I enjoyed Shyla and Gavril's story, and I particularly loved Shyla. She's a true heroine, especially with how she fought to do the right thing even at great personal risk. Gavril's journey from a playboy king to the man finally willing to take the plunge to take back his throne was compelling.
That said, I had some reservations about Shyla as catalyst for everything starting to fall into place, mostly because I'm no longer a fan of the "heroine saves hero, leads him from the dark, and starts a new glorious age" trope. I would have enjoyed the story more if Gavril had found his allies himself and had been actively working to liberate his people from evil, with help from Shyla. As it was, I gave the "needed heroine to remind him to stand up and do what's right" some side-eye.
Even so, Gavril of Aquina was a good read and I'm looking forward to the next book.
A magical kingdom suffering under a vicious ruler desperately needs the king who vanished seven years ago.
For years, the people of Aquina have been crushed under the hand of King Lorcan. Gone are the times of peace and prosperity they appreciated under deposed king Varic Khalon, who vanished the night Lorcan took power. Most believe him dead. Only one man knows the truth.
Stripped of his magic and imprisoned, Varic never thought to see his kingdom again. But a twist of dark fate secures his freedom and he returns to the city he loves. Now calling himself Gavril, he finds himself with no home, no magic, no subjects, and no hope of reclaiming the throne, forced to survive any way he can. Until a chance encounter brings him face to face with the one person who may tip the scales in his favor.
Shyla de Aven has a single magical gift. She can sense magic in others. Not a very useful talent in a city where everyone has magical abilities. So when a wounded stranger literally stumbles into her, he presents her with a mystery she feels compelled to solve. He has magic, yet not. Determined to find the answer, Shyla helps the man. Only to discover they are far more connected than she realizes. And if the people of Aquina want their king returned, she will have to discover the key to unlocking his true power, all without losing her heart in the process.