Series: Wraith Kings #1
Published: 13 January, 2015 by Grace Draven
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
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Since the next of the Four Horsemen books hasn’t come out yet, my monster romance book club decided to try another new-to-us author. And I’m so glad that we did! Our goal was to find a monster romance book (sci-fi or fantasy) where the monster is a little bit more of a monster and not just a boy with supernaturally pretty abs. Radiance was a success.
Radiance is a fantasy novel about an arranged marriage between two different cultures. Ildiko is Gauri nobility, but not in the direct line to inherit the throne of her country, so she’s a good choice to be married off to seal an alliance with the Kai. And Brishen is the second son of the King and Queen of the Kai.
As Ildiko prepares for her wedding, she’s not sure what to expect, but she knows that this marriage is her duty and she’s going to have to make the best of it. She goes outside to the garden and meets a Kai man. She’s quite disturbed by his appearance, because he’s tall and dark and nocturnal and has claws and razor sharp teeth. And he thinks she’s hideous, thinks her eyes are freaky, and compares her skin tone to a shellfish. But the two find it easy to talk to each other, because they share a sense of humor and have a similar outlook on the world. And when Ildiko discovers that the Kai man she met was none other than Brishen, she’s delighted.
One of the things that I loved about Radiance is that from the very start of the story, Ildiko and Brishen are a team. They respect each other and are very good friends. The romance aspect of the book develops gradually and over time. The moment in the garden wasn’t instalove, but rather the start of something that develops into a romantic relationship over time. And the physical attraction between the two characters is something that happens as they get to know each other better and face tough situations together. The conflict of the book is primarily external, rather than intrinsic to the relationship. Ildiko is moving from her homeland to the Kai court, and that comes with its own intrigue and danger.
I *loved* this book, because I’m a sucker for romance novels that feature healthy relationships, fantasy worlds, and court intrigue. Off to read the next one!