Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.
Now, on her 16th birthday, she has become the secret wife of a... read more
•It it Lucero-Elisa’s, princess of Orovalle, wedding day. Her husband is a well-known stranger: The King of Joya D’Arena, a man she has never met, Alejandro. Obvs a political union: Alejandro needs the promise of Orovalle’s men in the imminent war with the Invierne, a group of... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
•It it Lucero-Elisa’s, princess of Orovalle, wedding day. Her husband is a well-known stranger: The King of Joya D’Arena, a man she has never met, Alejandro. Obvs a political union: Alejandro needs the promise of Orovalle’s men in the imminent war with the Invierne, a group of people living in the mountains. Elisa’s maids struggle to fit Elisa into her wedding dress, which had to be created in a jiff because this wedding is SHOTGUN SUPREME. One of the reasons her dress doesn’t fit? Elisa is overweight.
•Once Eisa and Alejandro are married, things get AWKWARD. Alejandro is a good-looking widower with a son, and king of the largest, most prosperous kingdom around. Elisa is a 16-year-old, self-conscious, overweight virgin. Oh, and also: She is the bearer of the Godstone. They don’t sleep together, but Alejandro is kind to Elisa and she takes a liking to him.
•Elisa bids her father and her sister, the heiress to Orovalle and Elisa’s frenemy, farewell and journeys with her new husband and his men through the jungle to her new home as Queen of Joya D’Arena. Her two maids, Aneaxi and Ximena, accompany her.
•During the trip through the jungle, the train of wagons is attacked and Elisa--who is seriously read up on war theory--helps Alejandro’s captain of the Guard, Lord Hector, fend off the attackers and winds up saving Alejandro’s life to boot.
•However, during the attack, one of her maids, Aneaxi, is wounded and eventually dies before the group gets to Brisadulce, the capital of Joya. Also, when one of the bad guys realizes that Elisa bears the Godstone, Ximena flies out of nowhere and kills him with a STRAIGHT PIN. #badass
•When everyone arrives in Brisadulce, Alejandro keeps it a secret from everyone that he and Elisa are already married, including his mistress, Condesa Ariña.
•The good news is that Elisa makes friends with Lord Hector, and Alejandro’s son, Rosario, takes a liking to her.
•Alejandro asks Elisa to sit in on the Quorum of Five meetings--basically his council--and Elisa finds out that out in the desert, the Invierne are attacking the people who live there. The Quorum can’t decide how to proceed. Alejandro is a master of indecision.
•Elisa meets the priest, Father Nicandro, at the Monastery-at-Brisadulce and learns that there are waaay more details about being the bearer of the Godstone than her family and people in Orovalle ever told her. Bottom line? She is destined to perform some unknown act of service, but she might not get a chance to: lots of previous bearers died before they had the chance. He gives her some Godstones from previous bearers and she hides them in her room.
•Condesa Ariña sends her maid, Cosmé, to serve Elisa. The two ladies butt heads, but Elisa is clever, and despite her own misgivings about her ability to play the political/upstairs-downstairs game, she’s pretty good at it.
•Alas, just when things are starting to look up for Elisa, and Alejandro is moving towards making their marriage known to his court, Elisa is kidnapped from her rooms in the middle of the night.
•Elisa wakes up from being drugged during her kidnapping to discover that her kidnappers are bringing her across the desert, and that one of her kidnappers is Cosme. Another is Cosme’s brother, Humberto, who’s always nicer to Elisa than the others. They trudge through the desert for a MONTH until they reach a settlement of caves--their hometown.
•She discovers that the war Alejandro and the Quorum believe will restart soon has never actually ended out here on the frontier. It’s been going on the whole time.
•After much settling in and earning the trust and respect of not only the people of this village but also Cosme and her brother, Humberto, Elisa becomes fond of these people and sensitive to their plight. She eventually tells them all that, in addition to bearing the Godstone (the reason she was kidnapped in the first place), she is also married to the king (O_O) and promises to do all she can to allow the desert folk to secede from Joya D’arena and rule themselves.
•Elisa becomes the de facto leader of the desert resistance, establishing the Malficio as kind of guerrilla warfare to harass the Inviernos. The village begins warring up—making weapons, etc.
•As she spends more time in the desert, Elisa becomes SUPER close to Humberto. Like, smoochy-face, kind of intense close. He starts sleeping inside the doorway to her sleeping quarters to “keep her safe.” *wink wink* Except for real. He takes is pretty seriously that she’s married to someone else.
