by Grace Draven
Released: January 11th 2015
Series: Wraith Kings #1
Published by Grace Draven
“…a romance that steadily developed from an unlikely friendship to something that burned a lot hotter. ”
~ Under the Covers
Two unwanted royals, Ildiko niece of the Gauri king and Brishen prince of the Kai are to marry. Their value to their people only what they bring with their marriages. The Gauri and Kai are two vastly different races, and yet Ildiko and Brishen somehow manage to see beyond the superficial differences and something beautiful soon begins to grow. But, there is more to their marriage then just them and not everyone wishes the couple success…and they’re willing to do anything to break them apart.
I can’t believe I almost missed this book! It was just so unexpected, I admit I started to judge the book by the cover a little bit, which made me hesitant about reading. And if I had followed through on that impulse I would have been robbing myself of this exceptional read. Although, the cover is starting to grow on me, at first glance it looks like some of that really bad computer art, but then you actually look at it properly and realise actually, it’s quite lovely. So, there’s another lesson for me about judging books by their covers.
At heart, this book is a romance, it does have some political plots in the background and some world building, but in Radiance, Draven concentrates on the relationship between Ildiko and Brishen. They are both completely different, Ildiko is considered beautiful by her people, and yet a hag by Brishen people’s standards and Brishen looks like a creature from a nightmare to Ildiko, yet in his own culture he is considered very handsome. This book looked at the way they overcame their own perceptions of beauty to see a little deeper. The result of which was a romance that steadily developed from an unlikely friendship to something that burned a lot hotter.
Draven made the journey from strangers, to friends, to lovers a very natural transition and I couldn’t help but really love both characters. Both Ildiko and Brishen are overlooked by their own cultures and so despite their many differences, they also find they have a lot in common, making the basis of their friendship seem very real.
As this book focused on the romance and relationships, the world and story building was kept at a fairly light touch. What was there I did enjoy and although it may have been nice to add a bit more politics to increase the amount of intrigue, I was absorbed enough by the romance that I didn’t miss its absence. It also made Radiance quite a light and easy read leaving a lot for Draven to explore with us readers in future books in this series. Future books that I very much intend on reading.
I highly recommend this book, especially if you already enjoy Fantasy Romance, it was an unexpected delight and I now fully plan on reading Grace Draven’s entire back list.
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Annnnnd I will stop myself there, before I start waxing lyrical about my love of historical romance and fantasy as well; no one needs to know about my elf fantasies. As you can tell, I adore and day dream about most romance genres, and my three big loves are 1) reading about romance 2) writing about romance and 3) talking about romance with my gals. Which, is why I love Under the Covers so much, I get all my bookish needs satisfied and don’t get judged when I talk about my favourite characters like they are real people. Which they are right?