By: S.B. Nova
Outcast # 1 | 600 Pages | Pub. 2017
Kingdom of Exiles At A Glance
- Overall Rating: ★★
- Heroine: Homegirl takes love at first sight to a whole new level
- Dude: Holy love quadrangle batman!
- Steaminess: Why do authors think caves are an aphrodisiac?
- Long Windedness: Reading War & Peace was easier than this
Pairs Well With
- Honey vodka
- Triple sec
I don’t like writing negative reviews but I mistakenly read this book due to the high Goodreads ratings and rave reviews and feel like the book world needs an alternative perspective so readers don’t get hoodwinked like I did. My whole experience with Kingdom of Exiles can be summed up with this GIF:
I was basically Little Brother chasing a bone that I’d never get the entire book. Nova kept dangling interesting plotlines in front of me and throwing out mysteries like who is Serena’s mate and what is Serena? And instead of contributing to a cohesive and interesting plot, it just seemed more like a cruel exercise of trying to keep me engaged with this book.
I’m not a monster, so of course when an author throws out the existence of a mysterious mate, I’m gonna keep flipping pages to find out who it is and hope it’s Rhys’ long lost twin. But Nova overdid it and dangled too many bones at me, leaving me with a book that was more a military soap opera than the fantasy adventure I wanted.
While Nova’s writing itself has promise, she’s one of those authors that draaaaaagggs things out seemingly without a real purpose. This, plus the lack of a cohesive plot, made Kingdom of Exiles a long winded experience I had no where it was going. It would’ve been a stronger novel at half the size and if it capitalized on the original (and interesting!!) premises of the novel and not copycating Sarah J. Maas’ and other popular fantasy works. Additionally, Nova insists on forcing feelings down your throat instead of letting readers’ use their own brains to determine that wow, yeah, getting wings ripped from your body would be a painful experience. It was like being mansplained to for 600 pages.
All that aside, the most challenging experience of this book was surviving the protagonist, Serena. I don’t need my female protagonists to be ass kicking warriors (a la Aelin) but I do need them to have at least one redeeming factor. Serena was fairly…. Useless. She experienced no character growth and spent the whole book crying, whining, and passively letting terrible things happen to her. Add to this the fact that she falls in love with every male she meets and Serena ends up being one of the most frustrating characters I’ve experienced in a while.
The romance in this book was non-existent despite the fact that Serena insta-loves every male that she encounters. The males do not allow Serena any agency and it turns into a tortured experience of “I love you, but refuse to be with you for your own safety despite your wishes” with all the angst of a junior high relationship. Plus, the only real steam happens in a cave and I’m seriously wondering if I have been missing out on these magical steamy caves because every cave I’ve been in is decidedly unromantic. Unless, the risk of getting rabies from a bat is romantic?
Have you read Kingdom of Exiles? Let us know what you thought in the comments!