Lo-Melkhiin is a tyrant who goes through wives so fast no one can keep track of their names. He goes from village to village, choosing a wife who returns with him, only to die within days of arrival. Then he's off to another village. When he gets to the protagonist's village, she disguises herself so she will stand out and be chosen instead of her sister. Every night she fears death. Every morning she wakes again. She isn't sure why she is still alive or how long that will last.
I cannot begin to describe how beautiful the language is in this book. I loved Johnston's previous two books and was excited to see this new book, even though it is a very different story from that of Owen the Dragon Slayer. The pacing of this story is slow, but the perpetual impending death of the protagonist - whose name is never mentioned - keeps the reader turning pages. This may become one of the rare books that gets added permanently to my personal library, and I will definitely be recommending it to my teen readers and strong tween readers. Fans of fairy tale retellings will love the lyrical, magical language of this book.
Recommended for: teens
Red Flags: lots of violent deaths, some wine-drinking, no language or sex - the protagonist's marriage is never consummated
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley for the purposes of review.