Zoe Ardelay's father has just died. She has barely had time to mourn his passing when a stranger arrives in the village and tells her she is to come with him to marry the king and become his fifth wife. When they arrive in the city Zoe decides to escape from the King's advisor and strike out on her own, to discover what is really going on. She camps at the river until she discovers that she is the Prime of the Lalinder family, one of the five most powerful families in the kingdom. She must figure out her new role while trying to navigate the court intrigues.
Power and religion is based around the elements. While each person identifies with a particular element, there is emphasis on being in balance with all of the elements. I liked when people needed guidance, or at important life moments, they would go to one of the temples and draw a random blessing; a coin with a glyph of a certain blessing on it. This is not a definite foretelling of the future, but it gives people general guidance.
Sharon Shinn is one of my favorite authors, and does not disappoint with the first book of this series: The Elemental Blessings. I felt immersed in this world. I loved all the details that are given. There are traits and blessings that determine each person's personality and partly reveal their fate. It was a different approach to a fantasy world that was well done and absorbing to read. I very much enjoyed rereading this book, and cannot wait to read the next book in the series Royal Airs.