MinnChica: When I got Myles’ newsletter about her latest release, I immediately went and purchased it. I love a really well done fantasy romance, and the blurb sounded so much like WARPRIZE by Elizabeth Vaughan, that I knew it was bound to be incredible. I am so glad that I picked this book up, it was everything I hoped it would be and then some. I was so sad when the story was over, because I wanted to continue in the world that Myles created and find out more and more about Graeme and Seri!
Has: I luuuuved WARPRIZE which is one of all time favourite romance and because BETROTHED had a similar premise, I definitely jumped at the chance. I really enjoyed the setting and the differing cultures of the Athonites and the Vidari and Myles really paid attendtion to detail which really added a vividand rich layer to the story.
However, while I liked most of the characters – I did find Seri, the heroine frustrating for me. I felt she made some silly mistakes which she seems to not have learned from and I disliked how she kept repeating them. Although I understand why she was so mistrustful and suspicious of the Athonites because of the oppressive history they have over the Vidari people. But I also felt she trusted her own allies who betrayed her even more than what the Athonites represented.
MinnChica: I really liked Seri. She came across to me as really sweet and young and innocent and sheltered and very, VERY naive. She only knew the way of life for her people, so being thrown into the Athonite court was a huge culture shock, and one that I don’t think she ever really got the hang of, even at the end. She trusted the wrong people, and let her instincts fall to the wayside in favor of what she thought she knew. But all in all I kind of adored her. I wanted to take her under my wing and protect her from all the pain that she had to endure.
I really loved Prince Graeme. I wish that Myles would have given us more scenes from his point of view, because I think he had some really strong and conflicting emotions towards Seri. I wanted to get more into his head and see just how strong his lust was for her, and just how much he wanted her love and acceptance. If there was one aspect of this book I could change, it would be that.
Has: I loved the culture shock which Seri experiences – it really emphasizes the level of detail and thought went into setting up the difference between the Vidari and the Athonites. I also felt that is when Seri really came alive for me when she rebelled against the constrictions of the Athonites especially on how a lady has to behave.
I also definitely agree with you about Prince Graeme about the lack of his POV. I think his character was great. I loved his cool exterior but underneath he was sensitive and there was more dimensions to his character. I only felt that he was more fleshed out when we came to his POV chapter, when we learned there was more sides to his character.
MinnChica: I hope and pray that Myles writes more books within this world, as I think that the world building was so fleshed out. She told me via Twitter that she would love to write more within this world, but only if there is an audience for it. I thought that the secondary characters were so great, both in a positive light and a negative light. I loved Seri and Graeme’s sisters, and they showed some potential to have amazing stories. I do hope that we can see more from them, and from Seri as she learns to navigate the Athonite way.
Has: I agree – I think the world she created is fantastic and I really hope there is more to come. I loved how she made the noble born Athonites who have been cursed into a vampire like race and how this connected with the magical mythology on the betrothal between Seri and Graeme. It was very promising and vibrant and I would love to see more of this in the future. But overall the romance for me was the real highlight, although they had issues and a lot of suspicions, when they started to bond and embrace their feelings, the love story really shined for me (pun intended when you read the book!) I love the enemies turned to lovers trope especially with the fate of the welfare of their people in the balance – it really adds an epic tone to the story.
MinnChica: All in all I really loved this story. I thought Seri had so much to deal with and adjust to, and I loved the differences in their cultures and how much that affected her relationship with her family and Graeme alike. While I wanted more POV time with Graeme, I am a big fan of the way Myles mixed the paranormal elements into the story. I sincerely hope that this book gets a large enough audience that Myles will consider writing more books set within the world.
I give Betrothed an A.
Has: I enjoyed BETROTHED, even though I had issues with Seri’s character, the romance, the rich backdrop and the vivid focus on the cultures of the Vidari and the Athonites made this a fun and enjoyable read. And Jill Myles created a wonderful and rich setting with engaging characters. I also hope there is more to come especially with the hints of the growing tension between the two cultures which hasn’t been resolved will be interesting to see develop.
This book hurt my brain at times. There were a zillion things going on at any given time. However, I like the overall story, so I will definitely give...moreThis book hurt my brain at times. There were a zillion things going on at any given time. However, I like the overall story, so I will definitely give the 2nd book in the series a try. (less)
MinnChica: I’m probably the one bookpusher who doesn’t read that much fantasy. I have a few authors I’ve enjoyed, but it’s not my go-to genre. I have no idea when, but at some point, I picked up Warprize and bought it. It sat on my shelves for who-knows-how-long and when the girls as if I wanted to join them in this joint review, I jumped on the chance to finally get around to reading it. And boy am I glad I did. I absolutely adored the world that Vaughan created with Lara and Kier. As the story unfolded I found myself more and more enchanted with each and every character, so much so that I went and purchased the 2nd book on my nook the moment I finished this!
Has: Oh I am so glad you finally got to read it! This is one of my all time favourite books and it has become a comfort reread for me because this book is the epitome of magic and romance -- even though there is hardly any magical elements in the story. The romance, the setting, and the premise is nothing new but Elizabeth Vaughan adds such a unique twist with the details and the emotions in the romance and story that it does feel refreshing. I remember reading Warprize for the first time, and it was a book which I inhaled. Keir and Lara and their differences as well as being from two contrasting cultures was explored beautifully and with such rich and vivid details which really stood out for me from other similar books.
