Hello, friends! I’m back today with a blog tour for Royal Spy (Fate of Eyrinthia #2) by Heather Frost. Thanks to the author for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Be sure to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour at the end of my post!
Royal Spy is book two in the Fate of Eyrinthia series. You can read my review for book one here.
Goodreads: Royal Spy (Fate of Eyrinthia #2)
Publication Date: 20 May 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Romance
A DECOY recruited to be a spy.
A PRINCE compelled to become an assassin.
A SERJAH pressured by an unwanted crown.
A WORLD covered in shadows.
Mere months ago, Clare was just a kitchen maid. Now, she is a decoy for Princess Serene and a novice spy, caught in the royal family’s web of secrets. While journeying to Mortise to finalize the princess’s betrothal to Serjah Desfan, Clare lives for the stolen moments she has with Bennick, the bodyguard who is quickly claiming her heart. But when a notorious assassin is hired to kill her, Clare’s life and the alliance hang in the balance.
In Ryden, Grayson prepares to leave for Mortise with his brother, Liam. Their orders are to ignite a war between their enemies, and Grayson has been tasked with assassinating Princess Serene. It may cost his soul, but he is ready to comply, as long as he gets something in return: freedom for Mia, the girl he loves. But the more time he spends with his brother, the more he begins to wonder if Liam is what Grayson wishes he had the courage to be . . . a traitor.
Desfan feels trapped. By his disapproving council, his impending marriage to a stranger, and the imminent arrival of enemy princes who may not want the peace they profess. When a dangerous drug threatens his people, Desfan jumps at the chance to rely on his swords instead of politics. But his investigation uncovers more than he bargained for—a plot that may destroy Mortise from within.
Eyrinthia hovers on the edge of war. Spies. Rebels. Traitors. All must choose a side.
CW/TW: abuse, kidnapping, murder, gore/violence
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Pre-order Royal Spy and fill out the form to receive an EXCLUSIVE short story from Bennick’s POV: The Decoy and the Bodyguard
Heather Frost writes mostly YA fiction and has a soft spot for tortured characters, breath-stealing romance, and happy endings. She is the author of the Seers trilogy and the Fate of Eyrinthia series. She has a BS in Creative Writing and a minor in Folklore, which means she got to read fairy tales and ghost stories and call it homework. When she’s not writing, Heather likes to read, travel, and hold Lord of the Rings movie marathons. She lives in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering mountains in the wilds of Utah. To learn more about Heather and her books, check out her socials below!
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This review may contain spoilers for events in book one, but I tend to keep my reviews more or less “vague” on specific details—just an FYI!
TL;DR: Royal Spy is even more action-packed, emotionally charged, and thrilling than the first book and *phew* what a ride, folks! Frost’s writing makes it so easy to steadily devour the chapters and the constant twists and turns will keep you hanging on to the edge of your seat! The plot is full of political intrigue as we gain even more royal perspectives and if character driven stories are your jam then you’re in for a treat because Frost’s characters are so intriguing. I’m super invested in all their stories and I’m already itching to get my hands on the next book because I just need to know what happens pls!
I read book one last year and knowing how bad my memory is I decided to re-read the first book and I’m so glad that I did because I enjoyed it so much more the second time around and it was great to continue the story with all the details still fresh in my mind!
The second book in the Fate of Eyrinthia series picks up pretty much right after the end of the first with all the characters making their way to Mortise for the betrothal ceremony between Serene and Desfan. The world building still remains quite vague in terms of the sociocultural and historical aspects (the origins of the warring between countries) of the countries and we really only get a bit of descriptive detail of Mortise’ capital, Duvan. While limited world building in fantasies (generally) tend to frustrate me, I actually didn’t mind so much in this because it was so character driven and I loved the characters!
