Godly Sins
by Clara Loveman

"'I don’t deserve Geniverd and I don’t deserve you. Or maybe it’s like you say—we don’t deserve each other.'"

When Cerna steps foot into VondRust Palace with her partner, Roki, she has flashbacks of her human life as Queen Kaelyn. Though only weeks have passed since her death, King Zawne has already taken a bride, Lordin, who has assumed Queen Hagan's body. Though the occasion is one of celebration as Cerna has just saved the entire Geniverd kingdom from a deadly pandemic, neither she nor Lordin is celebrating their encounter.

Loveman's character development and worldbuilding skills integrate seamlessly with the book's focus on fusing fantasy and science fiction. From futuristic smart dogs and "visins" that download thoughts directly as messages to traditional fantasy elements like the Seeing Water and Knotts (a fire-breathing dragon in human form), Loveman paints an image of chaos and rebellion in a world inhabited by Min, spirits that can continue changing bodies until the end of their nearly four-thousand-year spirit lives. While the setting is certainly engaging and vivid, it is undoubtedly the creativity of making the familiar unfamiliar that helps the author's work stand out. For example, there is an ongoing competition for the Crown of Crowns throughout the novel, while Roki and Kaelyn's twins, Xerx and Vowkin, are full-grown humans despite only being six months old.

Central to the work is the dichotomy between power and vulnerability, culminating in a chilling proposition: would not each individual, even the most sinister, believe she is the heroine of her life? When the twins get kidnapped, the plot picks up at breakneck speed. Roki, Kaelyn, and all of Defiance and the Guardians are determined to start a war that will ultimately bring peace. Still, neither Kaelyn nor Lordin can imagine at what cost as they battle through poisoned doses and devastating tsunamis to finally discover who they are at their core. Fans of the author's Crown of Crowns series will undoubtedly enjoy this latest installment.

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