Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.
But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.
Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.
When the Valtia is crowned, the priests go in search of a girl with a certain birthmark, the heir to the throne. It is not a hereditary line, magic chooses it's heir. The heir is known as the Saadella. She only sees the Valtia twice a year during ceremonies. This Saadella, though, wishes for more. She's inquisitive and headstrong. When the Valtia dies a sudden, horrible death, the Saadella is taken to ceremonial chambers where the magic enters her body. But something goes wrong and it doesn't happen like its supposed to.
After willingly being tortured to bring the magic forward in her, the new Valtia is ushered by her maid to run. The next brand of torture isn't going to be torture, it's going to be death. Saadella, dropping that name and taking her real name of Elli, manages to get away and run.
She's caught in a trap of some sort but is rescued, rather unwillingly, by Oskar, one of the banished rebels living in the mines. She learns of this community that takes care of each other, that have magic when no one but priests and the queen should have it. She makes friends, but of course it can't last.
Though a little slow to start, a little slow for me to understand what all was going, I ended up enjoying this book. I liked Ellie and the way she never stopped asking questions. I felt like we should have had a little more back story to begin with, but it tied pretty well together in the end. I can't wait to find out what happens next.