Catalina Quiroga is a condesa without a country. She’s lost the Inkasisa throne, the loyalty of her people, and her best friend. Banished to the perilous Yanu Jungle, Catalina knows her chances of survival are slim, but that won’t stop her from trying to escape. Her duty is to rule.
While running for her life, Catalina is rescued by Manuel, the son of her former general, who has spent years searching for allies. With his help, Catalina could find the city of gold that’s home to the fierce Illari people and strike a deal with them for an army to retake her throne.
But the elusive Illari are fighting a battle of their own–a mysterious blight is corrupting the jungle, laying waste to everything they hold dear. As a seer, Catalina should be able to help, but her ability to read the future in the stars is as feeble as her survival instincts. While on her journey, Catalina must reckon with her duty and her heart to find her true calling, which is key to stopping the corruption before it destroys the jungle completely.
Ibañez’s choice to focus the story on Catalina the colonizer will be a hurdle for some readers. Catalina is a very difficult character to connect to, although I found her compelling. Stubborn to a fault and unwilling to take feedback, she begins the book ostracized by everyone she ever cared for. She believes everyone else is to blame for her circumstances. The throne is her birthright; it is what she is owed, what she is entitled to. She would rather be cast into the jungle where she will surely die than accept that she isn’t the center of the world…
Read the rest of my review at locusmag.com.