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The Bridge Kingdom

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A warrior princess trained in isolation, Lara is driven by two certainties. The first is that King Aren of the Bridge Kingdom is her enemy. And the second is that she’ll be the one to bring him to his knees.

The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom enriches itself and deprives its rivals, including Lara's homeland. So when she’s sent as a bride under the guise of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture its impenetrable defenses. And the defenses of its king.

Yet as she infiltrates her new home and gains a deeper understanding of the war to possess the bridge, Lara begins to question whether she’s the hero or the villain. And as her feelings for Aren transform from frosty hostility to fierce passion, Lara must choose which kingdom she’ll save… and which kingdom she’ll destroy.

Passionate and violent, The Bridge Kingdom is a seductive fantasy perfect for fans of From Blood and Ash and A Court of Thorns and Roses.

356 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 16, 2018

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About the author

Danielle L. Jensen

22 books8,249 followers
Danielle L. Jensen is the USA Today bestselling author of The Malediction Trilogy (Angry Robot), the Dark Shores series (Tor Teen), and The Bridge Kingdom series (Audible Originals). She lives in Calgary, Alberta with her family.

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5 stars
34,883 (37%)
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35,832 (38%)
3 stars
16,427 (17%)
2 stars
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1,044 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,217 reviews
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
365 reviews962 followers
July 27, 2020
“I will be the next Queen of Ithicana. And I will bring the Bridge Kingdom to its knees.”




This is a re-read in preparation for the sequel, The Traitor Queen, releasing in September, but I had initially picked up this gem on a whim. I was bored and the synopsis was intriguing enough…but little did I know that I was about to discover one of my new favourite books!!!

“This man might be a hunter. But he was mistaken if he believed she was prey.”


Lara Veliant, the Princess of Maridrina and the daughter of King Silas (aka the “Rat King”), was raised as an assassin. She was trained in the knowledge that she’d be married off to the evil, demon-like king of an enemy kingdom with the orders to spy on and then kill her new husband within her first year of marriage. Her kingdom is held captive between the Red Desert and the Tempest Seas, leaving its citizens impoverished and starved, so this is the only way that she can save her people from suffering as they do. Having grown up in harsh conditions and seclusion, however, Lara’s true motive is the acquisition of her freedom. She wants to complete her mission and then be able to live her life in the manner of her choosing.

“She wanted to stay, to fight and sweat and bleed for him and his harsh, wild, and beautiful kingdom.”


Aren Kertell, the 37th King of Ithicana, is her soon-to-be husband. Ithicana, or the Bridge Kingdom, makes most of its income from the bridge that protects the kingdom from would-be invaders and serves as a source of revenue due to trade with the neighbouring kingdoms. Oh, and it also encompasses a series of islands made up of a jungle terrain, dangerous waters, incessant storms, and an infestation of SNAKES (no, thank you!!!)

“It’s yours,” he murmured into her ear. “Ithicana. Everything that I have is yours. To protect. To make better.”
“I will,” she whispered. “I promise.”


Lara arrived in this new kingdom, expecting to be treated poorly and to hate this new husband of hers, but it turns out that her father had not been entirely truthful with her. Aren is more than he seems – loyal and honourable, rather than sadistic and cruel – and not the villain who wanted to do harm to her people. As the truth is slowly revealed, she gathers that this mission of saving her kingdom would only destroy another, one that she had sworn to protect and had come to care for. Lara then comes to the realisation that she must ultimately make a choice: Will she believe her father or her husband? Will she fight for Maridrina or Ithicana? DUN DUN DUNNN!!!

“Aren't we bold now that we believe we are untouchable.”


I LOVE Lara! SO MUCH! She’s a beautiful, yet deadly, siren who’ll do whatever it takes to fight for what she believes in. And I can’t write this review without mentioning the STEAMY ROMANCE. Lara and Aren make such a swoon-worthy pair with sexual tension that’s OFF THE CHARTS!!! <333 The political intrigue and actual spying bits were also extremely compelling, making this a remarkably easy book to complete in merely a sitting or two.

