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The Beast Charmer #1

Kingdom of Exiles

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Note: This is the original Adult (fantasy/romance) version.

Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin's Creed in this epic, gripping fantasy romance from debut author Maxym M. Martineau.

Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep trouble. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts on the black market—an offense punishable by death—and now there's a price on her head. With the realm's most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can't refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.

If only it were that simple. Unbeknownst to Leena, the undying ones are bound by magic to complete their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood of assassins...not even to save the woman he can no longer live without.

438 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published June 25, 2019

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Maxym M. Martineau

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 996 reviews
Profile Image for Amy Imogene Reads.
902 reviews775 followers
March 26, 2021
4 stars

WOW. From my very mediocre reactions to the cover to the fact that I entered it during a reading slump, Kingdom of Exiles blew me away with its readability, world building, and overall reading enjoyment.

Writing: ★★★★
Concept: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Plot: ★★★ 1/2
Pacing: ★★★★

It's been a long time since I've loved a new paranormal romance. I think as I've shifted to more adult mystery/thrillers and YA novels, it's hard to revert back to the often formulaic nature of the average paranormal romance. Kingdom of Exiles is no ordinary romance. In fact, it's one of those books that I often feel is on the wrong side of the shelf between romance and fantasy—it has the action and world-building of many adult fantasy novels, just with more sex.

I mean, who can complain?

Leena is a Charmer, a class of magic-bearing human that can tame the magical beasts found in the world and keep them in her "beast realm," which for the sake of this review can best be described as a similar concept to Newt Scamander's suitcase full of beasts in J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Leena has been exiled from the Charmer's haven and finds herself eeking a meager existence as an illegal beast trader in the slums. That is, before she finds herself as the target of an assassin's hit.

Noc is the leader of the Cruor, a guild of reborn (not vampiric, but definitely previously dead) assassins that are killers for hire. His guild is tasked with ending the life of an exiled Charmer who the Charmer Council has branded a criminal, but she thwarts the Cruor's first hit attempt and comes knocking on Noc's door, battered assassin in tow. Leena wants the hit removed, and Noc wants her for something else. With a hidden past and dark curse attached to him, Noc finds his pull to Leena irresistible even with its deadly possibilities. He strikes a deal with his mark.

Leena, Noc, and a few other colorful Cruor characters find themselves on an adventure through the realm to a) fulfill Leena's bargain with Noc and provide his Cruor brethren with beasts of their own—think animal familiars—and b) for Noc's mission of killing Leena once she's exhausted her usefulness.

But is Leena really the criminal that the Charmer Council proclaims?

As Noc and Leena dance closer and closer, they find themselves entwined in a larger story than either of them expected, where secrets come to life, love can kill, and not all is what it seems.

I found this story to be surprising at points, emotional at others, and altogether a humor-filled, well-built narrative. Kingdom of Exiles brings new life into a tired genre with its unique focus on magical beasts and assassins—I loved every moment.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.


Original notes: So I don't love the cover, but bear with me because the concept sounds like it could be a really good time.
September 8, 2021

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This is kind of like if someone took the world of Pokemon and made it into a romantic fantasy novel. Leena is a "Charmer," which means that she has the power to "tame" beasts. There are different classes of beasts in accordance with their danger and rarity, and with her powers, she has the ability to tame some of the most dangerous of all. But she's also ostracized from her people, so she's turned to the streets to offer ordinary people the chance to buy their own beasts.

Noc is the leader of an assassin's guild and he and his people have been contracted to kill Leena. At first, it seems reasonable, but once she confronts him to demand answers, he finds himself wondering why the contract was put out in the first place since she doesn't seem particularly evil or ambitious. Also, he's attracted to her, so there's that. More thoughts on that attraction, later.

As they fight their illicit attraction, we follow the two of them on a quest to break a curse, find answers, and of course, tame more beasts. But the curse might be deadly, and the answers more so, and the beasts, of course, carry their own costs. Dun, dun, dun.

So props to the author for the whole Pokemon-like element. The blurb uses Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as a comparison, which is maybe also due to the beastiary in the back of the book, but Leena wears a little book around her neck with her beasts in it (like a Pokedex), and they're stored in somewhere called the beast realm when they're not in play, so it feels more like Pokemon to me (with a dash of Rune Factory 4, maybe). This is the biggest selling point of the book, imo.

The problem is that this is a fantasy romance and the romance element is the worst part of the story. I loved the beginning, and Leena's "take no prisoners" mercenary act was so fun and hardcore. But then as soon as she and Noc meet, the enemies-to-lovers tension I was hoping for just fizzled out and they got over their suspicion of each other so quickly that there was no doubt at all that they would end up together, and it just kind of felt like 300+ pages of what's the point?

The villain is genuinely terrifying but I didn't feel like they were really used as effectively as they could have been. Yes, the ending was awful-- but I would have liked to have seen more foreshadowing leading up to that. The feeling of doom that should have been hanging over our couple's heads just wasn't there. Contrast that with another fantasy romance, which is actually on the suggested tab for this book on Goodreads, called PROMISE OF DARKNESS by Bec McMaster, where even though they are attracted to each other, their relationship progresses in a gradual and natural way as it's tested (and threatened) again and again by immediate dangers.

KINGDOM OF EXILES isn't a bad book, but it didn't quite manage to live up to my expectations. When I first started reading, I was all gung-ho about reading the sequel, but now I'm not so sure I want to bother continuing with the series. Your mileage may vary, though.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth.
793 reviews869 followers
June 25, 2019

AUTHOR: Maxym Martineau
SERIES: The Beast Charmer
RELEASE DATE: June 25 2019
GENRE: Fantasy
THEMES & TROPES: Enemies to lovers
RATING: 4.5 Star


Kingdom of Exiles is the first in the Beast Charmer series and I'm so happy I took a chance to read this debut. As per usual, the first in a new fantasy series is a little on the slower side, at least the first half - building a vast, detailed world like this one takes a lot of descriptive writing and doesn't help the story move forward. But make no mistake - this world is absolutely stunning, creative and imaginative. I love every single colorful aspect of it and I didn't mind one bit to read about its complexity.

Charmers are coveted and admired in this realm. They tame beasts that come with a multitude of different abilities, from healing over granting wishes to offensive and defensive magic. Leena is a charmer but she has been exiled from the charmers' world due to transgressions of a former lover which she has been accused of. Our hero, Noc, is the leader of the Assassin's Guild, tasked with the assassination of Leena. Their first meeting is more than awkward and problematic as you can imagine. Leena offers a counter deal: a beast for Noc and his closest friends in exchange for the guild to drop the order. Together they journey to places far away and form an unusual friendship. Unbeknownst to her is there no way out of the killing contract, so while Leena dutifully delivers the beasts, Noc struggles with the knowledge what he will have to do in the near future.
She treated each creature with the devoted love and attention of a mother. E-Class to B-Class, they were the same to her. She stroked chins, ruffled feathers, cooed words of pure happiness, and placed gentle kisses with her flushed lips. Why anyone wanted to kill this woman was beyond me.

