Jasminda is a 19 year old living alone on the outskirts of Elsira. Her skin color, unfortunately, draws too much unwanted attention from the townsfolk. In Elsira, they are basically white. Jasminda looks black despite the fact that she is biracial, half Elsiran and half Lagrimari. The Lagrimari are basically black people from across the land who are Earthsingers. They have songs that can heal and help. This difference, Jasminda being black in a white town, is the big draw in the beginning. I wondered how big of a deal it would end up being through out the book and it turned out it was a huge thing.
She meets Jack. He'd been captured by some Lagrimari soldiers and was being taken back to Lagrimar to stand trial. What they didn't know is they were still in Elsira.
When Jack gets free, with Jasminda's help, they meet a group of Lagrimari who help him get back to his post. Unfortunately, once back, Jack's identity changes and it leaves Jasminda feeling as if the wind was knocked out of her.
Their are a lot of small details that should be paid attention to when reading the book. When Jasminda is having a vision, pay attention it, because it wraps up VERY well in the end. Pay attention to anything mentioned about the Mantle, True Father, and the Queen Who Sleeps. I swear I can't say anything because it will give things away. But I will say ... so many instances will bring out the feels, so be prepared.
Sex is in this book but it isn't nasty or dragging on too long.
Every single character is written well.
The story wraps up well. A part 2 is clear and that is set up at the very end once the more pressing issue is resolved. However, the next issue is something you will HOPE for throughout all of book 1. So you get your wish for book 2.
Their are parts that drag, but it doesn't last long.
Overall, L. Penelope is one of my new favorite authors. I'm going to pimp this book as much as I can.
Did I mention that Jack is a ginger? I didn't? Oh, he is!
IR: Jasminda (biracial but very brown), Jack (white red-head)