The prince of no value
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.
The noblewoman of no importance
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn't just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she's known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.
Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.
©2014 Denise Shaw (P)2015 Denise Shaw
The story is highly original, developing in a fascinating way as we learn about this world and its inhabitants. The central characters are engaging and believable, more rounded than is often the case in this genre.
Ildiko is clever, funny and brave. She faces the challenges of being a stranger in a strange land with fortitude and humour. She is not a warrior, just an honest and likable woman determined to make the most of her circumstances and not to give in to cruelty or bullying. She is optimistic, open mind and willing to see each person she meets on their merits, not on any preconceptions or prejudices.
Unlike some of the US reviewers, I found the narrator's accent pleasant and enjoyed her characterisations. However her slight lisp was a little distracting, as were her odd pauses, especially every time the word 'but' was used. This sounds petty, but there is no punctuation in the written text to suggest that the author wanted these pauses and I found them jarring enough to irritate.
I became immersed in the story and deeply interested in the world the author created. I enjoyed the humour and the slow growth of the loving relationship between the two central characters.
I have read several other books by this author and thoroughly enjoyed them. Draven takes fantasy concepts and weaves them into adult tales with entrancing stories. I thoroughly recommend her work. I look forward to future audio presentations, but hope she finds a different narrator next time.
...and it's right in so many ways.
There's no instant lust in this one, but there is instant chemistry, and a warmth that's not found in every romance. It makes the eventual love even better.
Loved Ildiko and Brishen. Loved to hate Brishen's mother.
The world building is nicely done. Just the right amount of detail to make it real, although I suspect that there are a couple of things that will be fleshed out when needed. This is a tightly written book: no filler to tune out. And the twist at the end is jaw- dropping.
When something special comes out in audio I hold my breath to see what the narration will be like. No worries there: Gabrielle Baker is perfect. I may or may not re-read this, but I will be re-listening to it many, many times.I have the tentative release of book 2 marked on the calendar. Please bring it out on audio and don't change the narrator!
"An unexpected and awesome surprise!!!!"
Wow. I can't believe how much I enjoyed this book. I can't wait for anything else by this author to be released in audiobook. This is a great paranormal/fantasy romance with great world building and good character development. But what I really liked was the fact that it didn't focus on how broken the main characters were and how much they needed to be fixed, there was no angst over being forced to marry. No stupid decisions by the characters or frustrating plot twists. No drama over psychological scars from their pasts, well not much. It was just a good fantasy with two mainly well adjusted characters learning how to love despite their differences. With all the other new releases in the romance genre lately, this was as refreshing as it was we'll done.
I highly recommend this one and it may actually be a multiple listen for me.
"Was pleasantly surprised...."
I saw this and put it in my wishlist for later and now I'm mad that didn't read it sooner. I am a sucker for good romances but find that I get burnt out when I read too many in close succession because the stories just meld into one with the same story just different character names. Radiance stood out like a beam of individual and unique light. I adored the love story in this. No TSTL heroine and no stoic "I'm too strong to say my feelings so I will just push you away" hero. Both come together in a mutual friendship despite their forced marriage and make the story extremely delightful rather than frustrating. Honestly I think after listening to it for a day and a half from start to finish I'm ready to read it again!
"BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER"
The story takes place in the time of castles, kings, and queens.
To secure a political treaty between the humans and Kai (aliens), human Ildiko and alien Brishen enter into an arranged marriage. Hours before the marriage Ildiko goes to reflect in the gardens and Brishen does the same. They start talking and openly make fun of each others race and think each others race is ugly. They do not know each other is the bride and groom. At the alter their pleasantly surprised since they had already spoken openly about their feelings.
Since they think each other are ugly they both agree to wait on consummating the marriage. They leave that night to travel to Brishen's kingdom. Their relationship is an honest but slow burn. Halfway thru the book they make love for the first time. The Kai don't kiss because they have razor sharp teeth. So Ildiko shows Brishen how they can kiss without him causing her harm. Kissing becomes Brishen's favorite form of affection besides love making.
Brishen's mother, the Shadow Queen, is evil-to-the-core and craves power so she obviously causes problems.
I went thru an array of emotions from Fun to Smirks to Oh No She Didn't to Tears and finally Awe.
Between Grace Draven's writing and Gabrielle Baker's performance you can't help but fall in love with Brishen and Ildiko.
