In the Realm there are whispers. Whispers that the city used to be a different place. That before the Queen ruled there was a sky beyond the clouds and a world beyond their streets.
Vaun Dray Fen never knew that world. Born a prince without a purpose in a Realm ruled by lavish indulgence, unrelenting greed, and vicious hierarchy, he never knew a time before the Queen's dust drugged the city. Everything is poisoned to distract and dull the senses, even the tea and pastries. And yet, after more than a century, his own magic is beginning to wake. The beautiful veneer of the Realm is cracking. Those who would defy the Queen turn their eyes to Vaun, and the dust saturating the Realm.
From the carnivorous pixies in the shadows to the wolves in the streets, Vaun thought he knew all the dangers of his city. But when whispers of treason bring down the fury of the Queen, he'll have to race to save the lives and souls of those he loves.
Low's debut is a valiant attempt to create a new magical world, but a lack of character depth and too many hints at unexplained backstories make the resolution unsatisfying. The rigidly hierarchical society of the Realm is powered by magic dust from carnivorous pixies, which is strictly controlled by the mysterious queen. The noble families of the High spend most of their time absorbing the dust, the lower classes in the Main use it as recreation, and the servants in the Low crave it. The hedonistic Prince Vaun Dray Fen has never known any other way of life, but when dangerous counterfeit dust begins flooding the realm, turning those who ingest it into violent cannibals, he must shake the habits of a lifetime to discover the secrets of his friends and family. The shifts in point of view give some characters importance that they don't earn, and the absence of the queen from the narrative leaves holes that the other characters do not fill. The missed opportunities outweigh the promising prose.