DeDominicis debuts with this intriguing tale, immersing readers in a complex, fantasy world. As a child, Iris Paisley has always been a handful: willful, wild, and passionate for life, she finds it hard to adjust to her ordinary surroundings. But when a family tragedy forces Iris and her mother to leave their home and relocate to the mountain city of Dea Dominion, life becomes hard to bear for the young woman. After a charismatic stranger, Mada Retina, enters Iris’s life, things seem to be getting better. But Mada is not what he seems on the surface. DeDominicis writes with a feather-light touch, pulling readers in the story’s human drama and fantasy intrigue. The narrative is so rich in the kingdom’s folklore, that the land becomes real in readers’ eyes. Iris, with her impulsiveness, resilience, and weary vulnerability remains the most appealing character. The sympathetic, sensible Dean shines through and through. Greyson doesn’t get much space in the story but leaves an impression nonetheless. DeDominicis traces Iris’s struggles with servitude and autocracy with perception, sensitivity, and emotional clarity. Along the way, he delves into the serious themes of colonialism, power dynamics, class disparity, individualism, freedom, love, passion, family, and friendship. This compelling, beautifully rendered tale of fate, love, and pain is a stunner.