Andriana and her knight, Ronan, join a team of others set on rescuing the emperor’s twin brother from exile. A surprise attack places Andriana in the hands of her enemies: Sethos, a powerful sorcerer and Keallach, the emperor responsible for imprisoning the man Dri intends to rescue. When Dri witnesses Keallach’s powerful gift and his hunger for companionship with others of her kind, she becomes convinced he can be saved. She blames Sethos’ vile influence for Keallach’s treacherous actions and begins using her abilities as an empath to draw him toward the Maker and the Ailith ways. Her attempt risks everything. To underestimate Keallach could leave Andriana lost to her people forever.
Christian values and beliefs run clearly throughout this tale. Dri agonizes over instances in which her own desires appear to conflict with the Maker’s plans. She receives counsel and prayer from mentors when her thoughts and motives become clouded by anger and frustration.
She and Ronan continue to explore their feelings for one another, but they aren’t able to spend much time together as story events keep them often apart. The rest of the team does discover the relationship and react with fierce condemnation that isn’t really well-resolved. At first the other Ailith and knights are upset and then the issue largely gets forgotten. Other than that, the romantic thread definitely pulls readers through the story. Ronan’s chapters read less smoothly than Andriana’s sections, but the tension between Dri and Keallach will definitely keep readers turning pages.
Though this is the second book in the Remnants series, new readers should be able to follow this story with little trouble. Bergren does a great job filling readers in on past events without slowing the story down too much. Fans of Jill Williamson’s Safe Lands series will enjoy the fast-paced action and revolutionary themes of Bergren’s story.
Keallach uses his ability to manipulate Andrianna into kissing him. It’s clear there’s a strong pull between them that’s got some darkness to it. At one point he seems like he might take advantage of her, but nothing beyond kissing happens.
Andrianna and her friends are part of an elite group called Ailith. Each bears a birthmark and a unique gift bestowed on them by the Maker (God.) Characters pray throughout the story, for protection, guidance, etc. Andrianna learns she can’t depend on her own strength in battle, but that when she calls upon the Maker, she’s protected from sorcery and dark powers of her enemies, the Sheolites.
Battle scenes. Some detailed descriptions of battle injuries.
Keallach gives Andrianna alcoholic drinks that incapacitate her.