For What It's Worth

Monday, March 30, 2015

Review: Radiance (Wraith Kings #1) by Grace Draven


21463865THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

Goodreads | Source: Purchased

Review:

I had so much fun reading Radiance. It felt like a throwback to old school romances where there were differences to overcome and a slow build romance - rather than miscommunications and wallowing in despair.

Both Brishen and Ildiko are from royal families but are expendable and not highly valued as anything more than disposable pawns. They are betrothed to each other in an arranged marriage for political purposes.They both understand that they don’t have free will to chose a love match and just hope for the best.

Brishen wishes for a woman who has some intelligence and is pleasant to talk to. A friendship would be wonderful but he expects no more than that. Ildiko’s greatest hope is that she doesn’t have to marry a guy who is basically going to rape her on the first night. But they get it and have accepted their lot in life.

I should also mention that Brishen and Ildiko are from different species and are absolutely repelled by each others looks. Ildiko thinks Brishen’s grey skin and black eyes make him look like a dead eel, while Brishen thinks her pale skin and human eyes make her look like a boiled mollusk. lol

Despite this, they forge a friendship, that slowly develops into something more, shocking them both. I loved how pragmatic they were. Never throwing temper tantrums about their fate, never going off half baked into a fight. There is mutual respect, honesty and trust between them. I LOVE reading that.

Their political  pairing doesn’t go according to plan for some and this puts them both in danger as politics, revenge and magic put them into danger.

Draven did an excellent job exploring the cultures and settings for the different races. Building tension – both sexual and political. I truly feared for both of them which is pretty rare for me. I kept going on Twitter and asking people who read this to assure me it would be ok. 

I’m a huge fan of committed couples, working together, and making big declarations of love in my romance. Brishen and Ildiko have the makings of an epic couple as the series continues.

25 comments:

  1. this book sounds good :) goes to add this to the reading pile.

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    1. I think you would enjoy this one Julie!

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  2. Sounds good! I love books that really flesh out the politics and culture...that's critical to great world building!

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    1. Me too. And it respected the differences between all the people while still having a political edge. Good stuff!

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  3. I wouldn't have pegged this as a great story because of the cover art. Epic couples are indeed very affecting

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    1. I only gave it a shot because of Twitter hype lol But it was really good! The cover kind of fits once you read it.

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  4. I soooo need to read a book by her

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    1. I hear her other books are great too.

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  5. I love the sound of this - old school romance. The fact that they're from different species and at first find each-other repulsive makes me smile and want to grab this one up for sure. I'm going to have to add this to my list. The slow buuilding romance is one of my favorites - and the world building sounds really interesting too.
    Thanks for the great review, Karen :)

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    1. It was such an interesting take. And the fact that they didn't act spoiled or mad about their fate was so interesting to me.

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  6. Oh I'm in the mood for a good fantasy. Dead eel? Boiled mollusk? ROFL! I think I may need to read this one.

    Oh and love the "bunny" pic! :D

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    1. It was so funny how they talked to each other at first. They like their personalities btu are totally repulsed by the looks.

      That's Indy from a few years ago :-)

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  7. Their committedness and working together sounds like a great pair

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    1. I LOVE that in romance. i wish we got to see more couples who were committed and working together.

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  8. I love that this wasn't all angst like so many of the romances seem to be these days (especially in YA!).

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    1. They have legitimate differences to work through but they do it. I really loved how pragmatic and kind they were - even in mad circumstances.

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    1. I can't wait for the next book! Am I the only one who is hoping for more about her brother?? I can't remember his name…hmmm

      He was evil but interesting.

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  10. Not in my normal reading range but I like committed couples doing the fighting together. Hmmmm future library read :)

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  11. This sounds too fantasy-ish for me but I'm happy you enjoyed it!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen at YA Romantics

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  12. This does sound like a great romance. I like that the couple isn't drop dead gorgeous and that they learn to work together and that this is without irritating stumbles. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  13. Fab review, Karen! I really enjoyed Radiance, as well, but I always love Draven's writing. Have you read her other books? Entreat Me and Master of Crows are amazing!

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  14. Everytime I seem to come on your blog, I always add the book to my TBR, I actually love the sound of the premise especially that very last line ! I'm probably going to end up reading this tomorrow lol but it's a series<3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

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    1. I think it ate the rest of my comment lol. I do trust your recommendations so hopefully this one works out for me :) Wonderful review.

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  15. OMG! LOOK AT INDY!! Love the ears.

    So, there's love near the end, even though they're repelled by each other at the beginning? Hum...sounds promising!

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