Noc is a troubled man, cursed by a priestess to bestow illness on everyone he shows love. My heart ached for him, he was lonely in a way no one should be. His craving for a deep connection was desperate and sad. He kept pushing away the people he cared most about, so I was really glad to get his point of view, otherwise I would have gotten whiplash from his changing emotions. Emotions that ran incredibly deep. This man's love for the people he considered family was endless.

She was the ache in my heart. The breath in my lungs. This was Leena. This was my life.

Leena was lonely in her own way. She lost everything after being exiled and had to make a living selling her beasts, a punishable offense, often by death. Her longing for a real family and friends was just as desperate but trust didn't come easy. I loved Leena's inert sweetness, her capacity for love, her tenacity and will to survive. She was a kickass heroine.
When it came to us, there were just too many thorns. But damn if I didn’t want to cut them all down and see what grew.

I loved Noc and Leena's connection, especially after every obstacle in the way of their relationship was removed it turned into a selfless, tender love that touched me deeply. Leena's passion and love for her beasts was another of my favorite things in this new series. Noc's friends, Calem, Ozias and Kost complete the couple with their loyalty and very well fleshed-out characters.

Kingdom of Exiles is a treat for every fantasy lover who enjoys a complex magical world with a heavy dose of romance and a surprising amount of steam. I loved the creativity, the beasts, who all had their own personality, and the characters that brought this world to life. The writing is the kind I adore - almost poetic in parts. This story picks up in intensity and action in the second half and ends on a cliffy. I'm looking forward to continuing my adventures in this realm with this group of people.
Never again would I lose her. Never again would she endure the horrors still lingering in her teary gaze. Never. She was mine to protect and love. And I would follow her anywhere.

Profile Image for Anja H..
713 reviews450 followers
July 12, 2019

Do you like Fantastic Beasts, Assassin’s Creed.... and Pokémon? Sounds intriguing?
This is the book you never knew you needed! It's also surprisingly very good!
The only thing I can encourage you to do is pick this up asap.

This novel just ticks all the right boxes for me:
Slow burn romance ✔️
Fantastic action ✔️
Magical creatures ✔️
Merry band of assassins ✔️
Steamy scenes ✔️
Great world-building ✔️✔️

I enjoyed the heck out of this and I can’t thank Netgalley enough for bringing this to my attention. Can’t wait to read the sequel!

Received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Christie«SHBBblogger».
954 reviews1,230 followers
June 25, 2019

Title: Kingdom of Exiles
Series: The Beast Charmer #1
Author: Maxym M. Martineau
Release date: June 25, 2019
Cliffhanger: yes
Genre: fantasy, paranormal romance

When it came to us, there were just too many thorns. But damn if I didn’t want to cut them all down and see what grew.

The first half of this book was a little slow going for me. Thankfully once I felt comfortable in Maxym M. Martineau's world of beasts, charmers, and assassins, I was all in. It was loaded with action, adventure, and a romance that was refreshingly heavy for the genre. I wasn't entirely sold on how quickly Leena developed her attraction for Noc. This is a guy whom she thought could figuratively and literally stab her in the back. But aside from that, it progressed believably and I enjoyed the forbidden love aspect of it.

Noc is an undead guild master of Cruor. He leads a group of assassins brought back from the dead that must complete each kill contract assigned to them. There is no choice in the matter, it's simply a something they do in order to survive. Even knowing that some of his bounties are innocent, he's resigned to his fate. But it's a lonely life he leads, because even the men and women closest to him must be kept at a distance for their own good. He erected a barrier between himself and the rest of the world-a cold facade that no one is permitted to penetrate. He believes that his past is so tarnished by his misdeeds that this existence is all he deserves.

I thought death had wiped my slate clean when I followed Talmage and became a member of Cruor. I didn’t realize how wrong I was until it was too late. If death couldn’t cure me, then nothing would.

His past life is shrouded in mystery. You're given hints and clues throughout the story, and I think I have an idea as to what he's concealing but this bombshell is left for future books to be revealed. You just know that when everything does come out, there will probably be hell to pay.

Leena and Noc are similar in that they are both outcasts of society. Both fallen from grace and doing what they must, living one day at a time. Leena is a highly skilled beast charmer who has been cast out of her home, Hireath. Betrayed by the man she loved, she no longer puts her trust in anyone but herself. Her one goal is to somehow convince the Council to hear her side of the story so she may return home. It doesn't help that she's been breaking the law by selling beasts while exiled. And the hit put out on her from a mysterious source? That tends to cause some difficulties as well. Leena isn't one to go down easily though, and she manages to strike a deal with the man bound by Cruor’s Oath to end her life. She must provide beasts for his crew in exchange for her freedom. If she can kill two birds with one stone and charm the beast she needs to re-enter Hireath, she may have a chance to reclaim her home and her honor that was stolen from her.

The magical beasts were something completely different for me. I really enjoyed the wide range of species and how their talents interacted and aided the group on their adventure. Leena's skill in charming them was extraordinary. Many times she was facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, putting herself in life or death situations. Yet she faced each and every one with courage that was admirable. There was a lot to love about Leena. She was a strong heroine that was dealt a crappy hand, but always finds a way to outsmart the odds. As she started to develop feelings for Noc, there was a lot of push and pull because he couldn't help but give her mixed signals. Falling for each other could be the destruction of them both.

Noc was an open door. Not because he was easy to read, but because every action begged me to walk right into him. To unearth every secret of my own volition and turn it over in my hands.

The end was action packed, and satisfyingly suspenseful. It leaves off in a happy for now place, but there is plenty of unresolved issues and room for the plot to grow in the following books. This is my first read by the author, and I was very pleasantly surprised. I'm always looking for more fantasy/paranormal books with a strong element of romance, and this fit the bill perfectly. Great world building, original concept, and flawed yet approachable characters that are easy to root for make a well rounded package. I look forward to continuing with The Beast Charmer series next year with The Frozen Prince.



Profile Image for Dianne.
6,765 reviews582 followers
May 21, 2019
You think snake charmers are impressive? Meet Leena, magical beast charmer, down on her luck and now wanted for selling her beasts on the black market. The punishment is death, but that’s only if you get caught, which she has no intention of doing until the realm’s most talented Murder-for-hire assassin is fast on her heels. How could Noc know he would fall for this beauty, even if it could cost him his life?

KINGDOM OF EXILES by Maxym M. Martineau has a magical, mystical romantic tale that may take a while to reach its boiling point, but trust me, it is well worth the wait! Fabulously unique “beasts” steal a scene or two, but Leena’s character is definitely one to watch in action, even as Noc gives a great showing as a hot, yet tormented hero.

