I accepted a review copy of Alexis Calder’s Kingdom of Blood & Salt through Rockstar Book Tours. The book was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. After spending years training to defend my people from our enemies, I never expected that my enemy would be the one keeping me alive.
Athos is the last human city. A treaty with the Fae keeps the fae, the vampires, and the wolf shifters at bay, while we fight against the dragons at our border. Being a human in this world is dangerous and we all make sacrifices to survive.
When the delegation sent by the Fae King arrives to claim the human tributes required by our treaty, I never expected to forge a connection with their leader.
Ryvin is as dangerous as he is handsome. I know he’s my enemy, and I know I’m supposed to hate him, but with each passing day, he’s more difficult to resist.
But things are changing in Athos. Humans no longer want to bend to the Fae King.
Alliances blur and centuries of lies begin to unravel.
And I’m faced with a choice.
No matter how much I hate him, Ryvin might be the key to preventing war.
But it may mean sacrificing everything….
I’ve read several of Alexis Calder‘s books now. I pretty much knew what to expect going into this, so I was neither pleasantly surprised nor disappointed. The book was largely as I expected. Ara was as combative and strong-willed as any of the other Calder heroines I’ve read. Ryvin was as smug and domineering as any good alpha a-hole. The wring was just as readable.
While I did have complaints (which I’ll address in a moment), where this book shined for me was in the illustration of navigating complex and conflicting relationships with gray characters. (It’s one of the book’s themes, in fact.) There were several points in the book where a character was faced with having to decide what to do about loving someone who betrayed them (and being loved by them), protected them despite being an enemy, or had understandable reasons for abhorrent behavior. I enjoyed this aspect of the book a lot.
I did think that the book felt a little rushed and simplistic in the sense that the world is sketched out but not embellished. People exist, but the important cast is small. Emotions emerge, but the reader doesn’t get to see what they’re based on.
All in all, however, I’d happily continue the story. But I suspect, as has been the case with several of Calder’s books, I’ll probably forget before I manage to get my hands on the next book in the series.