My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won’t find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could’ve been better or what worked or didn’t work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it’s here I probably think it won’t injure your brain if you read it.
Elisa has a Godstone in her navel, a gift from God that she can barely see over the folds of her stomach.
Bearers are only chosen once every century. Elisa was already born a princess, and the Godstone has marked her special twice over. If only she had the grace and bearing of her older sister Alodia, who is slim, beautiful, charming, and a warrior to boot. Instead Elisa is the smart fat sister, known for only breaking away from her studies of ancient texts to make a quick trip to the kitchen.
Nonetheless she is the Chosen one, and when the king of a neighboring realm needs a wife that will help secure his kingdom, Elisa leaves behind her lush home to be the queen of a desert land. Though Elisa’s husband is attractive and kind, once she is securely settled into his court she discovers that she is to be his queen in secret only, for the time being.
Bored and lonely, Elisa delves into her religious studies, only to find that despite her drive for knowledge, it has been purposely hidden from her since she was born. She learns that the Godstone is a curse as well as a gift. Many Bearers have died without ever doing anything significant with their lives, apparently failing at whatever their appointed task had been. And most of the Bearers die very young.
There is a dark magic coursing under the skin of the earth that the Invierno people have found a way to channel using dead Godstones – stones pulled from the navels of their dying bearers. Even with a dead gem, blood sacrifices are required to unleash the power, and the Inviernos are ruthless in their sacrifices as they march upon Elisa’s new kingdom.
Threats surround her on all sides, but when a group of kidnappers drag Elisa from her chambers into the heart of the desert, she finds her strength. As the daily struggle to wade through sand and heat begins to change her body, and the lingering eyes of one of her young kidnappers begins to change her heart, Elisa feels the Godstone awakening.
With trickles of power starting to course through her, Elisa believes she’ll learn her task as a Bearer… the question is whether she will live long enough to accomplish it.