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336 pages, Kindle Edition
First published March 1, 2016
“Her husband had been summoned to join the king’s army on the battlefield to face the invasion, and her oldest son was a hostage in the king’s army to ensure her husband’s good faith.”Again, I may be too demanding of a reader, but I want to feel this woman’s pain that her husband and her eldest son are in danger and her worry over not knowing what’s going to happen. Instead I get this one sentence explaining why she's so nervous. Wheeler seems to have a habit of telling rather than showing, and this happens multiple times throughout the book.
“The muffin continued to tempt him and he finally succumbed and took a bite. The bread of the muffin was like cake and the seeds crunched a bit when he bit down on them. He had never had this kind before, but it was delicious, and he wolfed it down.”Just to put things into context, these are Owen’s thoughts right after he’s been taken from his family and is scared of the new place he’s going to. He’s thinking more about a muffin he’s eating than he is about his family. Wheeler appears to have a misconception of the intellectual and emotional development that occurs in an 8-year-old child, and this is how he believes children really think. When they are in safety and comfort, perhaps. But when they’re surrounded by strangers and heading into danger?
“He swallowed some tears before they could spill. His throat was thick and tight. He burrowed himself against her. She felt cold. Her hand limply stroked his hair.”Reading that, I felt nothing. And I really should have.
8 year old Owen must fight to survive in the court of Kingfountain. But when new evidence of his father’s betrayal threatens to seal his fate, Owen must win the vengeful king’s favor by proving his worth—through extraordinary means. And only one person can aid his desperate cause: a mysterious woman, dwelling in secrecy, who truly wields power over life, death, and destiny.
"Lady Eleanor sat at the window seat of hr chambers, gently stroking her son's head in her lap."
"Eleanor glided her fingers through the boy's thick hair."
"Kneeling down by Owen's side... She stroked his head."
"She tousled his hair."
"Liona tousled his hair."
"She smiled again and tousled his mousy hair."
"...mussing his hair."
"she said suddenly, tickling his mussy hair."
"She reached out and tousled his hair."
"She lifted her fingers and grazed his hair."