In a world of books surrounding the fae, this one definitely stands out for all the right reasons! I loved the premise, the characters, and the worldbuilding - it was so well done that I felt like I knew everything I needed to as I read through the story. There weren't any holes that you often find in the first book of a series, where you're not understanding the political structure of the fantasy society or why people behave the way they do. Instead everything was clearly laid out over time, so the reader isn't overwhelmed by detail but gets just enough to satisfy their curiosity. The romance was part of the story, but what fascinated me the most was the mystery behind what happened to the heroine's brother. There were many twists and turns in the story, and I could tell as I met new characters that it wasn't going to be simple. The author's note in the beginning was a particularly wonderful treat and prepped me well for the story ahead.
Grace Richardson is determined to find out what happened to her brother in the Upper Realm. Left with no clues, not even a body to bury, her family was devastated. Now taking matters into her own hands has become a necessity, and to find the truth, she must venture in the world of the fae disguised as one of them. What she doesn't anticipate is the fae soldier who discovers her true identity and decides to help her in her quest. Aiden is a mystery to Grace but soon becomes an asset to her cause as they move through the treacherous waters of fae politics. Nothing is as it seems, not even Aiden himself, and secrets abound that, when they come to light, could alter Grace's world forever.
Grace and Aiden were characters I immediately took a liking to, with Grace's stubborn determination and Aiden's unabashed good humor. Although Grace had a few moments where her temper got the better of her, she was quite mature for her age and was able to hold her own among many people of power. Some underestimated her, which she used to her advantage, and I smiled often as she managed to succeed in near impossible situations. Aiden was a hero that was easy to love, with his clever mind and kind attitude, and his support for Grace made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It was difficult for Grace to focus on her mission as they grew closer, and I couldn't blame her - Aiden and the comforts he brought to her were a temptation difficult to resist, given the poverty she lived in before. The politics of the fae and human worlds were fascinating to me, and I loved how Grace's perspective on the fae society changed the more she was in it. As in reality, the "other" is always demonized from afar, and it's only when you get closer that you realize that they are not so different from you.
The book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I'm anxious to read what happens next for Grace and Aiden. Fingers crossed I won't have to wait long!
**I received a free copy from the author and this is my honest review.**