Today Kim and I bring you a double review of Radiance by Grace Draven! This is the first in the series, and is way out of my normal genres I read! But we both gave it four stars, so that is saying something!
Series: Wraith Kings #1
Author: Grace Draven
Published: January 13, 2015
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.
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
I think Beccie and I have found our groove with Buddy Reads! And this time we brought Yami and Jessica along with us! I’ve heard good things about this book for a while. I’ll admit that it wasn’t what I was expecting; that’s the only reason I gave 4 stars. When I read a romance book, I like smut. This book didn’t have much. But, for a romance book, the plotline was deeper than I expected. And I enjoyed it! I definitely plan on reading more of the series. I also liked the characters. Brishen was pretty stereotypical, but Ildiko surprised me. I really liked her. Normally, I’m not a fan of female characters, but she was likable and consistent. She wasn’t stupid nor did she behave stupidly. Even the villain was beautiful and terrifying and I enjoyed hating her! Overall, an excellent example of quality fantasy romance!
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Dates Read: June 23-July 6, 2022
Format Read: Kindle e-book
This one was a buddy read with Beccie, Yami, and Kim. Though I was the slow reader of the group as they all finished it within a few days of starting! Radiance was very much out of my comfort zone with reading in both Fantasy and Romance genres, I did not know what I was going to think of it. Surprise for me: I actually enjoyed it!
We have two people Ildiko and Brishen who are from different species that are forced to marry for their peoples. Brishen is the ‘spare heir’ of no importance who is Kai and Ildiko is of Human royal blood, but also not of enough importance. It is a marriage bound together for a treaty. Both find each other physically revolting, and their first meeting is entertaining at times.
We get to see the differences in the two species both physically and how they live and what they even eat. ( A strong dislike for potatoes for Brishen and for Ildiko as she discovers scarpatine pie… This is something no human would ever want to eat!) But out of their marriage of convenience comes a respect for each other which leads to friendship and humor and eventual love . It is a slow burner romance, so don’t go looking for smut right away because you won’t get it. They are both smart and very mature which this makes a good love story!
There isn’t much that goes on in the story until closer to the end and then we get some action! It seems that Draven is saving the action for the second in the series, which I will be reading.
I really liked Ildiko and Brishen, but his mother…well… You will just have read Radiance to see… His mother is truly a piece of work….
For a novel that is out of my genre, I think four stars is a very good review, and the fact that I will be starting the second says something. Maybe I really am starting to expand my horizons in reading.