Family can be the best ally—or the worst enemy. The saga continues in the third book in Bridget E. Baker's Birthright Series, where trust is the ultimate political weapon.
Accept the world as it is...
Days before her eighteenth birthday, Chancery Alamecha has more to worry about than the flowers at her celebration. She's no closer to learning who killed her mother. Her twin sister is missing, fate unknown. And she's the new ruler of an empire with abilities she has yet to harness.
Or do something to change it…
When her first act as a merciful queen is met with resistance, Chancery realizes her mission to improve the world will be harder than expected. She's attacked on multiple fronts, distrust simmers within her ranks, and her list of allies grows shorter by the day. But to unite the evian families and gain control of five powerful rings, the most direct path to peace may be through war…
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Development of a true queen
It’s hard being a 17-year-old who goes from being in her mother’s and sister’s shadows to unexpectedly taking the most powerful position in the world. It’s even harder when you not only take your mom’s place as empress but have to tell the other five world rulers that you’re the prophesied Queen of Queens and would they please hand over their royal rings? In Displaced, Chancery had to grow from a shy teenager to a world leader in days. This time she has to grow even more as she fights not just for the power to rule, but HOW to rule. She will not be her mother, Enora the Merciless, but she needs to be strong and wise and just and revolutionary. A tall order for a teen. Especially a teen who is trying to avoid being assassinated by an enemy while searching for her mother’s killer, rebuilding her relationship with her twin sister, and figuring out how to outwit political leaders who have been in power for hundreds of years.
Is Chancery up for the task? She’s not sure, despite the prophecy. But she decides that it’s time for some changes in the way the world is run, and immediately starts working toward that. For a bit, she seems a little too much like the typical teen heroine of a dystopia. Girl accepts mantle of leadership and begins campaigning for equal rights for all. Girl receives opposition from everyone in her circle over age 17. Girl is torn between two guys: the obvious, logical choice and the one she knows she shouldn’t love. But this stereotypical behavior serves to make the plot twists that much more surprising. And Chancery begins to learn the balance between holding firmly to her goals and listening to others, even though she really can’t trust anyone as one person after another becomes suspect or reveals hidden secrets. Ultimately, she has to decide on her own how she can fulfill the prophecy without destroying the world.
I lose Chancery’s voice at times in this book. And that’s rather fitting, because she is searching for herself. By the end of the book, she has learned and grown, but she still has maturing to do before she can truly come into her own. Honestly, that’s refreshing. She has just turned 18 and is doing what no one has done before. One of Ms. Baker’s strengths in writing is that each book has plenty of character development, action, and reveals. Many series use the first book to introduce characters and most of the surprises. Subsequent books carry the plot forward (along with heavy focus on developing romance and introspection), but the reader knows the characters. In the Birthright series, each book makes huge strides in character development. The characters you think you know well may not be who you think they are, and with each solved mystery another appears, a new layer to the puzzle. I enjoyed the fact that there are so many GOOD characters in this book. The two men who love Chancery are not just good-looking boys who are attracted to her, but leaders in their own right who want to encourage her in her reign, have wisdom to offer, and are willing to sacrifice their comfort, desires, and even their lives for her. Any number of secondary characters are noble, kind, and helpful. Even the villains are not generally pure evil, but their actions and attitudes are shown as understandable.
I feel like I ended this book with as many questions as I had at the beginning…just different questions, as many of my earlier ones DID get answered throughout rather than dragging on interminably. I ended with a sense of satisfaction at what had happened as well as intense anticipation of what was to come.