367 Following


You kids get off my lawn. 

I must have gotten something in my eye

Radiance - Grace Draven

If high fantasy mechanics are your bag, there are way too many "but, wait" moments here to make you happy. The evil, possibly immortal mom should be way more effective; the neighbors slash rivals shouldn't fall in line as fast as they do; &c. But the central romantic relationship is something I'm not sure I've seen before, and it's very well done.


A human girl and a Kai prince are joined in a political marriage. Both are superfluous -- a second son and the niece of the king -- only useful as chips in a game of thrones. The Kai are something bestial: grey-skinned, with fangs and black claws, nocturnal. Humans are, well, human. The pair meet before the marriage, unknowing of who the other is, and are charmed by the other's candor: They both think the other is physically repulsive.


Which, whoa. Romantic leads who are emotionally compatible yet not at all turned on by the other? Who even does that? I've seen the opposite many, many times, often to skeevy, repugnant ends, because two people are young, hot, and turned on by each other, but otherwise dangerously incompatible. This is the playbook for a lot of alpha sociopaths who make it with the good girl: Hotness overrides all. 


Instead here we have a slow, sweet meeting of minds, one that starts immediately, and isn't undercut by some second act histrionics based on a Threes Company style misunderstanding. The human and the Kai get to know each other, work carefully and thoughtfully to understand the other's culture, and grow to love and desire one another. It's just, it makes me a little mushy in a way my black heart doesn't allow a lot of the time. A damn fine job.