Princess Fiamma is the girl with the serpent tattoos, born to guard the Book of Tongues, a magical text nobody living knows how to read.
Raised in royal privilege, it’s a shock when the Citadel comes under attack and Fiamma is forced to flee in disguise with the Book of Tongues. Her only companion is Hurth, a handsome but surly soldier who doesn’t bother to hide his contempt for a ‘spoilt princess’.
A time when reading is forbidden, and books are dangerous
Fiamma may be spoilt but she knows her duty. She must not allow the Book to fall into the evil hands of the Spellworker, whose powerful magic can kill with a single word.
A perilous journey through occupied territories
Together, she and Hurth must search for a mysterious place where the Book has always been taken in times of danger. But worse than Hurth’s disdain and the hardships of the journey are her own deepest fears about the Book, which has started whispering to her in the night, teaching her how to read it ...
Is the Book turning her into a Spellworker too?
As she faces her destiny, and learns the true meaning of the serpent tattoos she bears, Fiamma has to decide how far she'll go to protect the Book's secrets.
Fiamma is bound to protect the Book of Tongues; and when her home is attacked, she has to take it to the distant Weralph Isles for any hope to protect it.
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Princess Fiamma is sixteen years old, and after the recent death of her father, she is the rightful ruler of Estta. But her people are under attack, and she will never be crowned queen.
Their old enemy, the Norda, with the help of a powerful Spellworker, overrun the Citadel. With their soldiers dying and people hiding in the caves, Fiamma is entrusted with a mission. She has to take the Book of Tongues - filled with the forgotten language of magic - to the Weralph Islands; out of the reach of the Norda.
Aiding her is Hurth, the son of the Captain.
I really enjoyed this magical adventure.
I really liked Fiamma, I thought her character was very believable. She doesn't consider herself girly - she always wears trousers, loves to climb, hates having to be a courtly lady - but she quickly learns how pampered and sheltered she is.
Travelling through the mountains, she tires easily, gets blisters; and had no thought towards food or water rations (it's good Hurth is there!).
You get to follow her story, as her eyes are opened to the wider world; and how people are treated under the rule of the Norda. The way women are oppressed, and restricted in what they are allowed to do.
That reading and magic are banned.
As much as Fiamma says she doesn't care about her title, it rankles when she isn't allowed to speak for herself.
I liked the level of romance in this book - although every guy is described as handsome, the romantic plotline is actually very subtle.
Hurth doesn't hide how much he hates the princess, and it's really sweet that the two of them start to trust each other, becoming friends with hints of more.
Fiamma never allows any romantic thoughts to get in the way of her mission. She is totally focussed on getting the book to the Weralph Isles, and getting her answers.
Overall, I enjoyed this introduction to the series, and I can't wait to see what happens next!