(Note: I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book contains brief scenes of non-consensual kissing and contact.)
Protagonist Song Liena begins Maiden of Candlelight and Lotuses as the “half-barbarian” daughter of a poor millet-farming family in the north of Zheninghai. The Songs’ fate is tied to that of each harvest, and Liena never stops worrying about her family, long after a vision derails her trip to the matchmaker. The law requires Liena attend the national Academy for magic users, which means she has a chance to better her parents’ and grandmother’s lives.