“Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1)” by Grace Draven

Maybe more like 3.5 stars, but I’ll round up for the reasons below.

This is an unfolding love story in a fantasy setting. Bristen is a member of the royal Kai family and heir to the throne, but far enough down the chain that he will never be king. Ildiko is the young noblewoman he is arranged to marry, whose only worth is being married off in a political alliance.

They discover they actually like each other – as friends. This is sort of a vague Beauty and the Beast re-telling, only both people view the other as the beast. To Brishen, Ildiko’s human eyes look like separate disgusting entities, parasites, moving around in her head. To Ildiko, Brishen is the stuff nightmares are made of, with his gray skin, long claws, a mouth full of sharp teeth, and glowing eyes..

But they appreciate each others honesty, humor, and intelligence, so they form a friendship and try to make the best of their marriage. Of course, since this is a romance, stuff happens, and things change.

I enjoyed the world-building in this. The Kai people were interesting to read about. I really appreciated the fact that there was no “virgin trope,” which most romances seem to have. Also, the two leads were friends first, and their platonic relationship was believable. Neither character was annoying or did stupid things. Again, that is always refreshing.

If you are looking for a more relaxed (slow-paced) intelligent fantasy romance with a slowly evolving relationship, this is for you. There is a dash of magic, although it was a bit under-developed, in my view. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, but nothing major. I am definitely interested in seeing what happens next in this world.

Review also found at: Goodreads

Original post:

Buddy read with my MacHalo freakazoids.

I don’t do fantasy romance very often, but this one looks like my kind of thing.



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