While in book one we got three main POVs from Clare, Bennick and Grayson, this time we got two additional POVs from Mia and Desfan. Frost does a really great job in writing distinct voices and personalities for each character that even with so many perspectives it never got confusing or boring. What brings them all together is the fact that they all want to achieve peace in Eyrinthia and will go to great lengths to ensure that nobody suffers anymore than they already have. Honestly, all their pasts are so tragic and it kinda really broke my heart 🥲
Though it was great reuniting with our “originals” I have to say that my favourite character in this was Desfan. He was a great addition to the story and I adored his chapters and could’ve read so much more from his POV! The impression that I got of him in book one was so different to how he was presented here and it was a surprise in the best way possible. He was a great combination of grudging duty and rebellion and it was fun to see him balance his princely duties by day and his sea-loving rebellious pirate ways by night. I especially loved the dynamic between Desfan and his friend/bodyguard, Karim. Their wry banter was so great and often had me laughing out loud and I just wanted more! 😍
All the characters go through so much in this book and there are plenty of shocking and exciting reveals throughout. The “decoy crew“—as I’ve come to think of Clare, Bennick and the rest of the royal guards—face many heart-pounding moments with more assassination attempts by the rebels and another life-threatening element (because everyone really wants Serene dead T_T). However, political manoeuvring and subterfuge also play big parts of Desfan and Graysons’ storylines. I appreciated how Frost introduced all of these separate elements and manages to realistically tie them in together to very nicely set up the next book despite one helluva cliffhanger at the end! (Aaah)
One element I found myself dreading was the direction of one of the storylines. No spoilers but it seems to be leading to love triangle territory and we all know how I feel about that, so I’m kinda really not here for it. 🥲 Sadly, I could see it coming the minute this new element of the potential love triangle gets brought into the picture and while I can see how it’ll play into this main character’s arc, I hope I’m proven wrong cos I don’t think I can handle the angst, friends! 😆
Overall, I really enjoyed this sequel. It was so action-packed and basically, I was screaming in rage, fear and excitement by the end, so it’s safe to say that I’ve become really invested in all of the characters and their stories. I so badly want that HEA for all of them! Please, can has the next book naow? 🥺
Tomorrow, Grayson would leave for Mortise. As if that did not make his morning bleak enough, he had received a summons from his mother. As he dragged himself up the tall flights of stairs to her private tower, he dreaded whatever encounter he was about to have with her.
The Poison Queen was everything her title promised. She was cold. Conniving. Brilliant. When it came to poisons, she was the most knowledgeable person in Ryden, perhaps in all Eyrinthia. She pitted her sons against each other, playing favorites when it suited her. She didn’t know about Mia, which was a rare blessing from the fates, but she knew other things about Grayson that Henri didn’t. Treasonous things. It made him even more wary of her.
Grayson rapped his knuckles against the thick wooden door at the top of the tower. There was a slight pause, then his mother’s voice rang out, inviting him inside.
He entered cautiously, his eyes sweeping the space. Tables and shelves laden with bottles of potions and potted plants, dried herbs and stained books dominated the circular room. Standing at the window, overlooking the dawn, was Iris.
The queen wore a long white dress, as she usually did, with a simple pale blue sash tied around her waist. Her dark hair was gathered into a long braid that trailed down her back, and when she twisted to face him, cool gray eyes met his. She smiled without warmth. “Grayson, thank you for coming so quickly.”
He bowed to his mother, his spine stiff.
When he straightened, her smile only grew. “Are you excited for your mission to Mortise?”
He assumed she knew every detail of the mission, including his orders to assassinate Princess Serene. Clearly, it didn’t bother her at all.
He gripped his hands behind his back, forcing himself not to show any weakness. “I will serve Father well.”
“I’m sure you will.” Iris moved to a long case sitting on a narrow table on the other side of the tower room. “It’s a little tradition of mine to give a gift to each of my sons before they leave Ryden for the first time.” She peeked over her shoulder at him. “You know I have always loved you most, Grayson.”
He barely held in his snort. If she had a favorite, it would be Carter. He was her protégé, studying poisons almost as religiously as she did.
“You’re stronger than your brothers,” she continued, lifting the case and carrying it toward him. “You always have been. You endured their tortures, until the day you finally rose above them. They fear you, now. After what you do in Mortise, no one can deny your destiny.” She held out the flat, rectangular case and Grayson hesitated the slightest second before taking it. At her silent urging, he flicked open the clasps and lifted the lid.
Two daggers with blue hilts rested in the velvet case. They were decorative, expensive, and he recognized them at once.
They were the same poisoned daggers Tyrell had used against him weeks ago. The scar on his cheek suddenly burned in memory, as did the mark on his arm.
“Beautiful, aren’t they?” she murmured. She’d shifted closer, and it took all of his self-control not to ease away from her. She peered down at the daggers in the case. “They’re coated with Syalla, though you already know that.” She darted a look to the fresh scar on his face.
She knew exactly what those daggers had done to him.
Are you excited to read Royal Spy or is it on your TBR?