In the Forgotten Empires magic is forbidden, dreams are destiny, and love is the greatest power of all…
A PRISONER OF FATE
As Queen of the island kingdom of Calanthe, Lia will do anything to keep her people free—and her secrets safe—from the mad tyrant who rules the mainland. Guided by a magic ring of her father’s, Lia plays the political game with the cronies the emperor sends to her island. In her heart, she knows that it’s up to her to save herself from her fate as the emperor’s bride. But in her dreams, she sees a man, one with the power to build a better world—a man whose spirit is as strong, and whose passion is as fierce as her own…
A PRINCE AMONG MEN
Conrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, has built an army to overthrow the emperor. But he needs the fabled Abiding Ring to succeed. The ring that Lia holds so dear to her heart. When the two banished rulers meet face to face, neither can deny the flames of rebellion that flicker in their eyes—nor the fires of desire that draw them together. But in this broken world of shattered kingdoms, can they ever really trust each other? Can their fiery alliance defeat the shadows of evil that threaten to engulf their hearts and souls?
“A lush… perilous and passionate world.”—New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Estep
Kennedy's romantic fantasy trilogy launch meanders through pleasant territory, but never really gets off the ground. Emotionally reserved Queen Euthalia brilliantly maneuvers politically to guard Calanthe, her untouched magical island. However, Euthalia's devious plans to avoid marriage to a destructive emperor, Anure, are threatened by the rebellious, cynical "Slave King" Conr , heir to a decimated kingdom, and his companions, vengeful Sondra and prophecy-wielding wizard Ambrose. While grim, self-hating Conr conquers his way toward the fulfillment of Ambrose's prophecy, Euthalia's long-term machinations are endangered. Once Euthalia and Conr meet, they must learn to trust each other despite conflicting goals. The plot plateaus early and does not gain impetus except when Euthalia and Conr meet at last and must argue the merits of their differing plans to overcome Anure. A few plot threads are left dangling; it's telegraphed that the sequel will feature larger conflicts and hopefully more interaction between Euthalia and Conr . Appealing characters will win readers over enough to make the second book worth anticipating.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A struggle to read at first but amazing ending!
~Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC!~
I struggled so much reading The Orchid Throne at first that I almost couldn’t finish it, but I pushed through because I know there are some books that just pick up halfway or much later on. Such was the case with this book, which I thought was very unfortunate and is largely why I didn’t give this book five stars.
Until I got about halfway through, I was so sure this book would be getting only two stars from me because of a few problems I had with it. The pacing was extremely slow. Both the main characters didn't meet for a long time, and many of the chapters were spent on Jeffe Kennedy's beautiful but sometimes confusing world-building. I still couldn’t tell you everything about Calanthe even if I tried.
The antagonist, the emperor, didn't even make an appearance at all. I had a problem with him because he was talked up so much by the characters, Lia especially, for all the evil deeds he’d done, but I’m assuming we won’t know what he’s really like until the next book.
The book also didn't truly pick up until the last 20%. There was so much excitement there with the plot and the romance. It was actually because of this that I felt like I got to know both Lia and Conri much better as characters, and I got my first real taste at what the plot was trying to do.
I loved this last 20% so much though! Even after the struggle I had reading most of The Orchid Throne, it’s what happened at the end that makes me think I’d be willing to read the second book. I still want to know more about Lia and Conri and what the deal is with the emperor and one of the minor characters introduced.
While I didn’t love any of the book’s characters or its plot, Jeffe Kennedy absolutely nailed the ending and is so skilled at writing world-building that beautifully and fully immerses you. I can’t help but want to know what happens next!