Opening Lines: "The sun wouldn't set for another few hours, but evening came quickly in the forest, and Aunty had made Kolothia promise to be back at a decent time so they could enjoy her age-day meal."
The kingdom of Galla consists of four territories that share a balance of power but are ruled by King Osura. When Kalothia was very young, the King executed his pregnant wife, after he suspected she was unfaithful to him. Kalothia's parents tried to speak up for the Queen, professing her innocence, but the king refused to listen, declaring them his enemies and even threatened to have them killed. Hoping to save themselves, they fled the city and Kalothia was placed in the care of Nahir's father, Lord Godmayne of the Northern territory, who sent her away from Galla to live in a secluded forest with two primary caretakers, Aunty and Teacher. She was also given a bodyguard, Clarit to ensure her safety. Kalothia has spent her entire life quietly within the forest, until the day that assassins show up at her home, killing the people most important to her. Devastated by their loss, Kalothia flees the only home she has ever known and ventures toward the capital of Galla to seek answers to who is trying to kill her and where her parents are. Answers within the capital prove to be more difficult than she expected when she learns that the king has died, and she gets wrapped up in the turmoil of picking a new successor to the throne.
Goddess Crown is the kind of story that grabs your attention and won't let it go until you reach that final page. There is so much action that your riveted to see what happens next, so your flipping pages and waiting on pins and needles to see how Kalothia can escape capture and even navigate her way through the palace to avoid danger. Such a wonderful escapism read, and I was certainly in the mood for the palace intrigue. At 288 pages, Lapite really pacts in the action, and even leaves some room for a little romance, yep looking at you Nahir. Overall, I quite enjoyed the world building of the story, but I kept wanting to know more about this fantasy inspired country. Also wanting to know more about Padma, Galla's enemies whose territory borders them, and more about King Osura. There are also quite a few lords and occasionally I had difficulty keeping them straight. Going in I was expecting something along the lines of Children of Blood and Bone, part fantasy and mythology. And this isn't quite that, although there is a Goddess who comes to help Kalothia from time to time. But oh, how I did love Kalothia. Her determination, strength, willingness to break through any barrier placed in front of her. Also, her desire to help her country to begin to recognize women for their potential and all the skills that they bring. To finally allow them to have a voice. Such a wonderful story that has me eagerly awaiting a sequel.
** A huge thank you to Walker Books US for the paperback ARC in exchange for an honest review.**