From the moment she was banished by her father, the king, Princess Maia journeyed to seek sanctuary at Muirwood Abbey, the epicenter of magic and good in the land. Now safe for the first time since her cruel abandonment, Maia must foster uneasy friendships with other girls training to be Ciphers: women who learn to read and engrave tomes of ancient power, despite the laws forbidding them to do so.
As Maia tries to judge whom to trust, she makes a shocking discovery: her destiny is to open the Apse Veil and release trapped spirits from her world. Then she learns that her father is coming to Muirwood Abbey to celebrate the Whitsunday festival—and Maia’s estranged husband, whom she was forced to abandon, will join him. Torn between deadly political machinations and unstoppable spiritual forces, Maia must channel unknown powers within herself to save her friends, the abbey, and the entire kingdom of Muirwood.
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I read the first installment of this series in graphic novel form, which has its merits. The last time I read a series in split formats was when I read Spy Goddess. I don't believe reading just one format for an entire series makes the experience any more or less enjoyable, but that's just me. Anyway, I got this version from NetGalley after reading the first book. In this installment, Maia finds a for of freedom from her father, and meets other powerful women like her training to be ciphers. Of course, in this world everyone is scared of the power a woman can wield, so her father and ex husband have plans to pass a law that would give her father far too much power. I really liked watching Maia develop as a person and seeing her deal with the sudden information that she needs to basically save the world with powers she doesn't have a complete hold on just yet. Pair this with the fact that nearly everyone she meets seems to not like her at all, it's inevitable that we get to see her find inner strength.
It takes talent and guts to release books so closely together as Wheeler is doing. It's not a bad thing--the previous book is fresh in our mind, we're still excited--but what a deadline! this book is set to release just a few months after the last one. Will we be reading the last one before Christmas? Luckily, Wheeler's prowess at writing keeps readers at the edge of their seats anyway, so he's doing a public service releasing these so close together.
Overall: I'd get it a library, and recommend it to friends. I wouldn't quite buy it for myself, but I would get a print version for my sister and then my daughter when she's old enough, so it still counts. 5/5