“Even if I’m a goddamned fool for it, there will never be anyone but you.”


If you like your girls deadly, your enemies sexy, your romance intense, and your plot twists mind-blowing…then THIS is the book for you!!! Luckily, this cliffhanger that nearly KILLED ME and RIPPED OUT MY HEART should be resolved within the next couple of months. This is everything you could ever want in a fantasy novel and MORE! ;)


PSA: This is NA, NOT YA. This is explicit, both in terms of profanity and sexual content.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,511 reviews31.1k followers
April 26, 2022
reread in preparation for book #3 and im surprised that i enjoyed this more the second time around!


okayyy fine. i guess i will give this five stars because i really have no reason not to. ignore the fact that the cover is sporting some seriously awkward video game-esque graphics, because its so not representative of this wholly engaging story.

have i read this kind of story before? oh yeah. many times. the whole ‘enemies to lovers’ via a girl infiltrating another kingdom through marriage is one of my favourite plot devices, so this rating is probably quite biased. but theres something about this particular story that made me feel as if the political undermining, secretive feelings, and enchanting kingdoms are all something new.

also, i knew i was hooked when i reached the cliff hanger at the end and, instead of rolling my eyes, i immediately looked up when book two will be released. theres something seriously charming about this story that i think many readers will fall for.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Danielle Jensen.
Author 22 books8,249 followers
March 21, 2023
You can read the first 6 chapters for FREE by subscribing to my newsletter! https://view.flodesk.com/pages/5fdadc...


You can subscribe to my guided read-along, which includes bonus chapters, video content, behind the scenes, inspiration photos, and character art! https://view.flodesk.com/pages/63f3b9...

Unlike my other novels, The Bridge Kingdom is NOT Young Adult. Please shelve as New Adult Fantasy, Adult Fantasy, or Adult Romantic Fantasy. The characters are 20 (Lara) and 25 (Aren).

TW: Profanity, explicit sexual content, alcohol consumption, and violence.

For those of you looking for spelling of character names and places, I have a guide posted on my website! https://danielleljensen.com/the-bridg...
Profile Image for • Lindsey Dahling •.
284 reviews596 followers
May 26, 2020
If you’re a fan of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series and/or The Bargainer series, drop everything you’re doing AND READ THIS BOOK RIGHT FUCKING NOW.


I can’t even tell you why because spoilers. Just trust me. TRUST ME, OKAY.

I just finished it and my heart is still racing. I can’t handle it. IT WAS SO GOOD. It doesn’t have Fae or magic or any elements like that in it, but you ACOTAR/Bargainer/good book fans especially NEED TO READ IT BECAUSE OMGGGGGGG.



1. Likable characters galore.
SERIOUSLY. I am in love with just about EVERYONE in this book (which is a damn miracle because in real life I don’t like anyone). I want to be their friend. I want to be their family member. I WANT TO BE THEM. (Not in a creepy, stalkerish way.) (I’m aware saying that doesn’t help my case.)

So excellent that I can’t even form proper sentences. I just 😏😏😏😏😏😏😏

3. Badass characters all over the place.
The MC, Lara, especially. Goddamn. The woman is lethal. She’s not a delicate flower. Get the hell out of her way. Hello, Lara. I’m here. Please take my heart and soul.

4. The author doesn’t drag her feet when it comes to plot.
This book hits the ground running in the first chapter. You’re catapulted right into the action. THAT is how it should be done. Had my attention from cover to cover. I can honestly say there were no boring parts for me. The author knows when to go into detail and when to sort of gloss over weeks of nothing happening. I’m a fan of that. I have a hard time reading books where the goal is to get on a ship and sail to another country and conquer it, but it takes half the damn book to get there (or, you know, never happens in Daenerys Targaryen’s case—moron). Especially when nothing really happens on the ship. This book doesn’t waste time on that. If nothing happens during the “sailing” time, she just says something like, “Three weeks later, we arrived.” Love that type of storytelling. It focuses on character development and action. It doesn’t waste time on irrelevant events/characters. Which, in my opinion, is the way it SHOULD be. 💯👏🏻 (Sorry, Charles Dickens.)

