Mini Review | Radiance (Wraith Kings #1) by Grace Draven

Title: Radiance (Wraith Kings #1) by Grace Draven

Published: January 13th, 2015

Genre(s): fantasy, romance, new adult

Read as: Kindle ebook

Rating: 3

Rating: 3 out of 5.


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. 


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. (Goodreads)

“You make a very handsome dead eel, my husband,”
“For a boiled mollusk, you wear black quite well, my wife.” 

I added this book to my TBR ages ago when I first started feeling that pull toward new adult fantasy romance. Is that a very specific taste in books? Yes, but I love them anyway and after one of my favorite booktubers, Liene’s Library, recommended this book I snagged it on a Kindle sale.

The first half, maybe two thirds of this book was amazing. It had everything I wanted in a NA fantasy romance. We had, of course, the required fantasy aspects that I look for in the genre. A powerful kingdom or two, a non human race as one of the love interests, and a female love interest that takes no bullshit and doesn’t wilt like a flower under stress.

I very much enjoyed watching our two main character’s relationship grow. They come from very different societies and are different species, one human and one with humanish characteristics. He reminded me of a fae mixed with maybe a bat straight out of a vampire novel with pointy teeth, nocturnal and all. The two, while both being considered attractive within their own species, don’t see each other that way. Watching them first bond emotionally and mentally before moving onto physical attraction was a fun ride.

But, it happened pretty early on in the story and then it felt like the plot stopped there even though there was still a solid chunk left of the book. The stagnant “everything is going well, there are no threats and everyone is happy” plot just was dull and it dragged on forever. Up until that point I was prepared to give this book four stars.

Be that as it may, everything wrapped up nicely in the end and I still would give this book a very solid 3 star rating. I will say that it would do with a thorough editing pass as there were some inconstancies in the manuscript that could be fixed and the story made better. It is nothing major that will drag you out of the story, just little things I noticed.

If you are looking for a short, easy to read NA fantasy romance then I wouldn’t hesitate to nudge you toward this one. Is it the best? No, but it is still worth a read if that genre is your cup of tea.

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