•After a time, it’s decided that a group of scouts need to check out the Invierne camp. The same group who kidnapped Elisa—who are now basically her friends—go.
•The plan is to observe the Invierne from a cave that Humberto, Cosmé, Jacián, and Belén used to visit as kids. They have a few close encounters on the way to the cave, but are saved by the advance warning from Elisa’s Godstone.
•When they arrive at the cave, Elisa, Humberto, and Cosmé, are waiting while Belén and Jacián are off hunting/checking out the area. Elisa and Humberto are having a heart to heart when all of a sudden her Godstone goes ice cold and they see some Inviernos approaching the cave, which is too much of a coincidence to be anything accidental. Fearing that they will be separated and not find each other again, Humberto kisses Elisa but good. He and Cosmé run off after stashing Elisa in a small cavern. The Inviernos show up in the cave, but don’t find Elisa.
•That is, until she has to go to the bathroom. Then they catch her, and they bring her back to their camp
•Once in the camp, they bring Elisa to their leader, an animagus called Lo Chato. During his interrogation of the other men, Elisa realizes that the animagus wears a Godstone in the amulet around his neck and that he is able to generate power with it to control the bodies of the other men. But she isn’t “other men” and the powers don’t affect her, so she fakes it. Lo Chato threatens her to get information out of her, but when he steps out of the cave for a second, she sees some duerma berries and dumps them in the wine...
•...Which Lo Chato eventually drinks to his own detriment. Elisa—instead of killing him, despite his threats--sets fire to his tent, cuts off his braid and clothes and walks right out of camp disguised as him. BUT! BOMB DROP! On her way out of the camp, she sees a familiar face—Belén, hanging out next to a campfire, eating and chumming around with Inviernos. It wasn’t a coincidence that they found the cave. Belén betrayed them.
•Elisa escapes from the Invierne camp and goes on the run, eventually using her Godstone to guide her. She literally stumbles onto Humberto, who came back to find her. They return to their village, where Elisa outs Belén as the traitor. Cosmé is PISSED and devastated.
•In time it is discovered that Conde Treviño in Basajuan, the nearest Joya holding, wants to discuss an alliance with the leader of the Malficio. Elisa & Co. know that he is in league with the Invierne, sending them food and supplies to keep them from attacking his city. Plans are made to go to Basajuan under the guise of making an alliance while actually trying to poison the food supply train. Elisa, Cosmé, Humberto, Jacián, a new friend Mara, and several others decide to go to Basajuan.
•Meantime, Belén is captured and returned to the village. He is in BAD SHAPE, and people don’t trust him. But he tells Elisa that the Invierne want her Godstone to do bad things with it and that she needs to go back to Brisadulce.
•Despite Belén’s warning, they all go the Basajuan as decided anyway. Their plan is going along as smoothly as it can when the whole crew is captured and held in some shady “guest quarters.” Eventually, Elisa, Humberto, and another boy are called to the Conde’s office.
•Conde Treviño basically shoots their plan down, saying that he talked to the Inveirne leaders and convinced them that he didn’t poison their stuff. The Conde tells Elisa that she needs to tell him where the Malficio’s camp is, and that he’ll send her to the Invierne as a sign of good faith. They want her Godstone.
•When one of the Conde’s men starts to strangle Elisa in the resulting hullabaloo, Humberto jumps to defend her, saying that he is the leader of the Malficio. Treviño knows he is lying, though, and orders one of his men to KILL HUMBERTO. While he is in the middle of finally confessing to Elisa that he loves her, the man slits his throat and he dies in Elisa’s arms. The Conde threatens to kill one companion of Elisa’s each day she withholds information from him.
•When she arrives back in the chamber, Elisa tries to cut the Godstone out of belly, but Cosmé and Mara stop her. They craft a plan to go back to the conde tomorrow so that Elisa can kill him.
•THIS plan is also going along as Elisa hoped, until it’s cut short by the arrival of Lord Commander Hector and Elisa’s lady, Ximena, in town after some political doings in the capital while Elisa was in the desert. Hector tells Conde Treviño that he has been keeping the Queen of Joya D’Arena captive. Whoops!
•Not long after this--like, literally maybe a day later--Hector receives word that the Invierne army is marching on Brisadulce. Hector, Elisa, Ximena, and Mara head back to the capital.
•Upon arrival, Elisa, who is much changed physically and emotionally and mentally by her time in the desert, is at first unrecognizable to Alejandro. Hector introduces her as the Lady of the Malficio.
