A warrior princess trained in isolation, Lara is driven by two certainties. The first is that King Aren of the Bridge Kingdom is her enemy. And the second is that she’ll be the one to bring him to his knees.
The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom enriches itself and deprives its rivals, including Lara’s homeland. So when she’s sent as a bride under the guise of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture its impenetrable defenses. And the defenses of its king.
Yet as she infiltrates her new home and gains a deeper understanding of the war to possess the bridge, Lara begins to question whether she’s the hero or the villain. And as her feelings for Aren transform from frosty hostility to fierce passion, Lara must choose which kingdom she’ll save… and which kingdom she’ll destroy.
TROPES: Enemies to lovers, Marriage of Convenience, Slow burn romance.
TW: Violence, Death, Drowning, Drugs, Sexual Content, Misogyny.
Lara, the daughter of King Silas, Princess of Maridrina, was raised to be an assassin. Her only mission was to kill the king of the enemy kingdom, Ithicana or the Bridge Kingdom. Time and again she was told how merciless and cruel the people of Ithicana were and how the Bridge Kingdom deprived them of access to even decent food which left her people starving. A peace treaty signed fifteen years ago forced her to be married off to the enemy. She would go to any length to stop the sufferings of her people even if it meant she has to sacrifice herself to complete the mission. She was not just fighting to stop the misery of her people but also for her freedom. Her childhood was difficult and she wanted to leave all this behind and start anew when/if all this ends. So disguised as nothing but a dutiful wife she steps into Ithicana ready to put all those years of training into action, to spy and find her enemy’s weakness.
All her life she was subjected to so much pain just to prepare herself for what lies ahead but Aren Kertell, the king of Ithicana, was far from what Lara expected. Aren wasn’t the evil king that she was told but just a king fighting hard to save his people. He was loyal, honourable and noble. He treated Lara with respect even when she was not the wife he wished for. He saw Lara as a lady groomed to be a king’s wife but he wanted someone fierce, ready to fight battles for Ithicana. It just wasn’t her.
Slowly as Lara and Aren spend time together they discover there is more to each of them than meets the eye. She starts questioning the things her father told her. As truths unravel she finds herself in a tough spot. To save her homeland she has to destroy Ithicana and betray her husband which was never a problem till she slowly started falling in love with the man. So what will Lara do? Save her kingdom or act as Ithicana’s queen? Was she a hero or a villain?
THINGS THAT WORKED FOR ME:
- I loved that the romance was a slow burn and not insta love type. There was definitely an instant attraction but both of them never acted upon that and put the lives of their people first. Thank god! Cause that would have been such a let down.
- The world building was done really well. There are no magical elements or creatures as such but Ithicana seemed like such a beautiful place; especially that bridge.
- I found it to be really fast paced and never once did I feel like it dragged. I have heard mixed reviews about the pace of the book but maybe something just clicked for me?
- I really liked the side characters. I would really love to know more. Maybe there’s more in book two?
- I was so disappointed that there was no map included in the ebook version. I am not sure if it was just the ebook or the physical ones don’t have one either. A fantasy book without a map?
- I don’t like when people lie and just hope things will get better eventually. Own up, please. I can’t say more without spoilers.
- The plot was predictable. The book ends in a cliffhanger but that doesn’t surprise you. You knew she was going to screw up and everything was going to go down. It did have a slight mystery around the bridge which was done well.
- There’s so much told about Ithicana and not much about the other kingdoms. I felt a little more background about all the other kingdoms would have given the readers a better experience. Hopefully there’s more in the second book.
Overall it was a solid start to a series. I’m really looking forward to picking up the next one.
MY RATING: 3.75-4
Hope you enjoyed reading the review.
A fellow bibliophile.