Series Title: Wraith Kings
Author: Grace Draven
Date Added: May 12, 2016
Date Started: May 21, 2017
Date Finished: May 24, 2017
Reading Duration: 3 days
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: February 2014
Shares Paradigms With: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy X, Beauty and the Beast, Norse Mythology (near the end), Welsh Mythology (during the Epilogue), ASOIAF
THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.
THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.
Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.
It’s been a long time since any book instantly engaged me and refused to let go. Even with books I instantly buy based on sample, I find something to stumble over, some aspect to balk me, or some piece that just doesn’t sit well. Not only did I fly through this novel, but the I instantly bought the second installment and read that in an even shorter time. I almost utterly ignored the final book in The Raven Cycle in my frenzy to absorb every word of this narrative, and I will now have to revise my prior declaration that Ms. Stiefvater’s books would be favorite series of the year. Oh, there’s no doubt I still hold them in high acclaim, but this quiet, self-published, paranormal romance with political intrigue has risen like cream to the top.
The story opens with Ildiko, a Gauri noblewoman and human (that detail is important) preparing for her wedding ceremony with no joy. She is the daughter of the king’s deceased sister and therefore the by law niece of the monarch and critical queen. She is, as the blurb states, “a noblewoman of no importance,” at least in terms of agency. She’s too highborn to be married to a commoner, but not royal enough to warrant a regal engagement. The young woman has known this her entire life, and it’s given her a keen, practical viewpoint without the trappings of pretension or frivolity. This is not to say she’s humorless. On the contrary, her wry, acerbic wit more than like grew from knowing and accepting her position. Ildiko was always aware she’d be married off in order to secure some political alliance and had no delusions that she was anything more than a clever pawn, but the young woman never suspected her bridegroom wouldn’t even be human…