Monday, March 30, 2015
Review: Radiance (Wraith Kings #1) by Grace Draven
THE 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
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.