I’m not sure how I managed to miss that this book is in the middle of a series when I added it to my Booksfree queue, but I did, and felt bad returning it unread, so I did read through it. Fortunately, this seems to be the start of a separate story arc with some different characters, so I was only missing about half the back story.
What I gather is that there are three realms ruled by the Blood – people that have power somehow connected to jewels that they manage to get at some point. There’s an order in power for the jewels, with black being the most powerful (you’re born with a certain level of ability, but can also move up a few levels). What I was missing of the back story was that of the overall ruling family of this world, who are all black-jeweled, or very nearly black-jeweled, and have lived for thousands of years. They seemed to be interesting people.
The newer story line concerns the people of Dena Nehele, who until recently had been under the power of corrupted Queens of the blood. The true rulers have regained power, and seek a Queen of the old traditions to help rebuild the land. What they get is Cassidy, of a relatively low-ranked jewel, and not particularly pretty. She’s looking to start fresh, so agrees to go, but she’s not happy in this new land. The only person that seems to like her is Gray, a young man who was tortured by the former Queen, and still bears the psychological scars. He could have had great power if not for those scars, but meeting Cassidy may be just the thing he needs to help him heal.
I’m definitely intrigued to go back and start this story from the beginning – the world building is intriguing, and I definitely want to read more.