This book popped with a voice and tension that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The characters are so flawed and unrepentant for their actions, they act as anti-heroes in a certain respect. It beautifully subverted the enemies to lovers trope while somehow still mirroring those themes enough to keep readers guessing as to true motives and plot twists.
The juxtaposition of the MC Alessandra being a sexually empowered woman amidst the backdrop of a patriarchal Victorian-esque conservative society was so brilliant and effective at anchoring readers into her motives that it was easy to overlook her tendency to plot and murder and still root for her in spite of her irredeemable actions. Seeing a female MC admit that she wants power, money, recognition and admit that she's willing to do whatever it takes to get it is SO REFRESHING! Why don't we have more of her?
The curse of the shadow king, being unable to have human contact due to assassination plots made the romance plot of this novel sizzle with so much pent up sexual frustration and ABSOLUTELY NO TOUCHING until the very end that it literally took my breath away. This is a must read of 2020. A wonderful standalone that I wish could have been longer. More books. More of them. I want MORE!
The only critique I had for this book came at the very end. Alessandra asked the Shadow King to promise he would never send her away, then, only the next day... its exactly what he does. At the end of this novel, Alessandra has made up for her actions and deceptions and been forced to answer for them and explain herself. However, the shadow king doesn't even mention this betrayal of trust and it isn't resolved on the page. I wanted to see this. They're so equal in so many things, they accept so much about each other, I didn't like that this was left hanging over their happy ending.
In short, buy this book. Read it. Consume it. Become as enamored by the darkness and delight in all the death and deception. :)