“The Shadow Cats (Fire and Thorns #0.5)” by Rae Carson
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Summary from Goodreads:
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. And it was not Alodia.
Alodia is the crown princess of the realm. The sister who knows how to rule, and the one who is constantly reminded that she has not been marked for a grand destiny. But Alodia has plans, and she will be the greatest queen her people have ever known. So she travels–with her hopeless, naïve, chosen sister–to a distant part of their land, to begin to secure her supporters. This region needs its princesses, for it is plagued with a curse. The crops don’t grow, the spring doesn’t arrive, and a fierce jaguar stalks the shadows, leaving only empty homes splashed with blood behind. If Alodia can save them, no one will be able to deny her strength and her sovereignty.
But what she discovers could change the fate of her kingdom, if not her world. And it will most certainly change her opinion of her younger sister.
“The Shadow Cats” is a prequel to the riveting Fire and Thorns trilogy: Book One, The Girl of Fire and Thorns; Book Two, The Crown of Embers; and Book Three, The Bitter Kingdom.
I really liked how this story flopped things around. To me, Elisa has always been the stronger of the sisters. You saw her grow from a shy girl to an incredibly strong Queen. Alodia seemed meeker and more reserved. We see in this book that’s totally not the case. Alodia is very strong and politically minded while Elisa is more focused on religion and food.
The bottom line? Great twist.