•Elisa is back in her chambers, but the plant where she hid the Godstones is gone. She asks Rosario to sneak around and try to find them.
•Alejandro decides that it is now time to not only acknowledge his marriage to Elisa but to officially crown her as well. Done and done.
•A few days later, Elisa hears the warning bells toll. When she goes to the wall to see what’s going on, she notices that the warriors are not the Invierne, but the Perditos, the painted jungle people who attacked their party all the way back in Part I. They effectively trap everyone inside Brisadulce.
•The Invierne army eventually arrives, and their animagi appear in front of it. In five groups of five, their people walk up to the animagi, who slit their throats to gain the power the need from their blood to work their fire magic and burn down the walls around Brisadulce.
•Brisadulce’s fortifications fend off the first wave of fire, but Hector brings Elisa back to her chamber for her own safety, and so she can be with Rosario.
•Elisa makes plans to steal away with Rosario to protect the heir should anything happen. But she also needs her other Godstones, and she and Rosario go to Condesa Ariña’s chamber to search for them. She’s been holing up in there, not accepting any visitors because her dad, Conde Treviño, has now been unmasked as a traitor. When they are admitted, Elisa distracts Ariña with conversation about an amulet Elisa took from Conde Treviño while Rosario digs up the Godstones.
•The Invierne eventually burn down the gate and make it into Brisadulce. Alejandro busts into Elisa’s room to tell her that they are coming. While they are all planning their escape with Rosario, the animagi show up in Elisa’s quarters. Ariña has brought them there.
•When the animagi attempt to work their magic, Elisa puzzles out a way to use the old Godstones, the amulet from Conde Treviño, and her own living Godstone to create tremendous power for herself and defeat the animagi, but before she does, Alejandro tries to rescue her from an advancing animagi and gets burned with their magic fire.
•But then Elisa starts praying and using all of the Godstones and the amulet and this magic makes the animagi wither and turn to dust. Elisa passes out.
•Afterwards, Elisa wakes to realize that her Godstone magic created a blast of energy that blew out all the windows in the city, and that Alejandro--in addition to being burned by the animagi--got blasted with glass. He is dying.
•On his deathbed, Alejandro makes Elisa promise to take care of Rosario, and names Elisa Queen Regnant (basically, regent) until Rosario comes of age. Then Alejandro slips into a coma and dies.
•Three months pass. The Invierne army has retreated, defeated for now. Elisa crowns Cosmé as Queen of the newly established country of Basajuan, and Elisa lives to fight another day.
“She looks like a doll, her eyes glassy within a sculpture of frozen contentment, lips slightly parted. Gently, I reach forward and close her eyes with my fingertips, hoping it will make her seem merely asleep. But the stillness of sleep is nothing at all like the stillness of death.”Elisa
“Honor from death,” I snap, “is a myth. Invented by the war torn to make sense of the horrific. If we die, it will be so that others may live. Truly honorable death, the only honorable death, is one that enables life.”Highlighted by 16 Kindle customers
But the stillness of sleep is nothing at all like the stillness of death.Highlighted by 10 Kindle customers
But that doesn’t matter, because God placing his stone in my belly was never about me.Highlighted by 10 Kindle customers
He doesn’t love me yet, but in this place of death, in this precious moment of shared relief, he holds me.Highlighted by 6 Kindle customers
But with Alejandro, I always dissolve into a pool of weak helplessness. He is a good man, I’m sure of it. And so beautiful as to be dazz-ling. But I don’t like the person I am when I’m around him.Highlighted by 5 Kindle customers
“You, Cosmé, Hector, even little Rosario, were already willing to be heroes.” And Humberto, says a little voice in my head. “You didn’t need to be chosen. But I would have done nothing, become nothing, were it not for this thing inside me. So you see, God picked me because I was unworthy.”Highlighted by 4 Kindle customers
He has the look of one with a mighty mind, whose thoughts spin hidden beneath the impassive surface.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
God’s will. How many times have I heard someone declare their understanding of this thing I find so indefinable?Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
Cosmé is the most efficient maid I’ve ever had. I tell her so, frequently, and it gives me such a twist of pleasure to watch her react to praise from someone she despises. The Scriptura Sancta calls it “the fire of kindness.”Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
He has redeemed his people, given them new life abundant My soul glorifies God; let it rejoice in my Savior.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
We’re hiding the organizations, themes, errata, links to supplemental material, movie connections, books with additional background information, books that influenced this book, books influenced by this book, books that cite this book and books cited by this book sections. If you would like to add content to them, you must first make them visible.