Rain is a Lord and the son of Lords. However, no one really cares for that in the way they treat him. All his life, he has been a pawn in a game of political power, first for his father, then for his brothers, Lords of an island that has once been conquered by the greater empire of Arodnes, but is now far out of reach. When heralds declare the emperor`s eldest son´s beginning of the choosing ceremony, the island Odenar is required to send a participant. Rain`s brother sees a chance to realise his plans of conquering a neighbouring island and securing the Empire`s goodwill by sending Rain, pressuring him to do all in his power to win the prince over.
All characters are very interesting to read about. The storyline is fascinating, but it comes to life with the author letting the characters tell their story. Both Rain and Prince Taldan are scholars, interested in architecture and bettering their people`s lives. Enough reason for the prince´s brother and cousin to mistrust Rain. From early on, it becomes clear that Taldan holds affection for Rain but will not act on it, instead aiming to hide behind the mask the Emperor has to carry, like his father. No hard task for a being with supposedly no emotions. But not quite..
The Empire has a medieval setting in some points, not so much in others. I would like to know more about it, since most of the story takes place in the palace.
The book has an open end - which is not so surprising, seeing that it is the beginning of the Chronicles and leaves quite the amount of questions. For one: Are there even women?
I would buy it again. :)