When eight sisters are orphaned, two must enter contracts outside the home in order for the others to survive. Karah is taken in by the most prestigious and respected Flower House (think Geisha) in Lonne. Nemienne is apprenticed to a mage in order to learn magecraft and become a mage herself. This book follows their stories and that of a foreign sorcerer, Taudde, who has snuck into the country illegally only a season before his country and the one he enters will likely go to war.
I don’t have a whole lot to say about this book. The story and characters were well-crafted and multi-layered. The pacing was a lot slower than I normally see in YA, which isn’t a negative. It was one of those books, like when I read A Game of Thrones a year ago, that I read over a longer period of time, stopping between each chapter to reflect. I love that. The world was also fascinating, a sort of medieval Europe meets traditional Japan, plus magic and politics and intrigue.
The only negative for me was that the last few chapters felt a little expository, using long drawn-out conversations to convey the thousand fall-outs from the climax. I felt like it might have been pared down a bit, but not by a lot. For the most part, it still flowed well and didn’t detract from the rest of the story. And, I admit, I did love seeing everyone’s outcomes.
Good book. This is the first I’ve read by Neumeier, and I think I need to check out some of her other novels now (both YA and adult).