Tag Archives: dark romance

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.


Other Reviews:

Bookworm Bunny Reviews: A Kingdom of FLame and Fury

A Kingdom of Flame and Fury

 

of visions and secrets banner

Book Review: Of Visions & Secrets, by Kathryn Ann Kingsley

I saw Kathryn Ann Kingsley‘s Of Visions & Secrets recommended over on Tiktok. So, I went to drop it on my Amazon wish list and happened to notice it was free that day. So, I nabbed a copy instead.
of visions and secrets cover

The darkness took Emma’s brother. Now it yearns to claim her.

When Emma Mather’s twin brother, Elliot, goes missing from Arnsmouth University, she is determined to stop at nothing to find him. Yet as she follows the clues left behind, she learns that there are far more sinister monstrosities lurking in the shadows of her city than she could have ever imagined.

Elliot’s former teacher, Professor Raphael Saltonstall, may be Emma’s only hope in finding her brother. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for Emma to realize Rafe is hiding secrets of his own. Despite the sizzling attraction between them, Emma isn’t entirely sure if Rafe is a friend or foe.

As two opposing cults hunt her down for their own twisted agendas, Emma finds tendrils of darkness closing in from all around. Pulsating Things live in the darkness…wriggling in eager anticipation to take her.

If they have their way, they’ll consume her mind, soul…and body.

This was a surprise winner for me. I enjoyed the heck out of it. I loved how up front and ready Emma was. She put her authentic self right out there for the world to see and I appreciated it. I thought the world Interesting and characters engaging. They’re all so marvelously morally grey. The writing is clean and easy to read and I’m invested in what happens next.

I did wish for a little more certainty on the fate of the brother…and admittedly more tentacle action than we were given. The story really is a little slow to get going and I thought Emma lost a little of her assertive spark as soon as the romance started to build. But I will certainly be continuing the series.

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Other Reviews:

the dark king banner

Book Review: The Dark King, by Gina L. Maxwell

I received a copy of Gina L. Maxwell‘s The Dark King through Netgalley.
the dark king cover

I thought a weekend away would be the perfect escape. Until I woke up married and trapped…by the king of the Dark Fae.

For Bryn Meara, a free trip to the exclusive and ultra-luxe Nightfall hotel and casino in Vegas should’ve been the perfect way to escape the debris of her crumbling career. But waking up from a martini-and-lust-fueled night to find herself married to Caiden Verran, the reclusive billionaire who owns the hotel and most of the city, isn’t the jackpot one would think. It seems her dark and sexy new husband is actual royalty—the fae king of the Night Court—and there’s an entire world beneath the veil of Vegas.

Whether light or shadow, the fae are a far cry from fairy tales, and now they’ve made Bryn a pawn in their dark games for power. And Caiden is the most dangerous of all—an intoxicating cocktail of sin and raw, insatiable hunger. She should run. But every night of passion pulls Bryn deeper into his strange and sinister world, until she’s no longer certain she wants to leave…even if she could.

Soooo, I didn’t love this. Granted, I didn’t hate it. But it elicited exactly zero feels from me or endeared itself to me in any way. Now, the writing is fine. It’s easy to read. The editing seems clean. So, this is largely a personal taste sort of ‘meh.’ I can acknowledge that it’s a finely written book, while also saying it wasn’t one to light me on fire.

I did actually like the characters. I especially liked that Bryn stands up for herself consistently. And the world seems interesting. My issues were that I just never truly felt Caiden and Bryn’s love. It’s instant and then we’re more told about it than shown it. I didn’t think that the BDSM aspects were well integrated into the plot. So, it always seemed to stand out to me as artificial. the dark king photoAnd it doesn’t live up to it’s own hype.

Caiden is supposed to be sooo dark and dangerous. He goes on and on about how she could never handle his kinks. Heck, the book is called The Dark King. But it’s actually quite sweet, the kink is on the mild side, and the book isn’t even that spicy, comparatively. So, I felt like it built up a promise it didn’t keep.

All in all, it’s a meh for me. I didn’t hate it. But I probably won’t remember it next week.


other Reviews:

One More Book: Review – The Dark King