I picked up the trilogy A Kingdom of Stars and Shadows by Holly Renee late one night while I was trawling the Books Ever After website, loving the covers and pretty foil details. The premise was solid and sounded quite fun and I was looking for a new fantasy romance read that wasn’t a million pages long. So lets get into the book and my review:
“I haven’t asked for your loyalty, Evren.”
“No?” He stepped even closer to me and ran his knuckles along my hand. “You’ve simply demanded it of me with every breath you take.”
Destiny or desire?
Where does your allegiance lie?
I am told my union to the crowned prince will determine the fate of the kingdom, but it isn’t my betrothed who haunts my dreams. It’s the half-breed prince who stands at his side.
He is darkness and sin, and when he whispers promises of wickedness in my ear, I crave a man who I can’t have.
Every thought I have is treasonous. The way my hands ache to touch him deceitful.
Even my dreams make me a traitor to the kingdom I am sworn to protect.
But when the kingdom is attacked, I am forced to make choices I’m not prepared for. Our lies and deception are entangled in the shadows and stars, and as they unravel so shall my fate. Betray a kingdom or betray my heart.
This was a really mixed book for me, and I went back and forth on my rating a fair bit, particularly as I was reading it through. There were issues with the writing of this one that made it hard to properly immerse myself in the world the author created. Despite this there were parts I found engaging enough to finish the book; character moments, depictions of the world etc.
The story itself was fun, with engaging characters and tense moments that made me keep reading but the writing really let it down in the first half, especially the first few chapters. I spent them wishing the writing was better to execute the story better. As I continued reading it did improve and the second half of the book was much better than the first. Sadly it did just really need a good edit and perhaps a re-write of those opening chapters.
The romance in the book felt very insta-love between Adara and Evern, which isn’t my favourite trope. The blurb had implied, at least in my reading, that it was going to be more of a slow burn forbidden affair between the two.They had good chemistry which was fun to read, but it was more lust for one another than love. There is no denying however that it has the spicy, sexy scenes you expect in these kinds of books, and does it pretty well. I will say some of the moments it occurs however, made me cringe a little.
When I finished the final few chapters part of me was a bit annoyed by the sudden ending and shift in characters behaviour (see betrayal), though to be fair I could also see it coming to a degree. It did at least set up the sequel. I am probably going to keep reading this trilogy as I bought these books as a set so have them on my shelves, but I’m not rushing to read the next one quite yet.
Overall A Kingdom of Stars and Shadows is a spicy fantasy novel that is a bit of fun, but I just wish it had been better written to tell the story it was trying to tell. It was flawed but it was easy and quick to read, and touched on some fun tropes like enemies to lovers and touch her and die which are always entertaining.
- Enemies to lovers
- Forced proximity
- Forbidden romance
- Touch her and die
“I don’t give a damn if it was my father himself, princess. No one will hurt you and not see the end of my blade.”
Rating: 3 Stars
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Book One