Princess Marie is sickly, quiet, and shy. She has never lived up to the standards of Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. She lives in the most powerful empire the world has ever seen, due to the help of the Head Merlin and his control over the only supply of magic in the world. Marie must marry and produce an heir to keep the empire strong against their greatest enemy: Prussia. The two kingdoms need to unite to stop the never ending war, and the only way is for Marie to marry the heir to the Prussian throne. But she has always loved Gill, one of her personal guards. With the help of the powerful magician Aelwyn, her childhood friend, she plans to escape with Gill and live a quiet life, while leaving Aelwyn to take on her face and her lifelong dream of ruling. But unforeseen obstacles come in their way, and they discover a secret that will change both kingdoms forever.
I'm glad I didn't pass this book up, despite the lack of emotional development and some of the questionable world-building. The Ring and The Crown is my first read by de la Cruz but it seems she has a talent for writing lighthearted, fluffy and entertaining stories. Reading this was a bit like reading a gossip magazine - full of the scandals, relationships and drama of the aristocracy. It won't change your life, you won't get a new philosophical perspective, but it is a fast-paced, entertaining novel that held my attention from start to finish.
People who like romance and fantasy will love this book and the rest of the series.