Royal Airs by Sharon Shinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book #2 in the Elemental Blessings series features Princess Josetta and her sister Princess Corene. When Corene flees her abusive stepfather, she is rescued by professional gambler Rafe Adova not too far from the shelter Josetta runs just south of the Cinque, the five-sided boulevard separating the nicer part of Chialto from the slums. That encounter is a turning point the lives of all three, as well as the start of an unexpected turn in the complicated politics of the nation.
I was grateful for the explanatory charts of characters, blessings, calendars, and money that Shinn includes at the start of the book. I referred to them time and again to help me keep track of the complicated relationships between characters, especially. It had been a while since I'd read the first book in the series, and the family connections are even more muddled now, thanks to revelations in Book #1 (Troubled Waters) as well as in the second half of Book #2.
For readers' advisors: setting and story doorways are primary, character secondary. One swear word, and the few sex scenes are nearly entirely offscreen.
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