Published by All Night Reads on April 8th 2013
Seventeen-year-old Ciardis Vane grew up in a small village on the edge of the realm. Beautiful, destitute, and desperate she is looking to get out anyway she can. She has worked her whole live as a laundress with no hope of escaping her fate anytime soon.
But then her life changes when a strange woman appears with the key to Ciardis' escape. With an offer to take her to the capital and a life she'd never dreamed of, it's hard to resist. There's only one catch.
She wants Ciardis to become a companion: she'll be required to wear expensive dresses, learn to conduct suitable magic, educate herself oncourt proclivities, and - in the end - chain herself to the highestbidder. A Patron for life.
This is a book that I loved until I didn’t.
The beginning of the story drew me in quickly.Â I loved the writing and the story of a girl who is discovered in the laundry and trained to be a courtesan.
She is the last of a family of powerful mages.Â She has the ability to amplify the magic of anyone else.Â This is very attractive in a companion.Â Companions are chosen for life.Â The Patron may go through multiple marriages but companions stay by their side as business partners and sometimes as romantic partners.Â Ciardis peaks the interest of both men and women interested in her powers.
Then, about halfway through the story, it started to lag.Â It started slipping into too many tropes for my liking.Â The Prince is in disguise!Â Ciardis doesn’t realize how powerful she is!Â There are evil people advising the King!Â Any of these could be worked into a good story but this book didn’t seem to go deep enough.Â It was like it was hitting the highlights of what should be in a fantasy book.
I did like the fact that there was no romance in this book.Â That is a nice change of pace.Â I have a feeling that it will change in future books but it was nice for now.
I am still intrigued enough in the overall story to give the next book a try.Â The reviews on Goodreads suggest that it is better than the first one.Â So far there are nine books in this series.Â I can’t imagine where this could be going that requires that many but I’m willing to be surprised.