Book: “Eidolon” by Grace Draven
Publishing Info: Smashwords Edition, April 2016
Where Did I Get this Book: from the library!
Book Description: In a bid for more power, the Shadow Queen of Haradis has unleashed a malignant force into the world. Her son Brishen, younger prince of the Kai royal house, suddenly finds himself ruler of a kingdom blighted by a diseased darkness and on the brink of war. His human wife Ildiko must decide if she will give up the man she loves in order to secure his throne.
Three enemy kingdoms must unite to save each other, and a one-eyed, reluctant king must raise an army of the dead to defeat an army of the damned.
A tale of alliance and sacrifice.
Previously Reviewed: “Radiance”
Review: It’s been a bit since I read “Radiance,” the first book in this fantasy romance series. But it has stuck with me ever since as an excellent example of creating a romantic storyline that is free of angst and drama but still incredibly compelling. Turns out, people being nice to each other and falling in love in a natural way can be entertaining! No need for love triangles, failures to communicate for no good reason, or constant misunderstandings! So, with that happy memory in mind, I was excited to see what this sequel had to offer, especially since it was going where most romance stories fear to go: after love has been discovered and the relationship is established.
At the end of “Radiance,” we saw Brishen’s mother, the Shadow Queen, unleash a force of demons (much to her instant dismay as she was immediately killed). So when this story begins, Brishen and Ildiko are blissfully unaware of the monstrous force that is about to threaten their entire world, but that soon ends when they hear about the mass casualties and destruction that is coming their way. But with the Kai’s magical abilities greatly reduced since their ancestors faced such a force, Brishen and Ildiko’s choices are limited. Not only must they face a dangerous magical decision, but with the crown of the Kai people suddenly coming to Brishen, their marriage itself will face its greatest test.
Writing a sequel is always a challenge. Writing a sequel to a romance novel in which your main characters are already married and in love is practically unheard of. Of course, this series also has the fantasy angle going for it, but the love story is really at its heart. So right off the bat, I have to applaud the author for taking such a risk and secondly, for succeeding so well!
The nature of the demon disaster that is sweeping the country side works in two ways. On one hand, the description of this force is truly terrifying, and we immediately see the power that the Kai (and the entire world) faces. As fantasy monsters go, they’re creepy in all the right ways. But they also work in that they immediately take out a large chunk of the royal family, forcing Brishen into the role of leader of the country. Naturally, this brings a lot of added pressure and stress to his and Ildiko’s lives, not least of which is the unconventional nature of the relationship was never meant to be one that must sustain a monarchy.
I really enjoyed the way both of these threats highlighted the different strengths and weaknesses that Brishen and Ildiko bring to their relationship and their roles now as future monarchs. And while we see the beginnings of cracks, what I appreciated the most was the very adult way that each continues to deal with the other, even in the midst of misunderstanding and fear. Yes there is drama. But no there is no unnecessary angst or silliness. We have two different people dealing with an impossible situation in different ways. I can’t rave enough about how lovely it is to read a love story about two people who actually behave like well-adjusted adults and treat those around them with respect. It’s such a refreshing take on romance when many insist on miring themselves in silliness almost constantly.
Beyond the romance, I also really enjoyed the action of this story. The dial has been turned up to 10, and it’s clear from the beginning that no one will escape this situation unscathed. Indeed, choices are made that will affect the entire nature of Kai society going forward perhaps forever. I see that there is a third book in this series, but it looks like it will pivot to new characters. On one hand, due to the events of this book, I’m super curious to see what the fallout will be in that one. But on the other hand…I just love Brishen and Ildiko so much that I’m not sure I’m ready to switch to a new pair!
Rating 8: An excellent sequel. Fans of the first book will definitely be pleased with this one!
Find “Eidolon” at your library using WorldCat!