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.
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.
The story follows Ildiko and Brishen, two people from completely different cultures brought together in an arranged marriage in order to seal a treaty between their kingdoms. This is not your usual ‘forced together’ love story and in this case they don’t hate each other from the onset. Starting after an accidental meeting on their wedding day they begin to form a bond based on mutual respect and honesty. Sharing the same wicked sense of humour they make fun of each other’s appearance in a lighthearted way, both believing the other to be unattractive and ugly, and even scary. What I liked is that Ildiko is not at all intimidated by Brishen’s fearsome appearance and the two soon form a close friendship. I really liked the couple’s interactions, the witty banter and sharp conversation. Their relationship begins to take a turn in another direction and their passion and chemistry literally explodes!
The romance is definitely in the forefront and the plot pales somewhat into insignificance in the background. I didn’t mind this at all, but it may not suit readers preferring a more plot driven novel. The characters are well drawn and thoughtfully portrayed and although I liked the setting, I would have preferred it if the author had delved a little deeper into the descriptions of the environment and surroundings.
Radiance is a really refreshing approach to a slow burn love story. The differences in appearance and culture has been sensitively explored, and the underlying message throughout is that appearances do not matter, its what’s underneath that counts. I listened to the audiobook and the narration is good, it’s engaging and humorous and definitely worth a listen.
My Favourite Quotes from Radiance:
- “Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father’s mace”.
- “Loneliness is an empty void. We look for that friend in the light”.
- “My beautiful husband”, she said. “I see radiance”.
- “She was ugly; she was beautiful and she was his. “My Ildiko”, he whispered”.
Narrator: Gabrielle Baker
Release Date: 10 June 2015
Series: Wraith of Kings #1
Length: 8 hours and 53 minutes
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Please do not hesitate to comment below if you liked my review or have any comments about this book 😊
✿ 𝓚𝓪𝓻𝓮𝓷 ✿