A young girl is born to the king on the distant world of Abennelp. Another child is born alongside her but dies. The king orders his daughter be given in secret to the dead child’s parents while the queen is told her own child perish.
That baby grows up to be Tiva Boon, daughter of a long line of Guardians to the King. Tiva is ambitious and tenacious and becomes the first female Guardian, the most elite of the king’s protectors. Over time, as Tiva rises through the ranks, a growing rebellion sweeps Abennelp. Tiva is willing to fight to the death for her king, who takes a special in her. The reader knows why even if Tiva never learns.
Jenn Nixon tells a story in three parts, beginning with Tiva on Abennelp. The the kingdom falls and alien influence becomes clear, she flees to another world that adopts her and helps her join the Union, an intergalactic entity that spans galaxies but only has a handful of member worlds.
The series has been described as Game of Thrones meets Star Trek, but the novel has a YA feel. If it has a shortcoming, it’s that the space opera elements do not really enter the story until about halfway through. Beyond that, Tiva is a compelling protagonist, and Nixon lays enough eggs to hatch later on in the series. This is one worth watching.