~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 tare them apart.
She hadn’t chosen this husband of hers, nor had he chosen her, but fate
or kind gods had brought them together, made them friends and then lovers.
It has already been said, and probably will be repeated until the end of time, but don’t ever judge a book by its cover. To tell you a little tale about my current state of no money to feed my addiction (aka. serial book buying) would only be necessary in order to mention that because of this said state I have come across a novel that blew me away…and it was under $4.
I know that this may sound odd, but I have currently been obsessed with novels that begin by some young woman being shipped off to marry some lord/prince/a guy. I’m not really sure what this says about me, but in all honesty I don’t really care. The reason I am loving such novels so much is because you get rid of the teen angst associated with so many novels these days leaving the reader with a romance that develops naturally, one that is built on a solid foundation of friendship rather than sheer hotness.
Well in Radiance there is no love interest that is steamy hot. No awesomely sexy prospect of a husband that although you’ve just realised you’re being sent off to marry a stranger, such a downer, the fact that he is delicious on the eyes makes the whole situation better. Brishen has ash skin and dark clawed nails, and least we forget his sharpened teeth. Picturing such a man took a little to get used to, but if Ildiko can do it then so can I.
Ildiko and Brishens romance was build on friendship. One thing that I truly loved was that they found each other repulsive to look at. That each of their cultures didn’t find the other attractive at all, not even a tiny bit.
“You find me ugly don’t you?”
“Hideous,” he said. “A hag of a woman.”
And he was telling the truth. It is such a rare thing when a novel doesn’t have characters that are initially physically attracted to each other. Which I think is not only truly unique, but should also be written a whole lot more in new adult/young adult novels. It provides room for characters to develop a deeper connection that isn’t solely based on the fact that they’d like to see the other naked.
Radiance isn’t a heavy fantasy novel, but it is still a great one all the same. I adored the mortem lights, carrying the memories of those who have passed back to their families through the use of others offering themselves as vessels during transport. These memories are then kept alive in a place called Emlek, which is used as a historical record of the Kai’s culture.
Draven gave us an insight into the differences between the Kai and human culture. There weren’t great discrepancies, but I enjoyed the witty banter between Ildiko and Brishen in relation to food. Especially the potatoes. Additionally I enjoyed the notion that one culture was based in the light and the other in the dark. How this affected not only Ildiko, in changing things such as her routine, but also the focus on being able to see depending on the time of day. The Kai could see at night, which I thought was really interesting because that was their day. It was an interesting characteristic to add to this race of people, because it then affected how everyone else saw them.
Ildiko and Brishen were fantastic main charters. Ildiko was strong and witty, always willing to stand her ground in uncomfortable situations. And Brishen wasn’t a dominant bastard like we see in so many new adult novels. He was kind and reassuring. He truly tried to make their situation the best it could possibly be, taking the time to get to know Ildiko as they settled in their marriage and duties.
There is of course a raging war, over land…isn’t there always, which I think will be a larger focus in the next few novels.
I truly enjoyed this one.
Check it out.