Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn, 403 pages
"As one of the four princesses of Welce, Corene always thought she might one day become queen. Only circumstances changed, leaving fiery Corene with nothing to show for a life spent playing the game of court intrigue—until a chance arises to become the ruler of a nearby country. After stowing away on a ship bound for Malinqua with her loyal bodyguard, Foley, Corene must try to win the throne by making a play to marry one of the empress's three nephews. But Corene is not the only foreign princess in search of a crown. Unaccustomed to being anyone's friend, Corene is surprised to find companionship among her fellow competitors. But behind Malinqua's beautiful facade lie many secrets. The visiting princesses are more hostages than guests. And as the deadly nature of the court is revealed, Corene must rely on both her new allies and Foley's unwavering protection—for the game she has entered is far more perilous than she ever imagined..." I really enjoyed this story. I haven't read the first two books in this series but I definitely want to now. Not knowing anything about the world this is set in didn't hurt my understanding of this book though; it just fueled my desire for more. I'm pretty sure that this is my first adult book by Shinn, although I've read many of her YA novels. I think I like her adult books a little better, but I feel like she might be growing into a better YA writer as she goes.