Do you like some spice with your magical conflict? Prepare to have the heat turned up!

Great writing, wonderful world-building and those beasts? Loved the idea. This author has a hit for sure and a very creative imagination that promises more great reading to come!

I received this ARC copy of Kingdom of Exiles from SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca. This is my honest and voluntary review.

Series: The Beast Charmer - Book 1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (June 25, 2019)
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Print Length: 400 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Christa.
852 reviews67 followers
September 3, 2019
9/3/19 on sale $1.99

Released June 25, 2019

Fantastic beasts meets Assassins Creed is an excellent description for Kingdom of Exiles.

Leena is a Charmer who can charm beasts and bond with them. They can protect her. She is exiled from her people for reasons you learn as the story progresses, and she’s forced to sell her beloved beasts on the black market. This is the number one law for her people to never break, and she thwarts an assassin hired to kill her. Leena takes him hostage to find out who was trying to kill her, and she makes a truce with Noc, leader of the assassins. He won’t kill her, and she will gift him and his assassins beasts.

This was a wonderful start to a fantasy series. I loved the beasts, they were my favorite part of the story. They were each so unique, and I loved how many there were. I need some fan art of them. The world building was also remarkable, and woven nicely throughout the plot. No info dumps here.

Leena is a strong heroine. She’s in a hard place, doing what she can to survive. But she’s kind to animals, and she’s a softy beneath her tough exterior. Noc is mysterious. He has hints of a tragic past, and I hope that book two will explore his story.

I kept thinking about Amanda Bouchet’s Promise of Fire while reading this book. Both have strong heroines, alpha male heroes, well developed supporting characters, and unique world building. I think fans of fantasy romance will enjoy Kingdom of Exiles, and I’ll be eagerly awaiting the second book in the series.

I received this ARC in exchange for a honest review.
Profile Image for Ayman.
190 reviews70.7k followers
July 29, 2021
ok now this was fun. like truly fun to read. the story was captivating from the start. the fucking tension? HOT! these characters are dynamic, genuinely interesting to read about, and I’m literally in love with ALL of them. If you're looking for heavy romance over plot, this book is for you.

THOUGHTS: this had everything I wanted in a plot: enemies to lovers, adventure, friendship, found family, magic, badass female & male mc, very steamy scenes (that were lowkey kind of worded weirdly but still addictive to read.), and overall great writing! The world building could have been better but it’s nothing to complain over. I’m glad there wasn’t a lot of information dump in the beginning. it was sewn into the plot nicely without being overwhelming. This is enemies to lovers but i wished this was more slow burned out. The relationships weren't forced however i just wanted to see more banter. The book was pretty fast paced without beginning annoying so i really enjoyed that. made it smoother to read.

i really enjoyed the bi & gay representation we got from the MC and other characters. this could’ve used more racial diversity however. or just a clear description of any character introduced.

but damn, the way things ended?!! I’m picking up book 2 NOW!
Profile Image for Jeffe Kennedy.
Author 89 books1,217 followers
January 16, 2019
Maxym M. Martineau’s KINGDOM OF EXILES debuts a fresh new fantasy world teeming with exotic beasts, magical secrets, and hot-blooded romance. Exiled from her homeland, and on the run from assassins, the heroine is a “charmer,” who can summon beasts to assist her—and they are fabulous and wondrous indeed! She makes a desperate bargain with the head of the assassin’s guild, a cursed man compelled to hunt her down. The climactic ending promises more epic adventures and political wrangling to come – and left me with a happy sigh and a fervent wish for a beast of my own. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Mindy (Book Snitch).
687 reviews220 followers
May 28, 2019
**UPDATE 5/27/19** I cant get this book out of my head so... I just pre-ordered my own paperback copy and cant wait to get it in my greedy little hands!

Heat Level: 2 out of 4 flames
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
Reviewed by Naughty Book Snitch: Mandie
See Mandies Blog Review Here

Official Book Trailer

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

First, the description of Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin's Creed... DUH! AND its adult? Sign this bitch up! That is a recipe for eye porn!


So, with all the good reviews I wanted to give this a fair shake and I was very critical of everything but also super hopeful this was going to be good. I ended up really liking this book but it wasn't a smooth journey for me. What I mean by that is that it started off great, then got slow and then there were a lot of moments where things seemed off and inconsistent with the characters that were developed. But everything did come full circle and was explained really, really well. This book actually had a beginning, middle and end. The ending didn't feel forced or rushed and ended up being really good. However, the relationship between Leena and Noc did feel forced and didnt really feel genuine until the end.


So, one thing that irritates me when reading any kind of book is when a strong independent woman meets a man and all of the sudden is unable to function in life and take care of herself. Everything she has learned in life up to that point has poofed away like magic.



There were moments in this book where that happened and I was fully prepared to rip this to shreds. So I kept reading and the way the story is built, this was actually explained (a little bit) later in the story. But I feel this could have been better explained earlier in the story because you might lose a lot of readers because of that. Like, Leena doesn't have to be completely brainless and unable to take care of herself.

On the flip side of that coin, you have this super badass manly assassin, Noc who doesn't talk to anyone. Especially not to the "jobs" he has to carry out. Doesn't want to get attached to somebody he needs to kill. I totally get that. But that is not at all what happened. I think this is the one character flaw that bugged me most and was never resolved for me. There was no effort made to stay away from Leena.


Well, the author did try to write some internal conflict between Leena and Noc and very weakly attempted to show Noc trying to stay away, but it was not believable at all. I think thats why I dont think Leena and Noc's connection is believable. I get what the author is trying to do... Hitman falls for his target. Cute... but could have been executed better.

The side characters and the beasts were really good! I loved them all and cant wait to read all their stories. Especially when Leena paired Calem with a beast. It actually brought a tear to my eye, it was so sweet.

The sex was... ok. It didn't happen until close to the end and it wasn't anything spectacular.

And, y'all.... the word "crease" was used to describe Noc fingerbanging Leena.

"I wanted this. Needed this. He didn't pull away. Instead, he slipped one finger beneath the lace and teased my crease. Let out a heady groan. "You're already wet." Tortuously slow, he drove one finger inside me."


And then... next page....

"Noc growled, "When you say my name like that..." He drove two fingers into my crease at the same moment his tongue danced over my clit."


And yet again.... A couple paragraphs down....

"Barreling his fingers into me, he kept his lips poised over my crease"

Honestly... the image below is what that last quote reminds me of...

The quotes could have been hot if the word "crease" wasn't used. Also, the tension wasn't believable for me and felt like the author was forcing a connection between the characters.

