Tag Archives: fantasy romance

Book Review: The Unseelie Prince, by Kathryn Ann Kingsley

I received a copy of Kathryn Ann Kingsley‘s The Unseelie Prince in last month’s Supernatural Book Crate.the unseelie prince coverThe throne is Valroy’s for the taking…but first, he needs a queen.

As the son of the Morrigan and heir to the vacant Unseelie throne, Valroy itches to shed the mantle of prince and take his place as King. To his great regret one ancient tradition stands in his way, demanding he first take a bride. With all the members of the Unseelie court proving to be insufferable, what is a prince to do?

Steal a human, of course.

Abigail often wonders if the townsfolk aren’t right in calling her cursed. Abandoned by her husband and with no family to call her own, everything in her life hangs by a thread. Never did she except her downfall would come by taking pity on an old hermit. Abducted into the dangerous world of Tir n’Aill, Abigail is thrust into a terrifying maze that defies all logic. There, she finds herself at the mercy of an Unseelie prince with a strange offer—survive his maze and he’ll give her the solution to all her problems…

If she can live that long.my reviewI am 100% torn about how I feel about this book. On one hand I love old-school fae who don’t conform to mortal norms and morals. They’re basically my favorite kind. And that’s Valroy in a nutshell. However, on the other hand, this is supposed to be a romance. And the romance aspect of this fell really flat for me.

Sure, I get anti-heroes. I understand dark romance. And I saw that Valroy’s attitudes were changing over the course of the book. But the fact remains that he legitimately didn’t care if she lived or died for the majority of the book. And that does not equal any sort of romance in my mind. So, for me, it was a fail on that front.

But there is the undeniable third hand in which I am curious to see where the story goes from here. So, I’m going to call this a middle-of-the-road read and hope that the romance strikes my fancy a little more in book two. the unseelie prince photo


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The Unseelie Prince Book Review

February 2022 Wrap Up

 

a kingdom of flame and fury

Book Review: A Kingdom of Flame and Fury, by Whitney Dean

I accepted a review copy of Whitney Dean‘s A Kingdom of Flame and Fury through R&R Book Tours. The Book was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for an excerpt, author information, tour schedule, and (if you hurry) a chance to win a copy of the book.

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At ten years old, Raven was mysteriously willed to be the next ruler of Seolia, a kingdom nestled within the realm of The Four Kingdoms. Orphaned as a baby, she has spent fifteen years ruling over a kingdom she believes she did not earn all while hiding secrets: she possesses dark magic and she thirsts for blood. Now at almost twenty-five years old and with a sudden addiction to stealing life, Raven must fight through her new procured darkness to save her soul, but when a mysterious stranger arrives in her kingdom, she starts experiencing vivid dreams that detail who she truly is. As she slowly starts to unravel her story, what she uncovers at the end of the spool will change the course of her life and her kingdom forever.


my review

I went into this book with such high hopes. But it honestly just strangled them, one extra page at a time. I’ll give the author that the writing is mechanically competent, editing pretty clean, and the world is interesting. I didn’t even hate the characters. But the book is far, far, far too long for the plot that it contains. The middle just draaaaaaags and then the whole thing finishes on a cliffhanger. So, there’s not even any payoff after sticking with it until the end.

I might have been able to tolerate that if it wasn’t paired with constant whiplash changes in character attitudes and behaviors. “I won’t do this.” Does it. “You can’t do that” Does it. “I’ll do the thing.” Doesn’t do it. “I love this man.” Hates same man. “I don’t sexually love this man.” Has sex with him. Back and forwards, back and forwards, back and forwards, back and forwards. I’m talking a full half of this book is just characters flipping between opposing attitudes/opinion/actions. And I was just completely done with it far before the book was done with me. Yes, I understood that the author was trying to show that the characters were conflicted, but it just felt contradictory and exhausting.

Even the narrative is contradictory. Here’s an example. The reader is told no one ever goes in the woods and there is virtually no crime on the island. Raven walked into the woods and was immediately accosted by a serial rapist. If no one goes in the woods and there’s almost no crime, he’s two rarities at once. He contradicts two pillars of the world as the reader has been told it exists. Exhausting.

