Nightvine (The Gardener's Hand Book 2)

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Alizhan spent her life in service to Iriyat ha-Varensi as a mind-reading thief of secrets—until she uncovered Iriyat’s crimes. Possessed of both political and magical influence, Iriyat is almost untouchable. Alizhan has stolen a book that might prove Iriyat’s guilt, if only someone could read its encoded text.

Alizhan and her companion Ev leave the constant sun of their homeland to sail for the Nightward coast. They pin their hopes on His Highness Prince Ilyr of Nalitzva, a man rumored to understand any language, even one he’s never encountered. But Ilyr is not who he claims to be, and danger lurks in the long shadows of the glittering court.

Nalitzvan palace guards confiscate the book and throw Ev and Alizhan into prison. Their cellmate, a prickly and mysterious islander, offers to help them break free and steal it back. They reluctantly join forces and set off on a journey that will test their budding romance and take them farther into the Night as they race to stop Iriyat.

CONTENT WARNINGS AND TAGS

Warnings: emotional abuse (of a main character, while she’s a child, by a parental figure—mostly in backstory, but often referred to), manipulation/gaslighting (aided by magical memory alteration), physical violence, murder, torture (a character is beaten in prison before the story starts and remains seriously injured), homophobia, unethical experiments on children (referred to), prejudice (mostly against people with magic, but also there are references to prejudices based on ability, skin color, foreign nationality, religion, sex, sexuality), references to rape, a main character’s fears are not taken seriously by friends, alcohol, non-consensual drugging, kidnapping, betrayal, a character almost drowns

Tags: bisexuality, pining, F/F, M/M, M/F, F/F/M*, neurodivergent character, height difference, epistolary storytelling, female villains, family secrets, magic, mind-reading, sharing memories, altering memories, touch-based magic system, touch-starved character, secondary-world fantasy, made-up languages, translation, deciphering a code, spies, lies, intrigue, politics, conspiracies, the sun never sets, cross-dressing, genderfluid main character, fake date, infiltrating a fancy party, breaking out of prison, pulling off a heist, sea monsters, handholding, kissing, a brief sex scene (F/F), slow burn, trans supporting characters, supporting characters with physical disabilities, supporting characters who are sex workers, underground hot springs, weird religions, made-up plants, printing presses, polyamory

*The main romance of the trilogy is ultimately F/F/M (and the M in question is genderfluid)