Overall, this was a good read and I really enjoyed myself. I know I complained a lot but I liked the story so much and some of my complaints were actually explained later in the story that I can't wait to read more. The story does end with a tiny bit of a cliffy but its not that bad. It just intrigues you to want to read the next one. As for comparing this to Fantastic Beasts and Assassin's Creed.... ya, I see it but this isnt a copy. This story has its own voice and Im listening.

Official Book Trailer
Profile Image for Al *the semi serial series skipper*.
1,654 reviews652 followers
March 23, 2019
***I received this ARC courtesy of Netgallery in exchange for an honest review***

Pretty good read

4.5 stars.

Leena is a charmer, she charms magical beasts and and each of the beasts have certain powers that can be called upon when needed. She has been living in exile due to a crime she did not commit. To make ends meet she sells some of her beasts on the black market which is a punishable offense.

She soon discovers there is a bounty on her head, a bounty carried out by a assassin's guild with a 100% completion rate. She tries to make a deal with the head assassin and lucky for her he needs some beasts and since charmers are rare she is just the person to find them. When she does she goes scot free

The story was engaging. I liked Leena and the love she displayed for her beasts. I also liked that we had Noc's POV, he was also an interesting character. The secondary characters too balanced the whole story out. It seems like a long book but it went by pretty fast.

I am excited I got to discover this author and I can't wait to read book 2. I already have an idea about Noc and I want to see how that plays out.
Profile Image for Leah City of Words and Pages.
522 reviews237 followers
January 26, 2022
Ein sehr tolles Fantasybuch, das ganz neue Elemente mit einer interessanten Liebesgeschichte vereint!

Unsere Protagonisten Leena und Noc mochte ich wirklich sehr sehr gerne. Die beiden waren immer authentisch und zusammen haben sie mir wirklich gefallen.
Mich hat die Thematik mit den Tierwesen ein wenig an Pokémon erinnert, aber ich fand es super cool und besonders innovativ.
Für 5🌟 hat mir persönlich nur noch etwas gefehlt …
Profile Image for Meli  .
1,026 reviews184 followers
November 17, 2021
Die Assassinen sollen Leena töten, doch ihr Anführer Noc ist schnell sehr beeindruckt von der schlauen und mutigen Tiermagierin. Nun versucht Leena am Leben zu bleiben und Noc versucht, seinen Gefühlen zu widerstehen, denn Liebe ist für ihn unmöglich, vor allem, wenn er einen Auftrag hat. Die Assassinen sind seine Familie und daher stehen sie für ihn immer an erster Stelle. Man spürt bei beiden Protagonisten die Leidenschaft für ihre jeweiligen Berufungen, ihre Liebe für ihre Freunde und kann auch ihre Wünsche nachvollziehen. Das alles macht sie sympathisch! Auch die Nebencharaktere konnten mich überzeugen.

Die Tierwesen erinnern mich schon stark an die neusten Filme aus dem Harry Potter Universum, da Leena verschiedene Wesen auf unterschiedliche Art zähmt und sie auf eine Art immer mit sich herumträgt. Andere Leser hat es auch an Pokémon erinnert, was ich auch verstehen kann. Die verschiedenen, kreativen Tierwesen fand ich jedenfalls in jeder Hinsicht gelungen und mochte jede Szene mit ihnen.

Ich hatte eigentlich viel Spaß an dem Buch, aber das Ende konnte mich nicht so ganz überzeugen. Da ich das Buch in einer Leserunde gelesen habe und das Buch in vier Abschnitte unterteilt war, kann ich ziemlich genau sagen, dass mir eigentlich nur das letzte Viertel nicht besonders gefallen hat, davor mochte ich die fantastische Welt mit den Tierwesen und Assassinen, die Protagonisten und Nebencharaktere fand ich sympathisch und die Liebesgeschichte sowie das gemeinsame Abenteuer fand ich spannend. Umso trauriger finde ich es, dass es im letzten Viertel dann plötzlich bergab ging. Es war zwar spannend, aber ein Charakter hat sich komplett daneben benommen, was mir überhaupt nicht gefallen hat. Es hat einfach nicht zum Rest des Buches gepasst!

Ein paar Geheimnisse wurden gelüftet, andere hat man sich für die Fortsetzung aufgehoben, mit nicht gerade subtilen Hinweisen darauf, dass sie bald eine große Rolle spielen werden. Trotz des schwachen Endes freue ich mich schon sehr auf die Fortsetzung!


"Die Tiermagierin - Schattentanz" hat mir eigentlich sehr gut gefallen, die Tierwesen konnten mich absolut bezaubern und die Charaktere mochte ich eigentlich auch sehr gerne. Zum Ende hin wurde die Geschichte dann deutlich schwächer, aber ich freue mich schon auf das nächste Buch.
Profile Image for Marta Cox.
2,547 reviews191 followers
March 16, 2019
Four and a half for this amazing beginning of what I think might be a trilogy. Leena is a Charmer and can tame magical wild Beasts but she was cruelly betrayed by someone she trusted and is now banished from her homeland. She makes her living however she can but someone has a plan that involves Leena and it means she's in grave danger.
Noc leads a band of assassin's and the newest assignment goes horribly wrong when their target Leena gets the jump on her supposed killer ! She's brazen and brave but Noc has secrets of his own and if he can get the Charmer to cooperate and gift him with Beasts of his own he can offer her safety from his Guild but Leena really should pay attention to his terms !
I really enjoyed this as it had magic, strong characters and of course the varied and amazing Beasts. The world building felt very organic and not pushed on the reader with chunks of useless information. The Beasts are very interesting and I'd love to know more. As for the romance it's a slow build which made it much more satisfying. All this meant the plot and what happens leaves me believing you should read this book yourself. I very much look forward to more in this series and happily recommend it.
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
1,972 reviews3,292 followers
November 29, 2020
Kingdom of Exiles is the first book in a fantasy romance series that has a lot going for it. One thing to know here is that while book 1 was originally published as an adult novel, the series is pivoting to the YA market and this has been re-released in a YA edition. I had an interesting experience with reading because I listened to the audiobook of the original AND read along with a physical copy of the YA edition (thank you Sourcebooks Fire!) so I can tell you what has changed.

The story follows Leena, a Beastcharmer (she can tame magical beasts, it's a cool magic system) who has been exiled from her people and now a dangerous guild of assassins is after her. But she makes a deal with their (kinda sexy) leader Noc in hopes of saving her own life and finding a way to return to her people. Noc has his own secret agenda, and behind the scenes they are affected by political machinations as well! It's an intriguing narrative with interesting characters, a cool world, a strong romantic element, and plenty of room to continue the series. And if some of the twists here and in the forthcoming book are pretty obvious, you still have a good time with it.

