Why this one: See below
Steam Level: Luscious, not too hot, not to cold
Grade: 5 out of 5
My Thoughts: Do you ever have those books that seem to be fated to be read? Such is the case with this one. It kept coming up on Amazon as a recommended read it I had read such and such a book. It was mentioned on message boards. When I did look it up on both Amazon and GoodReads, its siren song began to call – barely heard at first, but every time I saw it anywhere, its call became louder until I could no longer resist its call.
I’m very glad it called to me, very glad.
This is a wonderful story of two rather throw away people who were put together for political reasons. Brishen is a warrior and prince, the second son or the spare of the race of Kai. They aren’t quite human and they look very different. Their skin is grey and their eyes are very different than human eyes. They live at night and sleep during the day. Ildiko is the impoverished niece of the king of the Gauri, a human race. It was determined that the two of them marry to shore up a political alliance – marry sight unseen. They run into each other before the wedding and in a very sweet and funny scene, the each agree they find the other one repulsive. It’s not meant to be insulting, more of a matter of fact admission. But what is rather cute is Brishen is very attractive to fellow Kai and Ildiko is very attractive other humans.
But this meeting and honest assessment of each other is the basis of a growing deep friendship. Brishen becomes very protective of Ildiko, defending her against his vile family and protecting her from those who would attack her because of the political intrigue resulting from their marriage. Ildiko, on her part, does everything she can to immerse herself into Kai culture and become a helpmeet to her new husband. There is an ever growing respect for each other and I loved the dynamics between the two. This is a true story of friends first and then developing romantic because the friendship does turn deeper and they both see the inner beauty in the other and they slowly fall in love.
I loved this book – simply loved it. I liked that the conflict came from outside, not from the hero/heroine. They are united throughout the story. It made very much for an ‘us against the world’ kind of feeling. Though there is a great secondary character, Brishen’s cousin and a warrior in her own right. She is devoted to Brishen and slowly sees that Ildiko is a true mate for him, even though she does come from a different race entirely. Both Brishen and Ildiko are wonderfully written. Brishen is a warrior, but he is also very sharp when it comes to the machinations around him. He’s attentive, protective, and gentle and all that is good to Ildiko and eventually he’s even jealous when he realizes how attractive she is to others. And Ildiko is tender, understanding, compassionate towards Brishen and fierce when it comes to protecting him.
They are in fact perfect for each other. While the story did end, and happily so, there is a final little bit that leaves it open for another book and in fact this is called Book 1 in the Wraith Kings. I shall be happily waiting for the next one. In the meantime, I have Master of Crows and Entreat Me by this author to help in the wait. And then of course, I’ll have to reread this one again when the next in this series comes out.
And one final point, I just LOVE the covers of her books. Part of the call to me of Radiance was the cover. And Master of Crows and Entreat Me also have what I feel are great covers. So kudos to the artist too.