This is one of those books where my opinions are divided among themselves. The plot and setting feature some distinct cliches which ranged from interesting to eye rolling. I usually knew what was coming next several pages before it happened. However, I really enjoyed the characters and, in particular, the family relationship between the sisters and how that expanded to include the tarnished and the other women in the narrative.
The biggest thing that doesn’t make sense to me is given how valuable a highly blooded woman is why they continue to punish and threaten them with being tarnished. Some of this has to be just flat psychological manipulation because most of the men as described would be far too selfish to throw a magically blooded child away or risk hurting them beyond what can be easily fixed. If you kill a magically blooded daughter, whether you care about her or not, you’re out money and position and all kinds of things. So it’s just too much of a risk to casually break limbs and knock around your ‘possession’. I know this is being used to show how harsh the society is to women, but it doesn’t quite ring true.
This is a YA paranormal/fantasy, but I’d say upper YA to adult. There isn’t graphic content, but there is a lot of death, manipulation, physical and mental torture, etc. It’s dealing with very adult subjects which won’t appeal to everyone. And in the end things have changed for our heroine but not enough for me to be truly committed to find out what happens in the next books. Most of what she has she gained through Zade’s sacrifice not her own. So while I don’t regret the reading time, I’m not certain this is one I’ll be back to – But don’t quote me on that, stranger things have happened.