Ian Troy is one of the Shinree, a fallen people with an inherent addiction to magic. Scorned and reviled for the deadly side of their spells, the Shinree are bred as slaves. Their magic is suppressed by drugs and used only as it serves the purposes of the other races.
Descended from a long line of soldiers, Ian is conscripted into the Rellan army and made to fight in their longstanding conflict against the ruthless Langorian invaders. The downfall of Rella imminent, Ian goes against orders and turns to the Crown of Stones, an ancient Shinree relic of untold power. Ignorant of its true purpose, Ian uses the crown to end the war and pays a terrible price.
A decade later, still tortured by the aftermath of that day, Ian lives as a bounty hunter in self-imposed exile. Having renounced his magical heritage, he curbs his obsession with a steady stream of wine and regret. He struggles to put it all behind him until a fateful encounter with a pretty assassin brings Ian’s past crashing into the present.
Targeted by a rogue Sheree, and a ruthless old enemy, Ian is forced to use magic again. His deadly addiction is rekindled and his life of isolation is brought to a swift end. With the land, he gave up everything to protect once more in jeopardy, and his people’s future at stake, Ian becomes embroiled in a violent race for control of the Crown of Stones. To save the realms and those he cares for, Ian must embrace the thing he fears most: his own power.
“Interesting and Imaginative Dark Fantasy”
What would you do if you could have anything you wanted, solve any problem no matter how big, and make yourself feel amazing in the process, but doing so would cost other people their lives? What good is power if the price of wielding it is so high that you can’t bring it to bear? Those are questions that Ian Troy has to answer for himself every day of his life. In a world filled with war, political machinations, and betrayal, he has to find a way to survive. And, what’s even harder, he has to find a way to live with himself if he does.
I enjoyed this story. It has an interesting take on magic and a hero who is flawed enough to be relatable and interesting. The story is very dark, but that just kind of makes it a guilty pleasure. The world-building is outstanding, and the landscape is populated by people who seem unusually real. It does have a major cliff-hanger ending, but that’s not a problem because the next book is already out, so there’s no waiting to find out what happens. Five stars, and I look forward to the rest of the series.