Thank you Net-Galley for this ARC.
Princess Kateri lives in Archra, a drought-stricken desert world. Water is severely rationed, there is a two-child limit, and they people of the city are menaced by the Desert Boys, who come into the city to steal their water. The punishment for stealing is to be flung into the arena and forced to choose between two doors: behind one is freedom, the other a tiger.
Kateri is in the middle of battling for her right to rule. She must face suitors in the arena and fight them to prove that she is strong enough to be queen. When her last opponent is announced, she knows she can never win. She flees for her life, running to the desert to ally with the one person she thought she’d never turn to: Cion, the head of the Desert Boys. In the desert, she trains for her life and her right to live. She also learns a terrible truth that turns her world upside down.
Overall, I liked this book. It wasn’t the best and it was very simplistic and a little rushed. The beginning was very hard to get through because the king and his head guard, Rodric, were so incredibly vile. They were over-the-top villains who only needed mustaches to twirl. They weren’t very interesting either, just brutal bullies and they weren’t fun to read about.
Things pick up when Kateri runs to the desert and trains with Cion. I really liked everything to do with the Desert Boys and their lives. While I liked the romance that grew between the two main characters, I did feel it was a little rushed and underdeveloped. If the book was longer, maybe there would have been more time to flesh it out.
If you’re looking for an interesting, quick read about a princess who fights and is smart, then this is the book for you.
Three out of five stars.