I downloaded a sample of Grace Draven’s Radiance this weekend. I’ve almost hit my maximum (already!) number of books that I’m willing to download on Kindle, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it, though I think I was attracted by the cover.
If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I love fantasy and romance. This book’s summary hit both of those categories when I read it. But I know that when I like a summary, it doesn’t always mean I’ll like the book. That’s just the way of Kindle authors outside the mainstream–it’s hit or miss. (Really, that’s for any romance author, now that I think about it!)
Well, my friends, Radiance was a hit. The sample introduces us to Ildiko, who is readying herself for her arranged marriage. She knows this is her duty as the orphaned niece of the King of Gauri, and her attitude is not one of reluctance but acceptance. She is resolute to do her duty, despite any misgivings she has.
And there are misgivings. Big ones. You see, she’s human, but she’s being married off to the prince of an ancient alien race whose lands border Gauri. This alien race operates at night, rather than during the day, and they have gray skin and sharp teeth. She likens them to wolves, which shouldn’t really turn off any romance reader, right? 😉 But to the Gauri humans, this race of aliens is mysterious and unattractive.
Her prince, Brishen, has the same issue. Humans, to the Kai, resemble horses–not the most flattering description. (And, seriously, never really thought about this. Do we look a little like horses? 🙂 I’m not sure, but I liked the Draven’s description.) He is also resolved to do his duty and has a positive outlook on life as the “spare” prince who will never rule.
On their first meeting, Brishen and Ildiko meet in the garden before the wedding, but don’t know who the other is. Their conversation is lively and engaging, and we can see exactly how right this two positive characters are for each other. Once Brishen realizes who the garden human is, he meets with her and discusses the possibility of holding off on the “consummation” of their marital relationship, an agreement that is totally fine with her since she finds his looks off-putting.
Both these characters adapt easily, and their relationship grows over time, which is something I love in romances. Too often there’s an insta-attraction, and when you finish the book, you wonder: How long would that relationship really last?
There are prejudices and judgments that they face since they live with the Kai, who cringe at human looks. (SERIOUSLY! When Ildiko messes with them by crossing her eyes, they freak out! It’s hilarious!) Plus, since Brishen and Ildiko marry for trade purposes between the two countries, there’s a third country that isn’t happy with the arrangement and want to end the alliance.
Really, my lovely friends, this is a pretty good quick read, and for someone in a romance drought like I’ve been in lately, Radiance is pretty refreshing. Plus, it has a sequel, Eidolon, that’s already out, so it’s a win all around! (Have I ever mentioned I hate reading series when all the books aren’t out? I totally hate it, but I make some exceptions! SEE: An Ember in the Ashes blog post!)
Hope you check out this book, and let me know what you think!
Happy reading, my lovelies!