At first I thought this book was a simple mix of The Hunger Games, Red Rising and the Selection. It seemed like the obvious Cinderella story - boy and girl meet, boy and girl fall in love, underprivileged girl becomes Queen. That's how I thought that the story was going to go. Boy was I wrong!
Yes, this book is like a mesh of Huger Games, Red Rising and the Selection, but it is also much more than that. I loved the creative twists that the author built in. I won't reveal here - no spoilers. I that the the author did a great job developing all the major characters and even fleshing out the secondary characters like Julian and Kilorn as well. Sometimes I read a book and it is so unmemorable that I can't remember the names of the characters the day after I finish. Not so in this case, definitely not so.
Mare really becomes a stronger character as the book goes on. It was annoying, at first, how she seemed to be leaning on the male characters but press on, it does get better.I am really excited to read The Glass Shard, which will be coming up sometime very soon.