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.
I keep trying to get past my aversion to fantasy because I really do feel bad about it. I mean, besides Science Fiction, I think it’s a genre where an author’s ability to build spectacular worlds can truly shine. I’m thinking maybe it’s because I haven’t been picking the right books? That my selection process is solely based on whether or not a book is high-fantasy? If it is, it doesn’t make the cut. Perhaps if I try the works of say, Brandon Sanderson or RA Salvatore, it would blow my mind and therefore would grow to appreciate it.
Sometimes, I think some book god is messing with me. The excuse that I use often before was that I don’t have the patience for intricate world-building. That the book must consist of romance first and foremost in order for me to enjoy it. Well, I’ve read a couple of fantasy novels in the last couple of weeks where the romance makes up the bulk of the story, but I’m still left scratching my head.
Radiance, for all intents and purposes, is a romance novel packaged as a light fantasy read. There was no quest and no curse. Just a couple of kids who aren’t meant to be together who somehow found themselves married in order to secure prosperity and unity between two kingdoms.
I kid you not.
As far as fantasy goes, this one was an ice-skater. And by that, I mean the author only skims the surface of the story. There was no depth or layers and not even a thin ice to give you a glimpse of what’s below the surface. The characters are pretty much one-dimensional, too. They don’t offer much in terms of emotions or personality. There was no chemistry to speak of so the romance was flaccid in as much as the straight-as-a-ruler plot is. Seriously, I almost fell asleep a number of times while listening to the audio book and it had nothing to do with the narrator but more about the lack of suspense or conflict in the storyline. I do, however, enjoyed the way they turned insults into endearments. It broke the monotonous dialogue just a bit.
I’m a bit of the odd duck in my opinion of this book, though. You have to take in consideration that I’m not a fan of the genre. Also, if you’re a reader of high fantasy, this book might not satisfy you. It was pure romance but the kind that I didn’t enjoy. I wasn’t able to empathize with the characters so the series was doomed from the start.