So what has changed in the YA edition? A lot of little stuff, but a few primary things I'll address. In the original, Leena is 29 (an age that probably makes more sense given everything that has happened) but here she's aged down to probably 18 or 19, though I don't think it's specified. Also, the steamier bits are significantly toned down. In the original, there is sexy dialogue peppered throughout (very little of that in the YA version), and two explicitly described sex scenes and a lot of leadup. In the YA edition, there is mostly just some kissing and one very vaguely described sex scene later in the book (on the order of "and then they moved together and became one" type of thing). The other change is there are a few added chapters from side character perspectives that flesh them out, and a chapter where Leena trains characters on how to care for their magical beasts. Otherwise, they are pretty much the same.

Do know that this gets quite dark at times and includes content warnings for torture that feels borderline like sexual assault, kidnapping, drugging, emotional abuse, death, and violence.

In general I had a good time with this and look forward to continuing with the series! I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for ʙᴇʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。..
199 reviews99 followers
June 15, 2019
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (Thank you!)
Fairy Tail (Hiro Mashima) meets Sarah J.Maas. We follow the two protagonists in Dual pov: Leena, a beast charmer and Noc a lethal assassin. Leena is a fugitive and Noc is cursed and somehow they end up meeting because Noc is hired to kill her. The premise is fun, the magic system and world-building are interesting. However I had some issues.
Leena is supposed to be a badass that must not be underestimated; and yet we’re told she would never be able to beat Noc or one of his group.
She is pure like a unicorn and literally, charming. Noc and his brotherhood of assassins are supposed to be lethal. But all of them end up being friendly (and not immune to her charm) to Lena almost instantly (except Kost) and Leena and Noc have strong insta-lust and insta-love going on, which felt incredible out of character. Also, Leena after meeting Noc decides to trust a bunch of assassins and take their word for granted even though the very reason she is hunted for is because someone betrayed her trust. The only thing I really loved about Leena was how much she cared for the beasts. It was really nice to have a heroine that cared for creatures.
The villain was so one-dimensional that it disappointed me. I was expecting some conflicting emotions, depth, complexity. I got none.
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed Noc’s Brothers: Kost, Calem and Oz. I liked the author built them with distinct personalities and looks. It was easy to remember each one of them and I loved them so much as supporting characters that I think they totally eclipsed Leena and Noc for me. I kept wishing to hear more about them and less of Leena and Noc. Kost was good angst, Oz a big bear we wanna hug and my favorite, Calem, was a playboy with some mystery that has yet to unfold. I also liked the LGBTI rep very much, (Noc is Bi and Kost is gay) and I think it was done well.
Overall, it was a good read, it was entertaining and I recommend it to people who enjoy paranormal romance, or fantasy romance.
Profile Image for Ann (annreads).
243 reviews313 followers
July 9, 2019
*I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thanks Maxym and Sourcebooks Casablanca for sending me a copy!*

*Reread June 2019*

To give you an idea of how much I adored this book, I actually read it twice since I received it back in February and I’m already planning future rereads, so yeah, so say that I enjoyed it would be an understatement😂
I completely fell completely in love with the story and the characters, I think I could literally read a million books about their adventures and I'd never get enough of them! Overall, I had loads of fun reading it, and trust me guys, you don’t want to miss this one!

*First read February 2019*

Omg that was SO GOOD, definitely an instant new favorite of mine😍 You guys really don’t want to miss this one when it comes out, it was such an incredible read! Now don’t mind me, I’ll be rereading this book until the next book comes because I cannot get enough of this characters! *cries till 2020*

Profile Image for Shannon.
Author 2 books192 followers
June 10, 2019
Thank you to the publisher—Sourcebooks Casablanca—for giving me an e-ARC via NetGalley.

You can also read my review here

“No matter how hard you try, no matter how many battles you win, you will never survive me.”


I don't know where I should begin. Everything about this book was mind-blowing. I picked it up expecting some cheesy romance with average beasts show up here and there but boy I WAS COMPLETELY WRONG. When the premise announced that this is going to be something like Fantastic Beasts meet Assassin's Creed, well, I can't be sure that they're right because I haven't read Assassin's Creed. BUT, I can assure you that Kingdom of Exiles was perfection.

First, I want to praise Martineau for creating awesome and powerful beasts. I love this book mainly because of them. The description of these creatures was so beautiful and detailed. I could picture them breathing and moving inside my mind. I swear the images felt so real. Throughout reading this book, I tried so hard to remember their names and what their powers were. They just seemed so wonderful. Oh, how I love if there are some fan arts of them!

Now, let's talk about the world inside Kingdom of Exiles because I can't miss such a crucial and magnificent part of a fantasy book. I gotta admit there was a little explanation about how the kingdom works. Guess book one wasn't meant for that. But their journey took me to get a glorious view of the stunning places in this book. Not to mention the beasts realms and a mysterious place where the Charmers lived! They were written so beautifully I could feel like I was in there with Leena and Noc.

How cruel was this? Death or a broken heart. Why were those my choices?

Besides the beasts and the world, I really liked the plot. Everything went so smoothly. No, that doesn't mean everything is going to be okay. Clearly, not. The writing hooked me from the start then things quickly heated and that made me can't stop reading. The story slowly but surely escalated into something big and magical. There were many things that got explained clearly in here but there are also some secrets that are yet to be revealed. This only makes me dying to read the sequel!

The characters, they were all super fun to read. With different personalities, they made an interesting squad. Let's break down some of them real quick:
Leena; brave, strong, smart, bold, and lovely. I liked her from our first meeting. She reminded me of some of my favorite characters.
Such a delicate thing, and yet there was strength to her stance. The kind of determination and grit that came from battling against terrible odds and somehow coming through it all alive.

Noc; always curious, cunning, mischievous, charismatic, secretive, and brilliant. He captured my attention right away with his silent mysterious way and the way he fought. He sure knew how to beat his opponent and gave a good show.
If he wasn’t so damn menacing, he’d be attractive. I’d swear he’d peeked at my soul on the train, the way his obsidian eyes burned right through to my core.

Kost; cold, aloof, smart, and honest. Even though he struck me as cruel at first but I came to love him. He was loyal and kind to his brothers and so dang good at strategy.
I couldn’t be like Kost, offering affection and devotion only to be met with a cold shoulder. I couldn’t.

Ozias; kind, sweet, gentle. He was the only character that's most easy to get attached to. I mean, he was the nicest and understanding person, how could I not love Oz?
Oz was a dominating figure—there was no denying that. But beneath his hulking frame was a friendly and sweet gentle giant.

Calem; flirty, wild, genuine. It felt like there's fire running in his veins. He just full of eagerness and always looking for a challenge.
“Get behind me.” Low and dark, a chuckle escaped from the back of his throat. “I think I’ve been waiting all my life for you to say that to me, Leena.”

Beneath all that, this book left a strong impression on me. This isn't just about falling in love with a dangerous man.
It is about finding what you really want and fight for it, no matter what.
It is about trying to survive with a terrible and haunting past.
It is about appreciating what you have and show everyone who really matters to you that you love them.

