Gentle and perceptive, Eiren is a storyteller. She also has a gift: she can sense the emotions and thoughts of those around her. Her power stems from an incredible darkness that exists within, one that brands Eiren as an icon, the mortal incarnation of Theba, the goddess of destruction.
To save her family, Eiren surrenders to the enemy that has warred with her kingdom her entire life, unwittingly embracing that darkness and her own surprising capacity for fury and vengeance. As the icon of Theba, her captors expect her to restore their shattered kingdom at the expense of her own. As the woman Eiren, she is led by her heart to more unexpected places still: to murder, betrayal, and to the arms of another icon, the masked and enigmatic Gannet, whose secrets are not his to tell.
To know the truth of why she was taken from her home, Eiren must become one of the monsters from her stories, whether she wants to or not.
Watching her goddess' life opera explode with the attack of the assassins and as she flees for her life, you wonder with her how many of the icons are behind it. And who. And when she asks, "Did you know?", you hold your breath with her until he answers.
I loved this book! I didn't want it to end, I just wanted answers. For that you have to read book #2, The Dread Goddess.
Having decimated the city of Jhosch, Aleynian icon Eiren flees to the wilderness of the Ambarian north. She finds solace in a distant sanctuary, trying to make peace with the knowledge that she embodies Theba, the goddess of destruction.
Soon, though, there is more devastation on the horizon: an imposter has declared herself the Dread Goddess in Eiren's place and rallied the Ambarian army to destroy Aleyn. Traveling to cut them off and save her family's kingdom, Eiren works to uncover the secrets of her past and keep Theba in check--all while consumed by memories of Gannet, the Ambarian icon she left behind.
Eiren's journey takes her back to the haunted ruins of Re'Kether, an ancient city at the heart of a kingdom their warring peoples once shared. Now she must reconcile who she knows she is--a gentle-souled storyteller--with the monstrous Dread Goddess who dwells within.
This is a duology, but there is a certain feeling I got when I was done with this second book that it's not over. There is plenty of material to work with and go on. The sign of a really good book, it leaves you wanting more.
I strongly recommend these two books to anyone who likes a good story. This is a great story. Mystery, magic, romance, conflict, betrayal. It's all in there.