Title: Radiance (Wraith Kings #1)
Author: Grace Draven, 2014
Is this book perfect? Is it on the same tier as the likes of Jacqueline Carey and Storm Constantine? Not quite, but for me that didn’t matter. What I loved was the setting, and the tentative and growing love between the two basically nice people – Idiko and Brishen – who make the best out of an arranged marriage.
All too often we read about arranged marriages that begin with a huge pile of antagonism and frustration for both parties. Not so with these two. If the ease of their growing love for one another bothers you, then this isn’t your book.
While I felt as if the first 60 to 80 percent of this book was mostly scene-setting, it was the sort of establishment of the world that I enjoy. I *like* slowly growing sagas. I must admit that I felt Brishen’s self-control with regard to being in bed with his wife without acting on his, erm, manly impulses a bit difficult to believe at times, but yeah, that being said, it may be the fact that I’ve been editing dubcon that’s made me a bit of a jaded reader.
This book is sweet, but it’s not without its claws. The non-human race portrayed in this book (the Kai) are not cuddly, and their actions are quite bloody at times. They also make a lovely shift from vampires, elves or angels (I’d peg them as somewhat toothy, predatory elves that don’t like going out during the day.) The human Ildiko may be soft and gentle on the outside but she has nerves of steel, and adapts quickly to her new people. By the end of the book, she’s a force to be reckoned with – while retaining her feminine qualities.
The interaction between the two characters is touching, and the dialogue even gave me the quiet chuckles from time to time. By the time I was done, I immediately rushed off to Amazon to pick up book two, but I now realise I’ll have to wait a bit. Draven has created a sweet, sensual fantasy with lashings of romance, that have proved to perfectly complement my usual fare of GrimDark. Love, love, love – and I need more. And soon. Hell, I’m willing to beta read even so long as I can get the next instalment.