Hope wasn’t something I allowed to fester, because if I was wrong, the price was too high.

Overall, I loved Kingdom of Exiles! It was enchanting, magical, unique, and surprisingly sweet. The romance was well-written. It wasn't too much but engaging enough. I really adore this book. If you're looking for a fantasy read with mythical creatures, interesting characters, and gripping romance, I recommend you to add this book to your TBR.

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Profile Image for Isabel.
404 reviews73 followers
June 17, 2019
I recieved an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Unfortunately, this book was not for me. I did not connect with our dude Noc which soured my relationship with this book overall. I wanted a romance i could root for, but this was not it for me. That doesn't mean I don't think other people will and can enjoy this book because i really do think they can. But I felt myself disliking him, and finding him annoying and not lovable at all. Which honestly is my main gripe with this book, because overall Leena reminds me of a certain Maria V. Snyder character which I love - and the monsters add so much that I enjoyed into the world-building.
All in all, i'm really sad Noc turned me off this much because I think this romance will really fall into peoples hearts but not mine unfortunately.
The world is gripping, I love what we have been shown and it feels real. Leena is a flawed but believable character. I don't have any particular feelings about the smut in this book - so I'm assuming that I didn't hate it which is in it self a good thing.
Profile Image for Carolin Wahl.
Author 9 books863 followers
November 11, 2020
4.25 Sterne (:

Fand die Grundidee echt toll: hatte was von Pokémon trifft Fantastic Beasts mit einem Assasinen-Bund, der Schatten beherrschen kann.
Letztendlich blieb mir aber vieles zu ungenau, gerade auch was die Welt betrifft, mir hat es einfach nicht gereicht, dass Dinge beschrieben, aber selten erklärt wurden.
Außerdem war mir die Liebesgeschichte etwas zu schnell - ist aber einfach eine Geschmacksache.

Nichtsdestotrotz eine tolle Geschichte. (:
Profile Image for Beth.
3,126 reviews261 followers
June 26, 2019
Kingdom of Exiles was a sizzling hot magical tale.

Leena is a magical beast charmer. She is extremely gifted but in exile from her people, for a crime she didn’t commit. The only way to live is to sell the beasts she charms. The problem with that, if she gets caught by her people, they’ll execute her. But someone really wants her already and it brings Noc, a top assassin for hire after her.

I loved the world building and the imaginative beasts. Magic, mayhem and sizzling chemistry, Kingdom of Exiles was a great book-cation. I look forward to more in the Beast Charmer world.

I received this ARC copy of Kingdom of Exiles from SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca. This is my honest and voluntary review. Kingdom of Exiles is set for publication June 25, 2019.

My Rating: 5 stars
Written by: Maxym M. Martineau
Series: The Beast Charmer (Book 1)
Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Dated: June 25, 2019
ISBN-10: 1492689386
ISBN-13: 978-1492689386
Genre: Fatnasy

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-Exiles...
Barnes & Nobles: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/king...
Profile Image for Papierfliegerin.
568 reviews83 followers
January 15, 2021
Wer hätte gedacht, dass sich hinter diesem doch eher unscheinbaren Cover eine Welt verbirgt, die zum Staunen und Träumen einlädt? Maxym M. Martineau hat mit "Schattentanz" eine wahnsinnig vielschichtige und facettenreiche Geschichte gezaubert, die in Sachen Spannung, Action und Emotion nicht mehr zu toppen ist. Von der ersten Seite an ist der Sog, der einen immer tiefer in die fiktive Welt Lendria zieht, deutlich spürbar und er lässt einen bis zum bitteren Ende nicht mehr los. Dass es aber möglich ist, in dieser so actionreichen und tempogeladenen Storyline, auch noch auf so zahlreiche, intensive Emotionen zu stoßen, war für mich der schlussendliche Beweis, dass der Auftakt der Trilogie rund um Leena und Noc ein absolutes Jahreshighlight ist. Selten war ich so sehr von Magie und Gefühlen umgehen, und noch seltener berührten mich die Figuren innerhalb eines High Fantasy Romans so sehr, wie es hier der Fall war. Auf meinem Blog könnt ich auch nochmal explizit alles nachlesen und auch meine Meinung zu den Charakteren erfahren. » hier « geht's direkt zur Rezension. Schaut gerne mal vorbei. Viel Spaß ♥
Profile Image for Angela.
3,197 reviews369 followers
May 3, 2019
It's hard to resist that sell: "Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin's Creed..." *points to self* HUGE Harry Potter (world) fan. HUGE Assassin's Creed fan. I should really know better than to listen to those types of comparisons. Yes, on the surface, I get it. She's a beast charmer. He's an assassin. Makes sense. But it doesn't really feel like either one of these. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing - but expectations matter. I was talking to a friend this morning and it's clear that Sourcebooks marketing team is on-point. They know how to pull me in and make me one-click a book. But - expectations matter.

I expected an amazing world, filled with incredible beasts, and an action-packed plot. Kingdom of Exiles delivered on most of it.

There is a world that seems absolutely amazing - one I'd like to visit actually. One that I'd like to get to know a lot better. The story takes place in the kingdom of Wilhelm, though we really only hear about it in passing. It's clear that there's a large world to explore and get to know. There are so many areas I want to visit. I'm not sure I fully see the land yet, but I'm hoping for a map in the final book. Yes, I'm a map geek. Sue me. It's hard for me to picture the geography of the world. They travel for 3 or 4 days, but I'm unsure which way they travel, or how that relates to anything else.

While we're traveling around with Leena and Noc, we get these tantalizing hints of things that have happened in the history of the world. These peeks into where the story is heading. I need more of that. I'd also love to know more about the politics and overarching history of the world. Just in-passing mentions of The First War, and some to-come doom left me dying for more information. It's obvious that there's a bigger picture plot that's happening in that larger world. The set-up is there. I wish we'd gotten more of it.

Something else I wish we'd gotten more of: the beasts. I want more time with them, exploring them, their unique personalities and gifts. I feel like we heard about a dozen of them, saw maybe a half-dozen in their full glory, but I'm not confident I really understand the beasts, the relationship the Charmers have with them, or the history behind it all.

Unfortunately, the pacing is where things really fell apart for me. This book is long - 448 pages - much longer than most romances (fantasy or not) that are out there. And sometimes it feels every bit that length. I cut my teeth on epic fantasy, I'm used to long, detailed stories. But I caught myself skimming and my mind wandering more than once while reading.

It's a bit frustrating, because by the end of the book Leena and Noc's story isn't over. There's more to do there. I'd have appreciated if more time had been spent on world-building, tightening up the pacing, and less time on the romance. The romance could have solidified in book 2 and 3, which I assume will also follow Leena and Noc. I'd also love it if more people realized that there is nothing wrong with a slow build romance. In fact, I appreciate it more than an insta-love.

