides in Rielle that she knows Rielle loves Audric and encourages a relationship. She takes Rielle to Audric’s healer who turns out to be Garver to get Rielle some contraception. Rile has a dream that she’s sitting on a throne of bones and then has a sexy dream about Corien and is woken up by people poisoning her and abducting her. She wakes up on the top of a mountain where a voice she recognizes pushes her off the cliff. She is rescued by a godsbeast/chavaile. It turns out to be Ludivine’s father and Rielle tries to strangle him but they stop her. After the attempted murder, the king banished Ludivine’s father to his home and told Rielle she did not need to continue the trials. Rielle and her father share a nice father daughter moment. Rielle insists on continuing the trials because the last is fire and she wants to prove that she can control it even tho she burned her mother to death. Rielle and Audric have sex and she tells him she used contraception.
Simon takes El back to a cabin to find Hob, Navi, and Remy. Navi’s head is shaved and she has strange markings on her body. Zahra tells El that the Emperor has done lots of experiments and manipulation of what he calls genetics. He’s trying to resurrect. He can’t use empirium which I believe only the sun and blood queen can use. Corien is taking girls and experimenting on them to turn them into monsters called Crawlers and an army of them is on their way to Astavar. Zahra cannot read Simon’s thoughts. Simon tells El that the Prophet told him at El is the sun queen and daughter of Rielle and Audric and was ordered to find her. When he observed her healing powers he vowed to protect her. As they are talking, Rahzavel returns. El gets Hob, Remy, and Navi and leaves Simon to fight Rahzavel. While in the forest, Navi’s brother Malik rescues them to take them to Astavar. El tells him to take Hob, Remy, and Hob while she rescues Simon.
Rielle is in her fire trial and it’s a maze and she must rescue Tal before he burns. As she is rescuing him, she hears screams and spectators dead bodies by the hands of Ludivine’s land. Corien is controlling the soldiers and telling Rielle that if she doesn’t go with him, he will kill more. (Voldemort, anyone?) Reille tries to save Audric and Ludivine but Ludivine falls to her death. Rielle finds her father, the king, and Ludivine’s father in a cave and her father is happy to see her but Rielle realizes Corien is controlling him. Ludivine’s father says, “I didn’t mean for this to happen.” (Ooh, what did he do? Open the gate?) Rielle’s father jumps to attack Corien but he magically stops him and kills him. Rielle gets angry and uses all her power to stop Corien which she does but kills Ludivine’s father and the king. She does not tell Audric that she accidentally killed his father. As she was being canonized, Ludivine steps out of the crowd. She tells the crowd that the Sun Queen can resurrect the dead and she resurrected Ludivine. Ludivine tells Rielle and Audric that Ludivine died a couple of years ago when she got sick and was inhabited by an angel. Faux Ludivine has followed Rielle since she was a child and was sent to protect her. She says that the gate is falling and some angels have escaped. She says the more it weakens you will see terrible disasters. Corien is the strongest and the first to escape and has also been watching Rielle for 13 years. Faux Ludivine tells Rielle not to tell Audric about his father with her mind. She also tell them that since she’s been in Ludivine’s body, she will stop growing (I’m theorizing that Ludivine is the Prophet). The trio then go to the gate to access the damage.
El finds Simon in a boat and kills Rahzavel. When they try to escape, they are attacked by the Crawlers in particular her mother, Rozen. Rozen pleaded with El to kill her and she does. Her anger awakened her power and a voice, presumably Corien, spoke to her saying that she can’t hide from him now. As she went limp, lightening strikes and blasts the crawlers and turned the icebergs into flames. The sea turned into a whirlpool that sucked the Empires ships underwater and snapped them in two. She doesn’t know how to stop it. When she awakens, Simon gives her the necklace and a piece of her baby blanket and he tells her the necklace was a gift from King Ilmaire of Borsvall and it was meant to be a message for him but he doesn’t elaborate. She asks Simon if he’s a marque but she says that he isn’t anymore because the force of Rielle’s death threw the entire world out of alignment. Many things to not look as they once did. And whatever proof that was left on his flesh, the Prophet made sure to eradicate it. Simon and El are about to make out when they are interrupted. Remy theorizes that since El’s power was stifled, it got out by healing her. It ends with El ready to gather the kings to fight the emperor.