Kamis, 08 Oktober 2015

Review: Radiance by Grace Draven


Title : Radiance
Author : Grace Draven
Languange : English
Publisher : Grace Draven
Length :  180 pages
Published: June 2013
Format : E-book
Target : Adult

Genre : Fantasy Romance
Series : Wraith Kings #1
Web: Click here
Buy : Kobo ; Smashword

Sinopsis :



~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.


 Review


Note: This review is copied from my Goodreads review with some editing. If you find any mistake in grammar and structure, please kindly email me at : sawamura_foxman AT yahoo DOT com , so I can correct it. Thanks! :) .

"What is it, Ildiko?" he asked. What do you see?"

His question acted as a catalyst, breaking a spell that held him beguiled and her enthralled. She open beneath him; not just her body. All of her. He sensed it in every part of him.

She twined her arms around his neck and tilted her head until her lips brushed the corner of his mouth. "My beautiful husband," she said. "I see a radiance."

I just realize when it comes to a book that have so many raving reviews, I always read it too late. I know, I know, but I have my reason. Reading a book that my friends praised over and over will make a high expectation. And if there was a thing that I hate, it's high expectation. Because if I end up dislike the book, it's like my hope was crushed, I don't know what's wrong with me because why my friend love it but I'm not, and my world had ended.

Right, those reasons are exaggerated, lol! Reading a book with a good rating is like how to trust yourself to read it, put aside your expectation and it's not easy. But, in the end you will be glad that you give it a chance to read, even the result might be opposite.

Enough with the chit chat anyway! Let's go to the review :)

Radiance once was a free read serial in Grace Draven's web, much more like Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews. Since I don't like to wait and often forget to read currently ongoing serial, I'm waiting until the serial was done and its pulled into published. What pulled me at first is...the cover! Yeah, some reader maybe will find it cheesy, but I really love it. I like how the artist, Isis Souisa draw both MCs, Ildiko and Brishen in the traditional pose (aka embracing each other). But, instead like what I can expect from a fantasy romance or bodice ripper kind of book when the woman in the deep of throes or the man topless (haha), this cover is against them. Add it with an intriguing book blurb and I'm sold already.

It's true with what Elizabeth Hunter (one of my favorite author!) said in the blurb. Radiance indeed break some of old tropes, especially romance in particular. Both Ildiko and Brishen are people of no importance. Ildiko is not a princess, just a niece of Gauri's king and her will-be husband is a second son even he's a prince of the neighbor kingdom Kai. Since Brishen's brother much more like Prince William, so the throne of Kai is already secure. Marriage of convenience is, of course a same old - same old trope, especially when it was done for political purpose. Ildiko and Brishen supposedly to be tortured and miserable with this marriage. Yet, what happen is..., totally opposite.

Ildiko and Brishen found that each other appearance are ugly. Ildiko think that Brishen resembled a wolfish man with skin like a dead eel and Brishen think Ildiko's pale skin reminded him with a mollusk. He also see that her teeth make her look like a horse. Funny that this kind of difference perspective can be used as humor that make me smile. Often I read a book with marriage of convenience trope when the h/H totally despised each other, then some drama and angst that follow will make me rolling my eyes. The way Ildiko and Brishen face their marriage is so positive, it's make me already like their personality and I know that I will enjoy the rest of the story.


"A hard pounding on the door warned them their private meeting was over. Brishen presented his arm to Ildiko. "Ready to get shackled, madam?"

She rested her hand in the crook of his elbow. "Try not to smile too widely, Your Highness. You'll scare the children in the crowd"


The difference between Kai and Gauri culture also written well and often hilarious. Such as Brishen who found that potato is disgusting and Ildiko who must restraint herself from puking when eating scarpatine (like some kind of insect). I will puke when eat it too, anyway. The Kai court also full of gossips and they are not friendly to Ildiko, especially Brishen's mother, Secmis. I think all women must deal with her mother in law, but this in law of Ildiko is a scary and domineering Queen, Brishen already warn Ildiko to be careful of her.