Characters are another area that I'm struggling with. I think the romance could have been less of a focus, and more time spent on really developing Leena and Noc. I'm honestly struggling to tell you much about them other than Leena's a beast charmer that was betrayed, and Noc is an assassin that is cursed. This is probably why I'm having a hard time figuring out why they fell in love. Leena and Noc knew each other for a few days, didn't trust each other for at least half of that, were adversaries and one was trying to kill the other for nearly the entirety of it....them falling in everlasting love by the end? Not realistic to me.

I get why they like each other; Sure. Something to build on; yep. But risk everything, be my mate, forever-and-ever, love? Not yet. And SO MUCH TIME was spent on the romance, the angst, the sex...*sigh*

There was also the cliche brotherhood of assassins, though thankfully it seemed more robust and inclusive - there were females AND those that weren't really assassins in the group. I ended up really liking the dynamic and possibilities with the Cruor, but when I initially read about them I thought about every other paranormal romance I've read in the last 10 years. I wondered how long until we'd get stories about the other members of the Cruor. Maxym M. Martineau did a good job of pulling me past that and I stopped thinking of the cliche around half-way through the book.

Oh! Speaking of inclusivity - gay characters abound. Kingdom of Exiles shows that being in love with any gender is completely and totally normal. Noc had loved, and lost, a man before. It was completely casually mentioned, just like it would have been if he'd loved and lost a woman. There's no stigma, no concern, no care. It's just beautifully, wonderfully normal. God, I can't tell you how much I appreciated the hell out of that.

Sidebar: I'm bi-sexual. I don't talk about it a lot because my sexuality is my business - mine and my wife's. My friends and family know, but it doesn't define me. However, I've become increasingly frustrated with LGBTQ+ books in the past several years, to the point where I've mostly stopped reading them. I keep adding them to my to-be-read (TBR) because I'm sure there's gotta be better representation of people like me sometime, but I rarely actually start them because I've been let down so much.

Bi- people are typically depicted as one of three things: (i) evil, and/or the antagonist that's trying to steal the heart of the protagonist from the love interest; (ii) really just gay/straight and when they enter into a monogamous relationship they find out which; and/or (iii) MUST have both male and female love to be satisfied, cannot be monogamous. Rarely are we ever understood to just love and appreciate both males and females. I don't need both a man and a woman to be satisfied. I just don't care if it's a man or a woman that I'm with. I'm not a lesbian because I'm married to a woman. I'm still bi. I still find men attractive. And I sure as hell am not here to ruin relationships. I'm not even beginning to touch on the depth of my appreciation for how Ms. Martineau handled love and sexuality in this novel. Especially if she follows through, like I think she will, with more gay relationships.

There's so much here to appreciate and look forward to. I think a lot of my detractions are actually first book syndrome more than anything else. Some balance between the romance and everything else would have easily made this a 5 star read for me.

There's so damn much potential here. I can see it, on the horizon. I want more in the world, I want more of the characters, I want tons more beasts. I'm happily adding book 2 to my to-read list. Because the set-up for the overarching plot, and the potential in the world? I'm intrigued as hell and am excited to see it all come to fruition.

This was a hard one to rate. I think I'll settle on 3.5 stars, though honestly if the pacing in some of the spots had been more even it would have been a solid 4.5-5 star read. This was an Advance Review Copy, so it may change in the final version. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for this review copy.

More available at The Alliterates!
Profile Image for Sarah.
3,326 reviews1,016 followers
July 24, 2019
Kingdom of Exiles is the first book in Maxym Martineau's Beast Charmer series and I though it was a great debut novel. The hook in the blurb for this book is "Assassin's Creed meets Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them" and it was that reference to Fantastic Beasts that totally made this a must read book (I have to confess to never having played Assassin's Creed but I am a HUGE fan of anything in the Wizarding World).

Leena is a Charmer with a collection of weird and wonderful magical beasts. She was exiled by her people after being betrayed by the man she loved and now she's surviving by slowly selling her beloved creatures even though that is something completely forbidden in her homeland. The punishment for her actions is death and now there is a price on her head, Leena's only choice for survival is to make a deal with the leader of the Assassins. Noc jumps at the chance of obtaining magical beasts for him and his closest allies but he is keeping huge secrets from Leena, one about a curse on his family and another about the nature of an assassin's oath. Both of these have huge potential to hurt Leena in the future so Noc has some big decisions to make.

There was a lot to love about this debut, firstly I have to talk about the different magical beasts we encountered and how much fun it was to learn about their abilities. If anything I'd have actually liked more of this side of the story, particularly about the bond between Charmers and beast and the magical realm that the beasts lived in after being captured. I have a few questions about how that all works that I'm sure will become clearer as the series continues but I could still have read about the bests all day long.

The story reminded me a little of Amanda Bouchet's Kingmaker Chronicles, it has a similar set up with a young woman with certain abilities and a group of men who are accompanying her on a journey because she can give them something no-one else can. I really liked the camaraderie of Noc and his closest team but I think it would have been nice if there had been at least one more girl included in the top tier of the assassin's guild, especially since there are so many further down the ladder. I liked both Leena and Noc but I do think the romance between them develops a little too quickly, it starts slow which was great and I thought we were going to get a slow build that develops across the entire series but by the end of the book it had taken things a little too far in my opinion, especially since they've only known each other a few days at that point.

I think we could have had slightly less of the romance and more of the world building and this would have felt like a more satisfying and well rounded read but don't let that put you off because it was still a really enjoyable story that left me eager to carry on with the series. It's definitely going to be fun to see where the story goes from here and I've already got books 2 and 3 at the top of my 2020 wish list.
Profile Image for SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews .
575 reviews331 followers
May 20, 2019

4.5 /5★ all the way.

The blurb for this book sounded good and I thought it be something I like. I ended up loving it and didn't want it to end.

I loved everything about this book, the story, the writing, the characters but what I like the most, was the wold. It was new and fresh and so much fun to follow not only Leena and her beasts and the beast realm but also Noc and his band of assassins. I loved how both groups (charmers and assassins) had their own system and magic and little world but yet it is all on one. The book is in dual POV and gives you Leena and Noc, which was great because we get to see both sites and what they think and do at all times.

Of course we get some nice and steamy romance between Leena and Noc but I think I like the friendship between all of them the best. A friendship between the unlikely group. I not only love Leena and Noc but his guys. They gave this book some humor and fun and where there for not only him but her. I thought Leena was a great match for this group and held her own just fine.

I really enjoyed Leena she was strong and never gave up, but I liked the most was that even with a guy in the picture she stood on her own two feet and didn't rely on him.

Noc was broody, which was understandable given the situations he was in, but he still was fun to follow and once he lighten up a bit it was even better.

