*I received a free finished copy of this book from the publisher. These are my personal, honest opinions. Thank you.*
Author: Jillian Boehme
Publisher/Imprint: Tor Teen
Edition: Hardcover, 327 Pages
Publication Date: March 02, 2021
A Spine that Shines? Quite Well!
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.
‘I want you to promise me on your own grave that you will never use this magic again. Do you hear me?’
-Jillian Boehme, The Stolen Kingdom
Hello, everyone! I hope you’re all doing well! Have you been reading anything good lately? A few days ago, I finished reading The Stolen Kingdom. I really enjoyed this book overall, and I’m excited to share my thoughts with you!
Let’s jump into the things I wanted to highlight:
- This novel is a standalone fantasy that feels complete in itself.
- In this book, you’ll find a plot to take back the throne!
- The magic is very interesting and has the power to cause living things to grow, or do the opposite and cause devastating decay.
- There is plenty of court intrigue if you enjoy that type of story!
- There is also a slow-burn romance between two people who should be enemies!
- This is not an action-driven book for most of the story, but does have a few action scenes thrown in here and there. For the most part, the pace is largely slow and steady until the last third or so of the book.
- You’ll find some great plot twists in the second half of the book!
- I liked reading the two POVs: Maralyth and Prince Alac. I felt that the POVs provided a lot of insight into these two characters and what was happening on both sides of the movement.
Characters & Romance
Here are my brief thoughts about the characters and romance:
- I really admired both of the main characters. Maralyth is determined to do what’s best for her people and her family. She has magic, regenerative powers that she’s kept secret all her life. One day, she learns of her royal Dallowyn heritage and is coerced into joining a coup to kill the royal family and take back the throne. It was interesting to see how she handled the situation.
- Prince Alac wants to do good and make something better of his life. He doesn’t want to be weighed down by the dark, stolen magic that has been passed down through his family for several generations. He is actually quite fond of the art of wine-making and initially doesn’t want to rule the kingdom.
- The romance between Alac and Mara is slightly insta-love, but it didn’t really bother me in this book. As you might imagine, things get quite complicated due to Mara’s participation in the coup. I enjoyed their banter and cat-and-mouse chase in the second half of the book.
- Another character I really liked was Tucker, Alac’s personal guard and friend. He is the type of guy who is easy to like. He’s funny and incredibly loyal. I will just say there is something that happens to him that is a little funny – though not amusing for him in the moment of course. It might’ve been fun to know more about him!
Sometimes, the pace felt a little slow for me, but the characters and writing kept me reading the story. I really enjoyed the bit of action closer to the end of the novel! There’s a final showdown!
There is one other thing that didn’t quite add up for me. One side character becomes a “villain” near the end of the book, but I was surprised and found this to be a little out-of-the-blue; it seemed a bit out-of-character for this particular person. But the dark side of the magic does tend to have a maddening effect on certain people, so perhaps that is what the author was going for.
I’m trying not to spoil anything here, but I almost wish there had been one continuous villain figure throughout the story to help keep the tension going. There are a few characters who could be considered “villains,” but they are present for different portions of the story. I suppose the dark side of the magic could also be considered an “enemy.”
But overall, I really enjoyed this book! The ending is sweet, and I liked how things wrapped up. I recommend if you’re looking for a good standalone fantasy with a sweet romance and cool magical powers! Happy reading 🙂
*Content Warnings: Some fantasy violence; light kissing; a short scene including unwanted advances from a man (no rape).*
Copyright © 2021 by Spines that Shine (Caitlin Shaffer)