By: Grace Draven
#1 in Wraith Kings series | 297 pages | pub. 2014
Radiance At a Glance
- Overall Rating: ★★★★
- Dude: The most romantic “dead eel”
- Heroine: The bravest “hag”
- Steaminess: He does this thing with his hips *wink*
- Brutality: Forcibly removed eyeballs as gifts from dear old mom
Pairs Well With
- 2 ounces light rum
- ½ ounce brandy or cognac
- 2 ounces fresh-squeezed orange juice
- ¾ ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- ½ ounce orgeat syrup
- orange slice or wedge as a garnish
Beware… Spoilers are coming!
I really needed this book. Lately I’ve been wading through some deep material, so Radiance came at just the right time. The story is drama free without being boring and I am so in love with Ildiko and Brishen. Two people from different races and cultures married off to each other and they take everything in stride, knowing that being the “spares” isn’t the worst.
The beginning did anger me. People being forced to marry is one of those things you don’t forgive. Sangur the Lame really lives up to his name by being a jerkoff who marries his daughters and niece off for political reasons.
So Brishen marries Ildiko and takes her off to his alien kingdom. I don’t think they are actually aliens, but the gray skin is a real thing. These two are #relationshipgoals. I didn’t have to suffer any relationship drama! They take their time getting to know each other as friends for a decent amount of time before getting physical. Also, there is no cheating or much jealousy or anything. It’s awesome. I needed these two.
Another thing I fell in love with was the idea of the mortem lights. When a Kai dies, another Kai can take in their light with their memories and transport it to their family. They essentially get to keep their loved ones souls. The scene where Brishen acted as a vessel was such a beautiful moment. I read that scene twice.
From beautiful to deadly, the thing that I couldn’t deal with was the whole scorpion/lobster pie thing. Picture this: You are served a hot, steamy pie. Then, a giant lobster/scorpion that is ALIVE tries to eat you before you can kill it, slice it open and eat the gray, slimy interior. No thanks, I’m good. Ew.
This was a re-read for me and it was just as enjoyable for me this time around as the first time I read it. I avoided this book for a while because the cover freaked me out – but if you can get past that and any weirdness over the interspecies relationships in this book it’s a pretty good read!
“I will conquer kingdoms for you if you but ask it of me, Ildiko.”
I love the relationship between Ildiko and Brishen. Their relationship was built on a foundation of trust, respect and friendship despite their differences and I loved reading about a relationship that was focused on that and not how attractive one another was. They were a fun couple and I never had a moment where I wanted to slap the male character for his idiocy or shake the female character for lack of communication. I loved that Brishen wasn’t the kind of male that acts like his tongue will fall out if he admits to caring about his wife and I’m 100% here for it.
“It’s a shame you’re my son,’ she purred. ‘ You would have made a magnificent consort.”
BRB, vomiting. I am thoroughly disgusted by Brishen’s mother. If Cersei and the Evil Queen from Snow White had a child it would be this incestuous bitch. And not only does she openly admit to being an incestuous monster she’s also guilty of killing her infant daughter by snapping her neck and then sending her son the eyeball that was removed when he was tortured like some kind of evil reverse Tooth Fairy. And if that’s not bad enough she’s being a creepy crawly basement dweller in her castle ripping the hearts out of her lovers and practicing black magic. This evil monster needs to go ASAP and i’d volunteer as tribute to do just that.
I’m literally still shuddering from the scarpatine scenes. I cannot with the Kai society eating still-alive, venomous creepy crawlies… I lost my appetite for hours. And I will probably have to forever check my sheets to make sure no one has hidden one of these in my bed. Nope. Gross. Gross. Gross.
My sole complaint with this book is that I didn’t really feel like it had a driving plot — I really only kept reading because I loved the relationship. But, rest assured things definitely pick up in the next book! So if you’re in the mood for a unique world, a solid relationship and a steamy romance but can also handle some brutality then this book is for you!
Let us know what you thought of Radiance in the comments!