I also loved Kost, Calem and Oz and they were equally important to the story.

Overall I loved this book, it had humor, action, twist and turns and some romance. I adored the world and was sad to see it end. That being said I can't wait for book two.

I rate it 4.5★

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Profile Image for Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer.
1,512 reviews5 followers
June 11, 2019
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

The Buzz

BEAST CHARMER!! That is totally a major selling point for me. I also really loved the idea that this was urban fantasy... Which upon reading I found to be totally not true. Well the best designation of genre would be fantasy romance. Yes, its totally romance set in a fantasy world. It has the feel of an urban fantasy and lots of animal action to back that up but the plot it wholly romance.

The title is pretty good. We do have a few exiles of a sort and the world building is centered on them. The cover though... why a tiger?! I don't remember any of her beasts looking like it and its just odd. It does give you a feel of a urban fantasy or fantasy romance so I'll go with it but original art would have really made this a must buy novel!

The Premise

The deal made between our beast tamer and assassin is quite thin. There were things I didn't buy, but once we got onto the road trip I really fell in love with the characters. And I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the beasts (or supernatural creatures) in Kingdom of Exiles. I admit that Leena's menagerie made me forgive her blindness with Noc. I loved how she treated her beasts. I loved what we learned about beast charmers. I loved all the capturing of beasts that went on in the story. I loved how Martineau made every effort to introduce beasts even if through other means. The beasts were a major part of the world building and I totally adored it.

And Noc's assassins made me fall in love too! I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED his boys in Kingdom of Exiles. I loved the whole idea of the Cruor and their brotherhood. How the four men stuck together. Like Leena I fell for Ozias first and then easily Calem. I loved how Leena kept a respectful span between her and Kost until she could get a bead on the real guy. It made for a fascinating relationship instead of just plain antagonists and rivals to each other. Noc and Leena had the best secondary characters and it made the world for me.

Like the beginning, the end of Kingdom of Exiles was a little too easy and a bit overwrought and convenient. For a debut attempt it was a fun read. I think with some more experience Martineau will get her next plot smoother and more natural. As it stands if you love plenty of angst with your romance then this will entertain you.

My Experience

Once you learn this is fantasy romance it kind of perfectly sets you up to know what the story will be about... Noc and Leena falling in love. And we go with that premise wholesale!

I think Kingdom of Exiles was supposed to be a hate to love romance but it doesn't really fly. There is something soft and squishy about Leena that I loved even if it didn't fit her back history to me. She should be suspicious, doubtful and wary of Noc every step of the way. But she just isn't. Her history says she should have been a hard sell and yet an easily breakable deal satisfies her. I really struggled with this. I didn't buy it at all.

So I put this aside and kept reading.

TBH Noc had to earn me appreciation. I just didn't like him at first and so the hate to love was really with me the reader which was kind of a neat reading experience. I totally saw the resolution to his situation a mile a way though. It was a little heavy handed, but I did enjoy it predictable though it was.

What will you fall in love with in Kingdom of Exiles?

-The Beasts!
These aren't just tiger knock offs here... they are unique with a hint of fae about them that makes each appearance fun and personal.

-The Assassins!
Get a bunch of boys together and the hot blood gets pumping! I love though how they got to know Leena and let go of their preconceived notions.

-The Romance!
These two totally deserve one another... They've had horrible past relationships that no one ought to have to experience. You will root for Noc and Leena.

-The Dark Magic!
With cool abilities and magic come those who want to abuse its use... We have that in spades and it takes us on some neat twists and turns.

-The Mega-Battle!
Get some beasts that will defend their charmer and some assassins with a cause together and there is bound to be a war... or at least a mega-battle worthy of them.

Kingdom of Exiles is a flawed but totally fun debut fantasy romance. It centers on a beast charmer and an assassin who connect even though their situation says they absolutely can't. Despite the angst and the torture Leena and Noc are able to endure! I can't wait to see what happens in the next book of The Beast Charmer series!

⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building
B- Cover & Title grade

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinions.

You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. Read my special perspective under the typewriter on my reviews...

Please like this review if you enjoyed it! *bow* *bow* It helps me out a ton!!
Profile Image for Book Barbarian  (Tammy Smith).
314 reviews67 followers
May 18, 2020
Here is my bad book description in one sentence (this should be a hashtag I know):

Pokémon mixed kind of with sexy assassins from The Nevernight Chronicles, with a sprinkle of Sarah J. Maas sassyness. But not really as badass as that sounds.

I know. It makes no sense. I am still trying to figure it out. But do these comparisons ever work?



The reason is because I have nothing to compare it with – I have never really read anything like it before.

Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer 1)
First book in The Beast Charmer Trilogy
Published: 25th June 2019
Adult -Fantasy – Romance – Paranormal – Magic – Small LGBTQ Roles


Leena is an exiled Beast Charmer selling her beasts to make ends meet on the black market, a serious offence punishable by death. She is trying to clear her name and get back into Hireath (the city of Charmers and Beasts). She also learns an assassin called Noc, the most ruthless in the realm and head of the Cruor (a guild of assassins), has been hired to kill her. She makes him a deal – mythical creatures in exchange for her life, an offer he can’t and won’t refuse because of a dark magical curse that makes him kill anyone he loves. Bound to complete his contract to kill her, will Noc risk his brotherhood to save the woman he has started to care for?

My thoughts:

How I came about this was some rando blog site told me it was like the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. (It’s not.) And the cover also gave me major second thoughts (you judged it too lol don’t deny it) But honestly - this gripped me from page one. I tried to not like it I mean I hate Pokémon and my expectations were really low. But this book was really great. I did find it quite predictable and at times the dialogue and the main protagonists Noc and Leena were sort of cheesy but overlooking that the book was a great read.

There is a lot of sexual tension and the action scenes were fantastic and well developed. Her world building and writing style was fairly perfect overall and although the plot was nothing mind-blowing, the story was done really well and holds your interest throughout. The animal system and how the charming works was really beautiful and I wished that has been explained further.

Recommends it for:

Anyone wanting to try out Paranormal Adult Fantasy. Or fans of the fantasy genre, but wanting something steamier. I am really surprized this book isn’t more popular. Rating: 3.7 happily rounded off to a 4.

You can find me all over the place. Well virtually. I don’t leave the house. Connect with me on instagram my link text
Profile Image for Anna (holdthepage).
104 reviews76 followers
April 30, 2019
Update, April 30th: I just recently finished this! Review to come! I have a shorter one on my Bookstagram for those interested (@holdthepage). 3.5 stars! Fans of Pokemon, ACOTAR, and Nevernight may like this one!


April 2019: I just got approved for this ARC and couldn't be more EXCITED! It's being blurbed as Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin's Creed and I AM HERE FOR IT!

Click here to watch the gorgeous book trailer!
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