Prince Kai has been learning magic for years despite being a half light; his ability to glean amongst a few is astounding. However, when he thinks he’s old enough to take it, he insists on revisiting the memories of his mother’s death, despite warnings from Kendra. He receives her guidance and returns to that hidden part of his memory. This leads to a major turn of events in his espionage life as a Diu prince. His finesse at wielding his ability could pass him for a Katori. On the other hand, he has made trouble by alerting every Katori of his whereabouts as well as his existence, when he tries to reach out to his mother, who he thought was dead, but is alive.
On the other hand, he must marry Amelia, whereas being in love with another half light – Rayna, choosing between love and duty. Kai gets entangled in this world of deceit, duty, and depths of a hidden people who know nearly everything, including his half-heritage, but he doesn’t know them. Faced with the realization that he might not be half light as he once thought, but a Katori, Kai goes through a form of self-discovery in a bid to seek his long lost mother and learns of the guardians as well as the impending sickness that must take him as well as his friend and love, Rayna at seventeen if they don’t heed a call to seek themselves as Katori.
In Mariana’s secret, we explore Prince Kai’s life learning under Riome, the spy, and his estranged relationship with his stepmother, Nola, and his father, King Iver. This book unearths the foundation of lies and half-truths Kai grew up on. It’s a book of secrets. It doesn’t just harbor layers of secrets but goes into detail to slow build-up and a sprinkle of suspense here and there, especially towards the middle of the novel. It is a vast novel that can be finished in one sitting.
There is a thing to learn about in each of the characters woven, lacking pettiness and directionless squabbles that you might find in a few other books. For instance, Amelia and Tolan are in love, in the reverse Prince Kai finds a soul mate in Rayna, but Kai is betrothed to Amelia. Meanwhile, Tolan and Kai are friends. Tolan is an honorable and nobleman, which showed true in the attack at Port Anahita. I mean, Kai was an obstacle to the romance between Tolan and Amelia, instead, Tolan fought for his prince and his people – the true mark of a king. He even got a reward for it (not on purpose). However, this book isn’t a rom-com so we should just focus on the espionage and the underlying magical world we all aren’t supposed to know about.
Mariana’s secret isn’t just another book in a series. It is a book that places value on responsibility and if you’re facing some midlife crisis yourself, you might want to learn a thing or two on that. I mean, you can learn how to be a reasonably filial prince to his charismatic and evil stepmother, while talking your way out of marrying into a loveless marriage. It even teaches you the importance of ambition and passion in the case of Riome, who isn’t your ordinary spy.
“Don’t waste my time,” she huffed, “prince or not. You are full Katori, and about to turn seventeen, now that is a concern. The timing is terrible. Remember, I lived there for over a decade. I know all their secrets. And I do mean all of them.”