- File Size: 5547 KB
- Print Length: 226 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Grace Draven and Jeffe Kennedy (May 29, 2016)
- Publication Date: May 29, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01GD17RMI
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,494 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
For Crown and Kingdom: A Duo of Fantasy Romances Kindle Edition
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Beware of this false advertising. Only the story by Grace Draven is fantasy romance. The other has already established couples from a series and no romance for the POV character other than wistful dancing.
The bad ugly duckling of this duo is a story by Jeffe Kennedy which is basically an epilogue of non-events that happen after a lot of major stuff in the Twelve Kingdoms series. As such, if you read this story and haven't read yet read the Twelve Kingdoms, it's going to be a huge spoiler if you ever planned on reading the series. You will know who lived and who died and how the story ended in a huge major event. Also, as nothing happens in this story at all (NO ROMANCE, NO ACTION), it's incredibly boring to read about characters that this story puts no effort into getting the unfamiliar reader hooked on them. I think only fans of the Kingdoms series would find this at all interesting. To be quite honest, if I had read the series I'd still find this story boring because NOTHING HAPPENS. Worse, since this was advertised (falsely) as fantasy romance, I was expecting romance and never got it which did that whole expecting a flavor and getting a different one to really sour me on the story.
And if that's not bad enough, this story was paired with Grace Draven's tale which is like pairing Spam with Filet Mignon. It makes this story look really bad in comparison. This story should have appeared as an epilogue or a freebie at the end of Twelve Kingdoms or as a prequel to a new series set in that world and stayed out of this pairing because it's not a standalone, not a romance, barely a fantasy aside from being told of fantastic events and set in an already built fantasy world from the series, and not an interesting enough read to hook new people to try the series. In fact, it might put them off like it did for me.
The second story, The Undying King, written by Grace Draven starts out like this:
Wrapped in concealing wool and tight gloves, Imogen slumped in her chair by the bedside and waited for her mother to die. The air stank of old blood and sickness, made even more pungent by the sweltering heat generated by the fire in the hearth. She gazed at the room’s single window edged in an early spring frost. The small hours before dawn passed in quiet darkness, and she imagined the coolness outside, the crisp scent of pine and the first hint of perfume from the white daffodils rising from lingering ribbons of snow on the low hillocks surrounding the dale.
Right off the bat the story made me perk up with interest and sucked me into the imagery of the scene. This is why Grace Draven is my favorite romance fantasy author. Her use of imagery seduces you into her warm embrace like a familiar lover. It was a soothing balm after reading the first story and in typical Draven style, plunged me into another world rife with flawed characters and (nearly) impossible romance.
This story starts off somewhat traditional where the girl finds out secrets that were kept from her by her dying mother and has to make a journey in the hopes of finding a way to get rid of her life altering curse. Along the way we pick up some bad guys who want her for their own greedy purposes which adds a nice splash of tension here and there. Finally, we meet up with the Undying King, a terrible (at the time) man who sought immortality and paid the price. He lives trapped in the ruins of his ancient city as punishment for his past deeds.
While predictable (of course she's gonna fall in love with the impossible man), it's fun to read and see the romance build and the forgiveness (there's lots to be forgiven let me tell ya!). The girl is spunky, the guy is hot, and there are wicked hot sex scenes.
The only downside to this story is there were a few editing mistakes where words were left in rather than removed after an editing pass or words were missing. More so than normal for a Grace Draven story. It's easy enough to tell what was supposed to be written so it wasn't too annoying, just a little bit more than I was expecting from her work.
Overall, I bought this book for the Grace Draven story and she delivered on another awesome tale and I don't regret my purchase. The story by Jeffe was a huge disappointment for me and cemented my decision to skip reading the Twelve Kingdoms series even though I'm sure the series has to be more interesting than this story.
I'm docking a star for the editing issues in Grace's story and for the bit of false advertising about the first story being a fantasy romance when it clearly wasn't. I decided to ignore the first story in my ratings since there is no point punishing Grace's fine story but please, please, please in the future make more compatible pairings. At least make sure both are as advertised to avoid this awkwardness in the future.
I havent read Ms. Kennedy's Tala series yet, though it has been sitting on my to-read shelf for some time. I'll be honest, it took me awhile to figure out what was happening, since I wasn't familiar with the characters or storyline. Probably would have helped, were I familiar with the series. I enjoyed it nonetheless, about the coronation of the new High Queen, although I wouldn't classify this as a romance. A bit slow paced, but still held my interest. I liked the FMC so much that I picked up the new series in Ms. Kennedy's new series, the first book which has Dafne as the focus.
I've said it before, but I'll read anything that Ms. Draven writes. Her novella is typical of her story arcs and characters, a slow-burn romance with a tough FMC and quiet, brooding bad-boy MMCs, who are ultimately likeable and relatable. I don't like most bad-boy MCs, but I like hers! She writes them so well that you can't help but fall for them as well, and hope they find their happily ever after. The story was haunting, romantic, sexy, and mysterious, all at once, with a little bit of drama and action thrown in. I, too, would have loved this to be a full blown novel instead of a novella. I felt there was much more to tell of their tale. Imogen and Cededa rank up there with Ildiko and Brishen as my favorite couples from her works. Definitely enjoyed this novella more than the first.
Four stars because while I liked Ms. Kennedy's novella, I didn't love it. Enjoyed this duology and of course will be looking out for future works from both these talented authors
The Crown of the Queen by Jeffe Kennedy... 3.5 stars
The Undying King by Grace Draven... 5+ stars
I have to say if I'd read Jeffe Kennedy's The Twelve Kingdoms series, I probably would've adored The Crown of the Queen. But... I haven't read anything by this author so I was completely lost. There was just too much everything happening regarding crowning a new queen and all the information regarding a huge cast of characters I'd never met before. It's told through the eyes of Dafne, the librarian, and even though the writing is good, I felt like I was just slogging through it, waiting for the romance to start. This was supposed to be a 'romance', but aside from a man flirting with her as they danced and giving her a good-bye kiss in the beginning, that was all the romance there was. I kept reading and reading and wondering why Dafne's HEA hadn't been introduced. Then I started wondering if maybe Dafne was telling the story of the queen's romance with her consort, but that wasn't really it either. In the end, this novella seems like a backstory bridge to another book, which it probably is. As I said before, I might've loved this if I'd read the series.
On to the reason I bought this book... The Undying King.
After falling madly in love with Radiance and every other book Grace Draven has written, she is now one of my auto-buy authors. This story is full of love, loss and redemption and my heart broke for both Cededa and Imogen.
Cededa the Fair, or Cededa the Butcher... The Undying King... are perfect names for a king who is unbelievable gorgeous and also who would do anything, ANYTHING, to save his kingdom. He had fallen into myth.. a kingdom lost to time. Imogen is cursed with the touch of death--anyone who touches her skin dies--so she's never known the touch of a lover and never expected to. She's given a key to find his kingdom and told only The Undying King can remove her curse.
There are other plots within plots going on as well, because Imogen is not just some lowly witches' apprentice/daughter and Cededa's kingdom is rumored to hold treasures untold. Retrieving Imogen from Cededa's kingdom becomes another man's quest.
The romance between Imogen and Cededa builds slowly and sweetly and I loved every minute of it. This story is written with such rich imagery, I felt I could see Cededa's kingdom on every page.
I would've purchased this book for The Undying King alone, but I'm glad to have been introduced to Jeffe Kennedy's The Twelve Kingdoms series through The Crown of the Queen.