I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Crown of the Queen by Jeffe Kennedy
Series: The Twelve Kingdoms #3.6
Published: 2016 by Solaris
Source: the author
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The Crown of the Queen by Jeffe Kennedy is a novella that takes place in between two fantasy romance trilogies in the Twelve Kingdoms world. You can find it in the For Crown and Kingdom duo with another novella by Grace Draven.
Actually, a novella isn’t quite the right word for it. I prefer to think of For Crown and Kingdom as an interlude rather than it’s own story. Daphne Mailloux is the royal librarian in Ordnung. She’s returning home, and everything has changed. The mad king Uorsin is dead. His daughter Ursula is next in line to the throne, but she’s having an existential crisis because she killed her father, and is putting off her own coronation. It’s up to Daphne to subtly advise the new queen and put all of the pieces in place for a coronation worthy of Ursula’s new reign.
It’s a relatively short book, and I enjoyed reading it, but it feels more like a teaser than an actual story. It’s a departure from Jeffe Kennedy’s usual work (even her short work) in that it doesn’t have a romance arc. We see hints of the fact that Daphne will have a future romance and some of what troubles may come to the kingdoms, but this story is really about the coronation and Daphne accepting her role as a royal adviser.
This book was a bit of an experiment for me, in the “my Kindle is dying so I’m going to try reading on the Kindle app on my phone” kind of way. That experiment taught me that while I can handle short ebooks on my phone, I much prefer a dedicated e-reader.
Thief With No Shadow by Emily Gee
Published: April 24th 2007 by Solaris
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Melke is a wraith, which means she’s got the magical ability to become invisible. Wraiths are feared by non-magical folk, because their power allows them to be expert thieves. Melke’s not really a thief, but when the fire salamanders ask her to steal a necklace in exchange for her brother’s life, Melke does what she has to do to save him. She steals a necklace from a man named Bastian, thinking it an ordinary trinket. But it turns out that the necklace is the key to breaking a curse on Bastian’s family, and so he hunts down Melke in an attempt to get it back.
Thief With No Shadow is a both a fantasy novel and a romance, and alternates between light-hearted predictability and more serious thematic content about what it means to sacrifice for others. I read it while camping with Mike and my family, and brought it along on a whim mostly so that I had a convenient excuse to make “but everything changed when the fire nation attacked” references. It’s a pretty light read and I stayed up late to finish it, but had mixed feelings about the plot. While the fantasy aspects of Thief With No Shadow worked for me, the romance did not.
The book’s biggest flaw, in my opinion, was that Bastian is a racist dick. He doesn’t see Melke as human for most of the book, and he treats her horribly. Yes, we see Bastian’s soft side when he’s around his sister, and he eventually has a redemption arc, but I don’t think that he can just be like, “Oh, by the way, everything I’ve said to you for the past few weeks? Let’s pretend that never happened. I am madly in love with you!” and not only be forgiven but find those feelings reciprocated. Melke is such a strong protagonist that seeing her with end up with Bastian was a bit of a let down. Usually when I read fantasy romance, I can at least root for the characters to end up together, but in Thief With No Shadow, that didn’t happen.