Welcome to the Realm, where magic is your drug, your poison, and your only hope.
An illness is spreading through the city, marking the sick in mysterious letters scrawled across their skin. What is first thought to be madness reveals itself to be an awakening as residents rediscover themselves, their pasts, and their long-forgotten magic… things the Queen wants to remain buried. Things she will sacrifice her own children to suppress.
Mercy has never been a staple of the Realm. Treachery, blood, and magic steeps the city as the rebel leader, Red, seeks to topple the Tower, Princess Fay eyes her mother's throne, and Prince Vaun must decide whether to submit to his mother's terrible demand.
Low's engrossing second fantasy (after Vanity in Dust) returns to the socially stratified Realm, where magic is produced in refineries and the highborn stumble through a world of illusory meals, blank books, and parties. High society, deprived of the amnesia-inducing dust, is finally remembering its true history and power, and Prince Vaun, the youngest child of the remote, totalitarian queen, must navigate multiple loyalties and treasons as people he loves launch plots to overthrow the crown. However, his tangle of obligations, familial relations, and tender love affairs may undo the revolution before it begins. Despite pacing issues an over-abrupt ending, a few too many duels and f tes this lush fantasy stays ferociously readable while offering a world that's easy to love: unhappy people waking up to realize there's more to life, and greeting it with curious wonder. This belle epoque flavored series will appeal to readers who like their fantasy politics splashed with hope.