Published: 9 May 2017
Category: Fantasy/Young Adult/Romance
An obstinate girl who will not be married.
A soldier desperate to prove himself.
A kingdom on the brink of war.
With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.
As the girls’ military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.
Rating: 1 Star
The cover for this book was very lovely and drew me to it at first, plus the description promising a girl who refused to be married and was a spy of sorts? That sounded like it would be pretty interesting, combined with the fact that this girl’s country is apparently on the brink of war. However, once I got to reading it, I found that it boring, dull, and had story lines that didn’t make sense.
Let’s start with Sage. She’s the main female character, meant to be this strong person who is a spy for the matchmaker, enabling the woman to make stronger matches. However, the time jump between when she meets the matchmaker (as a candidate herself, which does NOT go well) and 5 months later when she’s into her apprenticeship is quite awkward. When she’s sent away from the initial meeting with Darnessa the Matchmaker, she’s given the task to observe a visitor to her uncle’s home to gauge her aptitude. We never find out how she did! One has to assume she did well to get the apprenticeship, but glossing over the whole event felt jarring. Plus, we never find out what Sage’s uncle has to say about the apprenticeship when he was the one pushing for her to get married, not a peep!
Then there’s the matter of espionage. Sage and Darnessa are escorting brides to the Concordium, a big meeting where they’ll be matched. Escorting them are about 30 soldiers and some officers. Among these officers, multiple ones are engaged in using false names and alternate identities; starting early on in the book, this device felt problematic because it wasn’t clear. I understand wanting to be mysterious for the sake of a spy novel, but there’s mysterious and then plain messy. Not being able to keep a story line straight falls into the latter of the two.