Queen Rielle, pushed away from everything she loves, turns to Corien and his promises of glory. Meanwhile, whispers from the empirium slowly drive her mad, urging her to open the Gate. In the future, Eliana arrives in the Empire’s capital as a broken shell of herself. Betrayed and abandoned, she fights to keep her power at bay—and away from Corien, who will stop at nothing to travel back in time to Rielle, even if that means destroying her daughter. But when the mysterious Prophet reveals themselves at last, everything changes, giving Rielle and Eliana a second chance for salvation—or the destruction their world has been dreading.
I am once again torn by Rielle’s character and her arc throughout the course of this series. I hated her in the last book and honestly didn’t think she deserved any kind of redemption but the way her storyline played out in this finale surprised me but also left me feeling satisfied. She made a decision at a crucial point in time and finally was able to free herself from Corien’s grasp and see clearly for the first time in a while. She definitely succumbed to the temptation of her powers and did evil things but looking back she definitely was coerced for the majority of the time and she paid the price for it eventually giving up a future with her daughter.
Eliana again I enjoyed her plotline so much more than her mothers. She is definitely put through the ringer in this book, having to endure that torture from Corien for months and months. She has so much put on her shoulders and in the end has to blindly follow the words from a mysterious prophet to stop herself from going mad. Her strength and stoicism is really displayed and her loyalty and trust wavered so much that I was just gripped.
Simon really put me through it. From his betrayal in the last book and then being witness to the brutality that is being given to Eliana day in and day out and not reaching out to help her whatsoever really killed me. For a good majority of the book I was doubting him heavily and really thought he was completely on Corien’s side. It was the introduction of the prophet that made me pause and think maybe… and thankfully I was right! His character and the way he had to fool everyone in order to eventually save Eliana was a stroke of mastery. I really didn’t want to hate him and I was glad he got to have a bit of happiness before sending Eliana back.
There were a few twists that I predicted and there were many that took me by surprise. This book really blew open all of the storylines and wove them all back together so wonderfully. We learnt so much more about the Empirium and how it affects Rielle and why she was such a loose cannon, how seductive and all encompassing it is. I loved how the two timelines merged in the end and we see how much effect Eliana had on her mother after their failed attempt earlier in the series. The ending was just so satisfying and not the fairy tale I was expecting which was pleasantly surprising!
⭐️5/5 This was just perfection!