Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1) by Grace Draven
Series: Wraith Kings #1
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
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THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.
THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.
Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.
This was an adorable story. If you’d told me prior to reading this that I’d think a dude with gray skin and yellow eyes would be adorable, I’d have called you crazy. Yet here we are. Brishen was adorable. I loved the main conflict – that they’re different races and find each other hideous.
“You find me ugly, don’t you?”
“Hideous. A hag of a woman. And you? You don’t think me a handsome man?”
“Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father’s mace.”
She’s human and he’s Kai. They’re to be married at the edict of their respective kings. Neither is looking forward to being married to a monster. He calls her a hag and she calls him a dead eel. That may not sound like the makings of a great romance, but it was. I loved their banter and how they came to see each other in a different light.
Ildiko was strong and practical. I loved how she embraced her new life and kept an open mind. Brishen was kind and thoughtful, especially when it came to Ildiko. They made a great team together. Their romance was very sweet, despite their differences. I love how they chose to support one another, rather than being angry because they were forced into the marriage.
“You are also a princess of the blood through marriage, a member of the royal family. My wife. Every Kai in that room owes you their allegiance and respect. I will cut out any tongue that would try and besmirch you, Ildiko.” He pressed his lips to her palm. The tiniest crack appeared in her serene composure.
Her mouth twitched with the hint of a smile. “Or bury an axe blade in their heads?”
His guilt over his inability to rescue her from his own family eased a little at her humor. “I’m adept with spear and sword as well. Just name who you want me to skewer for you.”
The majority of the book is spent on Ildiko learning about Brishen and his people, as well as settling into her new life. While it could have been slow and boring, instead it was sweet and engaging. Early on Brishen and Ildiko decide they need to be a team if their marriage is going to work. I loved their solidarity and how adult and mature their romance was. Though there is some minor outside conflicts, that’s not the focus of this book and I loved it.
Brishen was adorable. Ildiko was perfect for him. Together they were unstoppable.
4.25 out of 5