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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

 

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Book Review: Yours and Mine, by A.E. Bennett

I accepted a review copy of A.E. Bennett’s Yours and Mine through Travelling Pages Tours. The series was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight.

yours and mine cover

She told a lie. He confirmed it. Now they’re secretly betrothed against their families’ wishes…

Lady Octavia Dorchester is the most desired young lady in the Realm. Now that she has twenty years behind her, society has deemed her ready to marry. Although she’s not enthusiastic, she promises to act like a proper lady and look for a good husband—just like her powerful father Lord Roman Dorchester wants.

Lord Gerald Verte has been painfully shy his entire life. He’s never been comfortable in society and lives in the shadow of his older brother, the imposing Lord Tristian Verte. Despite his desires to remain indoors and away from people, he promises his older brother that he won’t shame the family name, no matter how much his anxiety threatens to overwhelm him.

After sharing a dance at a ball held in Octavia’s honor, both she and Gerald know what no one else believes—it’s love at first sight.

When their respective family members object to the match, Octavia lies about their betrothal and Gerald corroborates her story. Raising the ire of both Lords Dorchester and Verte, Octavia and Gerald are torn apart and kept from one another until tragedy strikes.

my review
I really enjoyed this. Honestly, I’m always a little disappointed when an author has a chance to recreate society after some global devastation and chooses to recreate strict, oppressive gender hierarchies instead of equality. It says so much about humans that we’d rubber band back toward ignorance instead of widening our mindset. But Bennett does well with a heroine who has very forward thinking and rebellious attitudes. (Though one is left wondering where they came from if no one around her shares the ideals.)

But I adored Octavia. She saw what she wanted and went for it, societal opinions be damned. The ‘love’ was pretty instant though. And Gerald was just SO marvelously awkward and noble. I think it would be impossible not to adore the most cinnamony cinnamon roll to ever be written.

This is a novella—only 117 pages. So, it lacks world-building. Magic is mentioned, for example, that plays no roll in the story. One assumes it is relevant in the next book though. All in all, I finished this pleased and will happily read another Bennett book.


Giveaway:

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Yours and Mine by A.E. Bennett – Book review

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Book Review: Heir of Monsters, by G. Bailey

I received a copy of G. Bailey‘s Heir of Monsters as park of my September Supernatural Book Crate. Which, as an aside, I find hilarious, because last there was a book called An Inheritance of Monsters in the August box. I’m sensing a theme…that’s not a complaint. I’m all about the monster romance lately.

heir of monsters

A monster has stalked me.
But now I’m hunting him.

My job is to hunt monsters and I’m damn good at it—until a monster breaks into my apartment in the middle of the night and kidnaps me.

Turns out he isn’t just a monster.

He’s the Wyern king.

Wyern’s, a race feared by everyone, are known to be stronger than the fae who rule my world, and no one has seen them in years. The king needs my help to track down his missing sister from within a city his race is banished from and I’m the best he can find.

Only, he isn’t the only one looking for monsters in Ethereal City.

The Fae Queen’s grandson is missing.

Working for fae, monster or not, is risky. Most end up dead and I have too much to lose to end up as one of them.

I’m going to find the missing royals and be careful about it, especially with my grumpy boss breathing down my neck and watching my every move.

The Wyern King is cruel, cold, and unbelievably beautiful for a male… and my new enemy.

my review

I thought this was a middle of the road read. There wasn’t anything especially bad about it, but nothing wowed me either. I liked Calliophe a lot, the writing was readable, and the world seemed interesting. However, I was always a little vague on what made a monster a monster. I sensed this was more than just a non-human with scary features, but rather a going bad of some, turning them into monsters. But I’m not sure, and that’s the problem. Plus, the twist/villain was super predictable.

heir of monsters photoI also wasn’t particularly invested in the romance for most of the book. Emerson was just such a jerk for so very long and. When Calliophe suddenly ‘caught feelings,’ I was left wondering why. By the end, I at least accepted that they had feelings for one another. But I didn’t feel like, as a reader, I’d been party to them developing. And there is no spice, FYI. I saw this described as a slow burn, but there’s basically no romantic progression here.

So, as I said, middle of the road (with a pretty steep cliffie at the end). I’d probably read the next book if it passed my feed. But I’m not racing out to buy it.


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