Fire & Ice hardcover edition is book 1 in the Icefire Trilogy series by Patty Jansen
Here is a sample:
JEVAITHI PICKED at her dinner, shoving bits of meat around the plate with a golden fork. They were perfectly cooked to her personal taste, but today even these morsels tasted bland. A feeling of pressure, an underlying thrum, coursed through her, a singing excitement that she didn’t understand. She couldn’t say when it had started, only that she had first noticed it yesterday. When she flexed the fingers of her left hand, sparks leapt off them all too easily. Those sparks her mother said no one must ever see.
Eyes unfocused, she stared out the window, where the glare of the light on the horizon silhouetted the buildings of the city. Directly before her, but lower down, was the Eagle Knight’s eyrie. If she squinted, she thought she could see the great birds moving within. In past years, there had been days she had watched the Knights fly out and wished she could be one of them, but these days the sight of them just filled her with bitterness because she knew she never would. She pushed her plate away.
“Not hungry, Your Highness?”
She glanced up at the dry sound of the male voice. Supreme Rider Cornatan stood a few paces from her, in the middle of her tower room. He was grey haired, stiff and reedy, and his short-haired Knight’s cloak was held together with golden clasps in a never-ending display of status. Why did he always have to be here? Chaperoning her, watching over her as if she were his possession. He was the regent, not her father.
“I have enough of children’s meat.” She put her fork down with a clunk to illustrate her point, then counted the heartbeats before he would say something about her childishness.
One . . . two . . . three . . . four—
“You are still a child, as I am sure I do not need to remind you.”
Five. That was a poor score. He must be distracted. He deserved to work a bit harder for his presence here.
“It’s almost my birthday.”
“That’s true, but until that day, you are a child and you will not eat any organ meat. We must consider your health. You know that, Your Highness, and you need not bring it up. Your birthday will come soon enough.”
A chill crept over her back at his sideways glance and the change in tone of his voice: from harsh to something she couldn’t fathom. One thing she knew: after her birthday, nothing would be the same.
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