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Genre: Fantasy, General Fantasy
Bernobich’s debut is simply marvelous. Ilse is a memorably strong protagonist who has to make a lot of really difficult choices in order to survive and Raul Kosenmark is one of the most unique heroes this reviewer has ever encountered. The worldbuilding is top-notch. Readers should note that there is sexual violence in this book — not gratuitous, but it may be difficult to read.
Ilse Zhalina, the daughter of a rich and powerful man, is in a position that no young woman wants to be in: betrothed to an older man for the sake of her family’s fortune. So she runs away in the hopes of finding freedom. After suffering through an experience that will likely haunt her for the rest of her life, Ilse finds work in the kitchens of Raul Kosenmark, owner of a notorious pleasure house. Soon promoted to Lord Kosenmark’s secretary, Ilse becomes enmeshed in intrigue and danger. (TOR, Oct., 368 pp., $24.99)
Reviewed By: Natalie A. Luhrs
Published: October 2010