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Too many things kept me from giving this book a higher rating. I'm going to list a few so if you're not looking for spoilers, please stop reading.
1. Acceptance of Rema as empress. Ok. So she's about to be executed and then thru some elaborate plan unbeknownst to anyone, the current emperor is killed and she's named the heir. What I have a huge problem with, is that EVERYONE just kind of went with it! No real explanation...just "oh you're the empress now? Cool beans!"
2. Everything happened way to smoothly for me. There was conflict but no depth. I mean kidnapping children to force the army to cooperate? Who kidnapped hundreds of children? Soldiers I presume? And they didn't fight to keep that from happening? No one in Darmicks army resisted? Seriously, how can you kidnap HUNDREDS of children and no one knew about it?
3. I think the deaths later in the book were written just so there would be some sense of saddens and loss towards the end. It was so unnecessary and it just felt like it was thrown in there because everything was going so smoothly the author needed a tear-jerker moment.
I could go on but I've already forgotten the details of most of what I just read. Up to you if you wanna pick it up. It kept me occupied for about 2 hours