After reading the first book, I was hooked! This book picks up right where it left off and the reader is swept away by emotions, a brewing war and a marriage!I really enjoyed the feel of the book. It was like me stepping through a portal of time, watching everything unfold before my eyes. Alera is going through some tough times and major changes. I really like how in this book she dealt with everything. She takes her new position as queen every seriously, even going as far as standing up to her overbearing dad. The reader can feel Alera emotions so well through the wonderful writing of Ms. Kulver. At times, the emotions are dripping off the page that you just want to drown in it. The feeling of being in Alera shoe's is a once in a lifetime feeling. Now, the love interest gets a little complicated. There is no real love triangle going on physically but the reader is left with the aching feeling of emptiness in Alera's heart. The longing she felt and the duty she is bound to left the reader's heart aching. Alear long for some freedom, long for the love that she wanted and needed. I admire her strength to do the right thing in the line of duty. That has got to be one of the toughest position to be in. To love from afar, all cause you must keep your word.If you want a heart wrenching, writing explosion of emotions, war, and fighting, read this book. The detailing of the time and place takes the reader off to the lands of Hytanica raging the war between right and wrong. In the darkest time, Alera will face the toughest questions. What do you go with? Your heart or your duty?