“Regardless of my attempts at guarding my heart, he’d wormed his way in.” – 4/5 stars!
Attention! This book contains: homemade stew, good wine, myar, blood lockets, black mist, waterfalls, healing powers, grapes, rot, old people, books, voices and poison.
For a hundred years, the once-prosperous kingdom of Perin Faye has suffered under the rule of the greedy and power-hungry Thungrave kings. Maralyth Graylaern, a vintner’s daughter, has no idea her hidden magical power is proof of a secret bloodline and claim to the throne. Alac Thungrave, the king’s second son, has always been uncomfortable with his position as the spare heir—and the dark, stolen magic that comes with ruling.
When Maralyth becomes embroiled in a plot to murder the royal family and seize the throne, a cat-and-mouse chase ensues in an adventure of dark magic, court intrigue, and forbidden love.
What a unique book! It’s not common to find good standalone fantasy books, and it sucks because sometimes there’s just no time or patience to read a four or five book series. With The Stolen Kingdom we are getting a standalone fantasy, which I was very excited about!
One thing I loved from this book was the grapes/vines/wine element. I really liked that theme for this book! It was very unique and it paired very well with the setting.
Overall the story has a good pace, but there are some moments here and there where you can see the story speeding. The story developed very fast and I felt like the characters didn’t keep up regarding character development. I love my fantasy standalones, but this is the reason why there aren’t so many. I think it would have been beneficial if this was a duology or maybe a longer book!
The characters were okay. I really like Maralyth, but I didn’t love Alec – his personality was a little bland in my opinion. I also wasn’t the biggest fan of the romance. I really like a good romance to pair with fantasy books, but something was lacking. I felt like there was zero chemistry between Maralyth and Alec, and to be fair I get that the author was maybe shooting for “complicated”, but it wasn’t very well executed in my opinion. It was a bit weird how he felt such strong hate for her at some point in the book, and then after a few pages the hate evaporates quickly like nothing ever happened. The end feels like he’s okay with her after everything he lost, and that didn’t make sense to me. If you’re wondering what trope this would fit, I would say it’s not a friends-to-lovers romance, nor an enemies-to-lovers relationship. They start out as friends, then become enemies and then become lovers.
Overall I enjoyed this a lot, I just wish the romance was a bit different, because I would have liked this even more!
A big thank you to NetGalley and Tor Teen for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.