My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Welcome to the world of Forgotten Empires from award winning author Jeffe Kennedy that begins with The Orchid Throne.
A PRISONER OF FATE
As Queen of the island kingdom of Calanthe, Euthalia will do anything to keep her people free—and her secrets safe—from the mad tyrant who rules the mainland. Guided by a magic ring of her father’s, Lia plays the political game with the cronies the emperor sends to her island. In her heart, she knows that it’s up to her to save herself from her fate as the emperor’s bride. But in her dreams, she sees a man, one with the power to build a better world—a man whose spirit is as strong, and whose passion is as fierce as her own…
A PRINCE AMONG MEN
Conrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, has built an army to overthrow the emperor. But he needs the fabled Abiding Ring to succeed. The ring that Euthalia holds so dear to her heart. When the two banished rulers meet face to face, neither can deny the flames of rebellion that flicker in their eyes—nor the fires of desire that draw them together. But in this broken world of shattered kingdoms, can they ever really trust each other? Can their fiery alliance defeat the shadows of evil that threaten to engulf their hearts and souls?
ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review.
I was hooked almost instantly to this book. A wonderful fantasy world with rich descriptions and a romance that builds up to a wonderful climax. Told from Conri and Lia’s perspectives, this book is for fans of Ash Princess. A kingdom controlled by a vicious tyrant, Lia, queen of the Orchid throne must maintain a facade of stupidity and meekness to keep the tyrant away from capturing her kingdom. When Conri, the slave king, sets out to her island, she prepares to catch him before he can reach her shores to use as leverage for her kingdom’s continued freedom and to earn the tyrant king’s trust, in hopes of literally stabbing him in the back. What she doesn’t prepare for is Conri’s proposition of marriage to create a new alliance that proves to the world that there is still more to be said then bending the knee to a false king. A wonderful story that truly addresses the question, “How far will you go to survive and protect those that you hold dear?”
Last of her family, she is the Queen of Calanthe with a strange…secret…that only her ladies in waiting know of partially. She shaves her head bald and spends hours having wigs glued to her head and makeup being painted on her body. I had wished that the reasoning was given more insight as opposed to being thrown into the story near the end, almost haphazardly. I am hoping that it will be discussed more in the sequel, perhaps a crucial element to defeating the tyrant king.
Once a prince to a beautiful kingdom, he is now known as the slave king after freeing the people from his country that were captured and enslaved to work the mines for a rock mineral known as vurgsten. This rock is highly explosive when used in battle, but after having mined it so long he is left with a rough voice and hard calloused hands. His right hand woman is Sondra, who once was a beautiful woman now hardened by the things she’s seen in the mines and experiences made to face.
Not for the younger ages of YA, the ending romance is very descriptive as Lia and Conri must consummate their marriage. Well written, but admittedly as awkward as one’s first time. Definitely more romance focused than action due to lack of large/complex plot. Very straightforward. I do look forward to a sequel!!!