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Fantasy Romance Review: Radiance by Grace Draven

Radiance by Grace Draven (Wraith Kings #1)

Ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads

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.


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.

 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | Smashwords


* * *
 Grace Draven indisputably writes some of the most exquisite fantasy romances I've ever read, and Radiance is no exception.

 There is a particular blend of romance, sensual heat, humour and down-to-earth ruthless practicality I love so much in this genre. Amy Raby has it, Elizabeth Vaughan has it, and so is Miss Draven.

Two separate races.

Brishen is a warrior prince of Kai, a spare to the heir, black as night, with sharp claws and fangs, he lives a nocturnal life, possesses an alien spark of magic and seems like a stuff of nightmares to a Gauri beauty he has to wed for a profitable trade treaty between Kai and Gauri.

Pale skinned and red haired Ildiko is a quiet and sensible cousin to the royal family of Gauri, whose only worth is in being married to the right man to make the kingdom even more prosperous. Behind Ildiko's quiet facade hides a sharp mind and a wicked sense of humor, and while Brishen thinks of her as an ugly creature with horse teeth, they make each other laugh and they smoulder in bed, which is a great start to a very strange marriage.

 Ildiko immerses herself into Kai's traditions and language and both her and prince manage to escape the poisonous reach of Brishen's sociopathic mother to go back managing his estate, but there is another danger on the horizon among the intrigues of the enemy state which won't stop at anything to break the treaty between Kai and Gauri.

This is a very fast read with a surprising depth to its characters which reveals itself in the most stressful of situations. The world-building is simple, but effective and colourful, and the epilogue is explosive and leaves the reader dying to find out how Brishen and Ildiko fare in the next book in this series. I loved it, recommended! 

* * *
 Грэйс Дрэйвен безусловно пишет одни из лучших романов фэнтэзийного жанра. Она создаёт определённую смесь романтизма, чувственности и рассудительности героев, которую я так люблю: она есть у Эми Раби, у Элизабет Воган, и несомненно присутствует у мисс Дрэйвен.

Бришен - принц-воин, младший брат наследника престола Кай, которым королевская семья готова пожертвовать ради союза с Гаури. Ильдико  - кузина королевской семьи Гаури, значимость которой зависит от брака, что она может заключить во благо своей страны.

Две различные расы. Бришен - тёмный как ночь, с длинными когтями и клыками, ночным образом жизни, с искрой странной магии присущей его народу, кажется монстром из кошмаров своей невесте. 

Ильдико с её бледной кожей, рыжеволосая красавица с острыми чувством юмора и прагматичным характером Бришеном сравнивается с уродливым существом с лошадиными зубами.
Однако оба заставляют друг друга смеяться, и в постели искры между ними так и сыпятся, а это признайтесь, не такая уж и плохая основа для государственного брака.

Ильдико полностью погружается в язык и культуру Кай, и по обоюдному согласию парочка тихо удирает с глаз долой от ядовитой социопатки, матери принца. Однако тихой жизнью долго им наслаждаться не приходится ибо враги из соседнего королевства готовы пойти на всё, чтобы разрушить союз между Гаури и Кай. 

Книга читается быстро и легко, герои постоянно удивляют неожиданными сторонами характера, а построение мира, хоть и простое, но яркое и эффективное. Эпилог вообще взрывной и заставляет читателя умирать от любопытства в ожидании следующей книги серии. Читайте, советую!
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