Further, this is labeled a dark romance. I don’t think it’s a dark romance. It’s a freaking tragedy. I recognize the elements that Dean was trying to paint as dark romance. But it’s just toxic, abusive behavior without enough shading to make it an actual dark romance. Lastly, and this

a kingdom of flame and fury

              Special edition cover

one was just an annoyance, but it really annoyed me. Nothing about Raven—her situation, her attitude, her demeanor, her kingdom, her training, her history, her interactions with others or them with her—felt queenly. Nothing. The book isn’t even clear on what she rules. Was it a country, an island, a town, or a village? Village is used more often than anything else. So, she’s queen of a village? Linguistically, it doesn’t even make sense.

I think this book will find an audience. Exhausting whiplash aside, most aspects of it aren’t bad. I am just apparently not that audience.


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Bookworm Bunny Reviews: A Kingdom of FLame and Fury

A Kingdom of Flame and Fury

 

the librarian and the orc banner

Book Review: The Librarian and the Orc, by Finley Fenn

I picked up a freebie copy of Finley Fenn‘s The Librarian and the Orc after seeing the series recommended on Tiktok. It’s third in the Orc Sworn series, but I was assured it could be read as a stand alone.

the librarian and the orc cover

He’s a fierce, ferocious, death-dealing beast. And he’s reading a book in her library…

In a world of recently warring orcs and men, Rosa Rolfe leads a quiet, scholarly life as an impoverished librarian — until the day she finds an orc. In her library. Reading a book.

He’s rude, aggressive, and deeply terrifying, with his huge muscled form, sharp black claws, and cold, dismissive commands. But he doesn’t seem truly dangerous… at least, until night falls. And he makes Rosa a shocking, scandalous offer…

Her books, for her surrender.
Her ecstasy.
Her enlightenment…

Rosa’s no fool, and she knows she can’t possibly risk her precious library for this brazen, belligerent orc. Even if he is surprisingly well-read. Even if he smells like sweet, heated honey. Even if he makes Rosa’s heart race with fear, and ignites all her deepest, darkest cravings at once…

But surrender demands a dangerous, devastating price. A bond that can’t easily be broken. And a breakneck journey to the fearsome, forbidding Orc Mountain, where a curious, clever librarian might be just what’s needed to stop another war…

my review

I am in a really odd place in reviewing this book. I liked the writing and the premise. I think the series seems interesting (in a totally over the top ridiculous sort of way) and I’m interested in reading more of it. But I didn’t like this book. But Sadie, why would you want more then? I don’t, not more of the same anyway. But one would presume every book in the series can’t be exactly the same.

What I disliked about this book was the characters. I thought he was an alpha a-hole for far too long. So, by the time he stopped and showed his softer side, it was too late. (Even if I appreciated that he valued her intellect as much as her deep throat.) I never could come around to like him. And I thought she was a limp dishrag and a doormat. Yes, I saw that Fenn was allowing them to both have been crafted by their past traumas. Yes, I saw that Fenn was allowing for flawed characterization (saying cruel things you don’t really mean, when angry, for example). Yes, I saw that Fenn was allowing their broken pieces to fit together in to a stronger whole. I saw it. But I didn’t enjoy it.

I feel like Rosa’s scrabbling, scrambling, desperate need to please her master just felt like an abused woman keeping her abuser happy as a means of self-protection (which she’d done her whole life, yes). But I felt like there was no growth past this. Instead it was just eroticized and John took advantage of it for his own gain. Yes, yes, I know that’s not how Fenn meant it. But the librarian and the orc photothat’s how it felt to me and I didn’t enjoy reading it. I almost DNFed more times than I can count.

So, I’ll probably give another book in the series a try. But this particular one was a failure for me. (I much preferred The Sorceress’s Orc.) It did stand alone though. I read it without having read any of the previous books and the only confusion I had was the fact that orcs only bare sons and I didn’t know why. I just had to accept it as the way of things.


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