Now, let's talk about the romance part, shall we? Since romance play a big part in Radiance. Ildiko and Brishen relationship start as platonic and again, this is so fresh. No, there's no sexual tension at first. Both Ildiko and Brishen were not fallen in lust for each other, since they are so revolted with their appearance. Even after married, they didn't consummated their marriage and Brishen respect Ildiko to do so. Their romance is slow, but sure. Draven build their relationship based on friendship and respect, and believe me, this is what I said as rare in romancelandia. Some readers who like drama and angst might be disappointed, but me? I really, really love to see when author wrote both hero and heroine as equal.

But, doesn't mean that readers will find vanilla sex or fade in black scene in Radiance. I tell you, that's soo wroooong. With platonic relationship as first, Draven slowly build the sexual tension in the middle part of the book. And when it's happen, wowza! Draven didn't disappoint. My kinky and smutty side really - really approve, lol. The scene is so hot, but also full of tenderness and love. Draven sure can write a good sex scenes that can balance the heat of passion and acceptance.

From the fantasy side, I can tell that Radiance fall into light fantasy. Not high, mind you, since the world building is much simpler even the names of characters, deity, culture and places can be hard to pronounce sometimes. Also no map, and one of my big pet peeves in fantasy is a map. No glossary either. The conspiracy in the Kai court also not too complicated, still easy to read and understand. Anyway, another characters also play big part, such as sha-Anhuset, Brishen's cousin who is also his commander and become a guardian of sort for Ildiko. If Ildiko must face Secmis wrath, barb poison and hatred toward her, in Anhuset, she find protection, respect and friendship. Nice to read that another woman characters is not a mistress or an ex-lover that will bring more drama. There was also Sevorek, lord of Beladine that become Brishen's friend and ally, in which Brishen almost afraid that Ildiko will choose Sevorak over him. But of course, that did not happen.

Tbh, Radiance is more like an introduction to the next book, Eidolon, since I think Draven focused more into Ildiko-Brishen relationship and save the complicated part for the next from what she hinted in the epilogue. Yes, the reason why I don't give this five stars is because the last part kind of rushed. I feel that the last conflict that Ildiko-Brishen face is not too big and while the result is devastating for both parties, the conclusion is too easy for me.


Overall, Radiance is a book that can't be missed and even not 5 stars, this book is memorable for me because the characterization and how Grace Draven break so many old tropes in romance. Ildiko-Brishen easily make into my favorite couple and what happen in the end of Radiance make me can't wait to reading Eidolon. Please write faster, Ms Draven! :)

Note: For e-book, the price is reasonable (just 3,99$) and being an international reader who often got so much difficulty to purchase e-books from Amazon, Radiance is available on Kobo and Smashword.

There's some behind story, I really love this book and want to have my own paperback copy. Unfortunately, local bookstores in my country Indonesia that provide English books don't have Radiance. They just have Master of Crows, and since I know that Ms Draven self-published it, the price and the format is over my budget. But, I really, really want to have Radiance's paperback and sadly, it just available in Amazon. The problem is, the shipping cost is too much to bear for me and custom clearance service in my country is suck! I hope, in the future Radiance paperback will be available outside Amazon. For now, I think just read Radiance as e-book is enough :)



""Will you be that for me, Ildiko, " he said. "That beacon in the void?"

Ildiko's heart cracked. Loneliness had been her most constant companion, the silent shadow that hovered over her for years. If there was one thing she understood, it was the emptiness of the internal void. Her reply might not make sense to him now, but she'd explain later when they were alone.

She reached out, fingers tracing the herringbone pattern of his chain mail sleeve. "The void is vast, like the sea at night and no land in sight. I'll be the beacon, Brishen.""





 Story & Sensuality Rate

My rating for Radiance  is


And the sensuality rate is




Already warn you from my review above *wink wink*

4 komentar:

  1. mbak Ren, saya juga barusan baca. Setuju, ceritanya memang rada unik. Ildiko dan Brishen menganggap satu sama lain jelek banget awalnya. Nah,di cover tuh Brishen nya ganteng...hehe

    BalasHapus
    Balasan
    1. Hai hai :). Hehe, di cover walau keliat ganteng, tapi tetep unusual kan penampilannya. Ntar di kover selanjutnya ga terlalu kok

      Hapus
  2. Wow.. Ratingnya cetar dan panas. Catet di list.. Thanks Ren

    BalasHapus
    Balasan
    1. Ayo baca. Ini quotable banget bukunya :)

      Hapus

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