Every teen hits a time in their life where they struggle to define who they are and what their place is in the world. Abby's struggle is a little more challenging than most. Not only is she perched between the worlds of every normal life and the elite society of Newcastle Beach, she is haunted by strange dreams that threaten danger if she doesn't understand their meaning in time.
The story of Sign of the throne envelopes two worlds, that of the world we all live in and the land of Cai Terenmare, a place of magic, destiny, and impending danger. The book opens in the land of Cai Terenmare and immediately drops readers into a well developed fantasy world. Ousley took great care creating a detailed system of magic, a deep history that effects every character, and an intriguing plot that takes the story into the human world.
I was almost sad to leave Cai Teremare when the story continued into the human world, but that only lasted until I met Abby, Jon, and David. From the first introduction, I felt connected to the characters. Abby is someone who's easy to relate to because of her likable personality and struggle to find her place and purpose. Jon was a fun addition to the cast. Not only did he provide comic relief at just the right time, he had a deeper side to his character that will endear him to readers. Even though he harbors romantic feelings for Abby, being her best friend comes first...well, most of the time. He's not perfect, so you can't expect him not to get a little jealous when the gorgeous David makes his entrance.
David isn't someone Abby knows, at least not in real life, but part of the haunting dreams she begins experiencing features David center stage. The dream seem to indicate that David plays a role in her life she doesn't yet understand. When they finally meet in real life, it isn't love at first sight. Not even close. Not only is Abby a little freaked out by the dreams, David has a girlfriend, kind of, and dreams of David are hardly the only unusual events that crop up. Abby is forced to face a whole host of terrifying magical creatures and situations that would put anyone on edge.
The storyline surrounding David's past and true identity, and how Abby fits into the twists and turns that have led them to this moment of decision is captivating. I kept turning pages, eager to know whether Abby would understand what she need to do in time and do it without losing those she cares about. The romance that develops between Abby and David is a draw as well. The romance was clean, but still had enough intensity to keep me eager for their next encounter.
The only area I had any trouble with were some sections where the explanations and backstories ran a little long and pulled me out of the main story too much. This happened mainly when the queen tells Abby about how the Sign of the Throne was recovered. Overall, though, the pacing and story arch were very well done. The characters was wonderfully written as well. I am excited to read the next installment of the Solas Beir Trilogy and continue Abby and David's story.