I purchased an e-copy of Grace Draven‘s Radiance.
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.
This was a surprise winner for me. Granted, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be a dark read. But it’s actually super sweet and relatively low-angst. And normally, that’s not a combination that works for me. I like some grit in my fantasy. But I also appreciate a practical heroine, and Ildiko is a strong one. And Brishen is just so marvelously noble. Watching them become friends and supports to one another before lovers was nice.
There was also humor, interesting side characters (who are obviously the couple for a future book), an interesting world, and a slow-burn, low-spice romance. I enjoyed the heck out of it.
As much as I liked the above aspects of the book. I did feel a tad bored at times. There isn’t a lot of action, and most of what action there is is packed toward the end. And the villain is a little cliched. All in all, though, I look forward to reading book two.