Lou: I can remember Has recommending me Warprize, and it was when we met online. I remember Has telling me you have GOT to read this series. So I bought the first book, and oh my goodness. Waprize had everything that I had been waiting for -- which sounds weird, but I’ll explain. I’ve always been a fan of fantasy, but I’ve always wanted romance to be the central focus of the story but without losing any impact of the fantasy and world building. Warprize did this in spades and so much more. Lara’s and Keir’s relationship I believe will be remembered as one of those never forget reads. It had the epic scope of a fantasy with a sweeping romance, a world that was built strong with different factions and tribes. And even though it does lack magical tendencies, it doesn’t suffer.
MinnChica: I’ll admit that I felt a little letdown at first when I realized there would be no magic in this story, and then I got so swept up with Lara, her desire to heal, her kind heart and her never wavering sense self and worth. Add in Keir who was a strong leader, but a kind and caring man. Their love story was so sweet and epic. I loved that they were both so open to learning each other’s customs and ways, and how open they were to integrating their lives. I hoped that Lara would work up the courage to ask for further explanation on word translations though... although that was part of the fun of reading their story.
Has: I think this sums up what was so magical about their romance; it never falls into cliched pitfalls of an angsty misunderstanding which can feel forced. But there is a core conflict about their differing cultures and trying to compromise and to cement an understanding. However their romance which is so integral to the story was fantastic, I love the idea behind the Warprize and the meaning it has - especially when Lara learns of what it truly means to be one and her realisation of what that entails for her being as a healer and a lover. I ADORED that scene so much!
Lou: I think the conflict between the two of them was very realistic with Lara and her healing nature, and Kier with his warring ways. Lara’s healing was a great contrast to Kier, and it becomes a factor in their relationship when Kier realises just how much Lara risks by doing so. Not only does Lara have to deal with her brother giving her away, she has to deal with a new culture of people and try to understand where she fits in amongst it all -- along with her growing attraction and closeness to Kier. The romance is so strong and I loved that it stood up in a Fantasy book. Just makes me fall in love with the Fantasy genre again because there is no limits and restrictions.
MinnChica: All in all I am so glad I was pushed into reading this book. The world Vaughan created was absolutely magical in its charm and characters. There are so many secondary characters to love, and the romance between Lara and Keir was just so incredible well done I melted throughout the entire book. I’ve already got (and read) book two, so now it’s onto book three for me! I give Warprize an A
Has: I have recced this book countless of times and I will continue to do so because I know most people will adore this book even if they aren’t fans of epic fantasy. The contrasting cultures, and characters from opposing sides is a great premise and Warprize definitely delivers that element. But for me, the love story is what is truly engrossing and magical. Keir and Lara’s romance is really an epic love story which really conveys wonderfully to the reader, I was enthralled when I first read the book and because of this - it has remained to be one of my all time favourite romances. I give Warprize an A+
Lou: When we decided on doing a Fantasy feature, Warprize was one of thee first books to come to mind. A romantic sweeping tale of a hero and heroine from different cultures who have to deal with an attraction that just gets stronger and stronger as they spend more time together. For those who are not huge fans of Fantasy reads, I would recommend this book for the romance alone because it’s so memorable and it gets better with each book in the trilogy. It also doesn’t shy away from hard realities which makes it that much more realistic. I give Warprize and A(less)
Publisher: Dorchester Publish Date: Out Now! How I got this book: NetGalley
I can be somewhat picky about my fantasy romance. When it’s done well it’s so amazing, but when I don’t feel it, things tend to unravel quickly. For me, Taylor’s book had great promise, but the execution just didn’t work for me.
Ruby has lived her whole life with a magical gift that has inconvenienced her at every turn. She wants nothing more than to get rid of her gift and just live a normal life. But that all changes when a dark winged creature breaks through her roof one night. After that, Ruby’s life takes a turn and she becomes immersed in the world she has been running from.
Nightshade is hunting for his father, looking to get him to swear an oath to stay away from Nightshade’s half brother. When he meets Ruby, he feels the stirrings of lust for the first time ever. When she requires a powerful protector by her side to ensure her safety, he will do anything to keep her that way. But when Ruby realizes her power is more than anyone could have imagined, Nightshade just might have to lay down his life for her.
I really wanted to like this book, and there were aspects of it that I really enjoyed, but for me it had too many places where it just fell apart. I enjoyed the characters themselves. Ruby is strong and despite the horrible history with magic, she takes her own ability in stride. Although she fights her new powers, she is also accepting of the good she can do, and of the advantages of her gift. I liked that about her. Nightshade is tortured and broody and yet sensitive and protective of Ruby, his half-brother and the ones he considers family. As individuals, I really enjoyed them both.
However, as a couple there were so many twists and turns that I had a difficult time believing in their romance. Ruby isn’t freaked out by his wings and power, yet the thought of being bit scares the crap outta her, and has her running into a fake relationship with someone else. Then, while she was forced to bond with another, she was almost selfish in that she didn’t want Nightshade to have a blood bond with anyone else. Their relationship felt very one-sided in love (through Nightshade), and just awkward at best.
Most of the secondary characters were enjoyable to read as well. Taylor set up quite a few characters that could be a great continuation to the series, and I do hope that we get to see more of the unique world. I have to say through, there was one character who really rubbed me the wrong way, Troy, and I could have done without many of the scenes involving him. He just seemed somewhat seedy and a little bit of a creeper. I also didn’t think the story lines regarding Twister were finished, instead we were left in limbo regarding the bond he forced on Ruby.
I did enjoy bits and pieces of the plot. Some things felt convoluted and unnecessary, but for the most part things kept moving along, were action packed and engaging. I really enjoyed the world, and was immersed in the drama between the Seelie and Unseelie courts.
All in all I wanted this to be an awesome fantasy read, but instead it was just an okay read. While it had great characters and a decent plot line, the story started sluggishly, had some slow parts in the middle and a few unsavory secondary characters that dragged down the overall tone and feel of the book.