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Book Review: Radiance by Grace Draven

A while back, I put out a call for suggestions of fantasy romance. Someone mentioned Radiance, and I immediately put a hold on it with the library. I didn't read the synopsis, or look at any reviews. In fact, I pushed off reading it for months because--gasp!--I wasn't the biggest fan of the cover. They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but that's exactly what I did.

I was wrong.

Firstly, Radiance is not your typical romance. Not mine, anyway. I tend to pick more of an enemies to lovers or at least not-friends to lovers. This story was an arranged marriage between not only two kingdoms, but two species.

We meet Ildiko, the niece of a king of a race of humans, right before her wedding to a prince of a rival kingdom. Her union with the Kai kingdom is meant to bring peace and trade between the two species--even if her intended is hideous.

Ildiko meets Brishen before the wedding by accident. She escapes from her pre-wedding chamber into the garden, where she meets a Kai man. The two of them stare at one another and discuss how not attractive the other is, before parting ways. It's only at the wedding that the two discover the other is who they're going to marry.

What I love most about this story is that it was simply written and such a fast read. I devoured Radiance within two days, and found myself wanting to read even more about these characters and exploring more of the world.

Neither of the main characters had a choice in their arranged marriage, but I think what I loved most about it was that neither of them were bitter. They accepted their lot in life and actually made the best of it. Throughout the novel, Ildiko learns that the Kai are not brutish monsters, and Brishen learns that humans have more depth than he ever could have imagined.

By the end, I was rooting for them so hard my heart was fit to bursting. There is a sequel, and I will be reading it.

If you're looking for a sweet romance with some fantasy elements, check this one out immediately!

Thanks, Abbie


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