Absolutely worth a credit/$$
Radiance is in my all-time top favorites list, and I will definitely recommend it to my friends! I love coming across a story that blows my mind.
This was my first story I've listened by Gabrielle Baker and thought she did a great job!
The story was original with great world and character development. I will be on the lookout for more stories by Grace Draven and this series. Love it!
Everything Grace Draven writes is amazing and I have read everything I can get my hands on. I was delighted to see Radiance as an audiobook. The narrator was wonderful. It took me about a chapter to get used to her voice (and hint of lisp) but she has such a beautiful voice I wouldn't want a different narrator. Now Audible needs to get Master of Crows read and Grace Draven needs to write faster!
"a surprisingly wonderful story,"
I had never heard of this author or the story but picked this one based on great reviews. I'm so glad I did. not only a great story but all the better because it was unexpected. listened to it twice so I could savor it the second time.
I wasn't sure I was going to like this book. I like paranormal, but not aliens or time travel. Lucky for me, this really wasn't either. It's a beautiful love story of two "spares" who very quickly become EVERYTHING to each other. I'm upset that I will have to wait for the next book, but once it comes out, it will give me an excuse to reread this book to catch up to the next book and refresh my memory. I truly loved this book and want to read some of the authors other books to see if they reach the same caliber. I even bought the book in Audible so that I could listen on my way to and from work. Well done!
"Loved the story, audio could have been a bit better."
I thoroughly enjoyed this tale. I didn't expect much from it but I was blown away by this book. The romance wasn't rushed but didn't drag. There was no cliche instant lust between Ildako and Brishen which I was very pleased with. The building of friendship to lovers between them was so real and so tangible. This is the first book to make me laugh out loud in the literal sense. Author was very skilled in incorporating humor with romance and a bit of bloody action into this. Lovely writing and lovely story telling.
The narrator was a decent performer. Wish she wasn't so monotoned throughout the piece. She does have a heavy English accent so some parts I had to relisten to to understand what she was saying. The recording wasn't spectacular either. I could hear birds and cars in the background every ones in a while along with a constant buzzing sound. Don't know how avoidable it was when recorded. Splicing of the audio could have been a bit better as well. Long gaps in some areas and the buzzing sound changed a lot with the different audio. Therefore I give 3 stars.
Otherwise I absolutely loved this story. Definitely worth a shot.
"Hits the spot...!!!"
I'd actually gone 3 days without a book, the longest in years. I was itching for a good fantasy story to fill the void and happened upon this book buried deep in the "Other Users Bought" section on my screen.
The cover art caught my attention and once I started listening I was hooked. The meeting of these unexpected lovers is hilarious. I fell in love with them in the first chapter. They way the find each other utterly disgusting in appearance and joke about it makes for a good start. The chemistry is there immediately and as a reader you are consumed by the need to know if and when they start to feel differently about each other.
The story has a wonderful pace. It doesn't linger too long on any one thing. The author gives you just enough of everything without having you over indulge. It has a little bit of everything: Jokes, sex, fighting, killing, revenge, and a strong possibility of love.
The narrators fits perfectly for our female lead. As someone who was dying for a decent book to pass the time. This was a good choice. I'm putting this series on my watch list. Enjoy!
"Arranged marriage love "
Both the people, who are of different races, in the politicly arranged marriage accept their situation. No poor me, weeping etc they move forward and learn to love each other.
A strong story, a good listen and a good read.
"Fantasticly gripping story and brilliantly read"
Loved the characters. Cared about them straight away. Loved the whole book. Fantastically read. Can't wait for the next book.
I started off very much enjoying this story and the interaction between the two main characters. While it wasn't the type of thing I usually read it was a slice of entertaining escapism. Right up until about two thirds of the way through when it suddenly turned into just endless repetition of quite graphic sex, which I felt was unnecessary in a story like this and actually spoiled the feeling of romance. Have sex, yes, but almost 30 minutes description in one chapter alone of detailed move by move explicit bedroom antics is overdoing it. I am no prude but it was just too much, specially repeatedly and at almost every opportunity after the first romp. Sometimes implication and imagination does a better job. And when it wasn't full blown sex it was nothing but a constant catalogue of kissing and nuzzling and sucking each other's tongues and earlobes. It all became repetitive, tiresome and silly for me. Also it doesn't end properly. I know there is a book 2 which I won't be interested in now.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.