5. It made me FEEL things.
I laughed out loud at the banter. I was positively giddy during slow burn interactions. I felt stressed AF while certain conflicts played out. I even teared up at a few parts. GUYS. I AM SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD INSIDE. WHAT HAS THIS BOOK DONE TO ME?

Am I going to read the sequel?
Gurl you already know the answer to this. (Cue heavy breathing cat meme)
Profile Image for Nicole.
718 reviews1,790 followers
September 17, 2021
On the surface, this is a story many of us dig. Enemies to lovers. She’s trained her whole life to be the downfall of her future husband’s kingdom. Betrothed because of a treaty, Lara is sent to marry the evil king of the bridge kingdom. She needs to discover the secrets of the important bridge connecting the continents, its weaknesses, and of course, any flaws that might help take it over. Several kingdoms tried from the outside and failed constantly. Her people are starving because Ithicana is monopolizing trade.
Having been trained all her life as an assassin, a spy, and in a way, a queen, Lara didn’t expect to actually like the people of her new kingdom, they were supposed to be evil, you know?

While I wouldn’t say it’s the most innovative plotline, if done well, I enjoy it immensely. I was looking for a book similar to From Blood and Ash but sadly, this one wasn’t nearly as good. I was willing to ignore the boring cover because I’ve learned a long time ago to not judge books by their covers but in this case, the book is actually as dull as its cover.

While I was considering rating this 3 stars, I was looking for any element in this book that might help. I found none. The most interesting thing happened on the last page and made me think of reading the sequel but of course, I won’t.

Why didn’t I like this book you might be wondering?
Well, the characters are so meh. Especially Aren. While Lara was ok at first, Aren didn’t impress me. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike them but didn’t care for them either. I couldn’t feel the sexual tension nor the burning chemistry. You’d think that almost nothing happening between the characters until 80% might help. It didn’t. They were bland. And of course, I wasn’t reading this book for the world-building. I was reading it for the romance (NA style in a fantasy world). Oh well.

I also found the world-building lacking. Yes, we got lots of info about Icathana but I wish we knew more about the other kingdoms, their cultures, and how developed they were. This didn’t affect my rating because maybe even we did, I wouldn’t have been interested. Maybe.

Furthermore, I found the behavior of the main characters questionable.
For example, Aren, defending her and choosing her over people who back him up. Like dude, you know her for one month tops, she is the child of your former enemy, while those people would die for you… He trusted her too easily.
I won’t talk about Lara because I’d be spoiling it but I’m not sure if it counts as such because the PLOT WAS SO OBVIOUS. I predicted what’s going to happen from the start and I was thinking if doesn’t, I’ll give it 3 stars. Sadly, I’ve read too many books to not guess but it doesn’t take a genius to guess.

I’ll keep this short and sum it up by this:
You might enjoy it. Many enjoyed this book. I really wanted to like but it ended up boring and painfully predictable with one-dimensional characters. The secondary ones were actually decent and I would’ve liked to know more but I don’t think it’ll make reading Traitor Queen much better. I wish we had more dynamics between the main characters and well, more depth to the story. It had potential but it wasn’t for me.
Profile Image for SK.
213 reviews967 followers
June 18, 2022
"She would fight for him.
She would bleed for him.
She would die for him."

My mind is blown. I seriously did not expect it to be THIS good. You all were not lying. The last few chapters and the cliffhanger were so brutal. I was literally reading it with tears in my eyes😭😭 I'm going to need Danielle Jensen pay for my therapy....

The plot is amazing. It doesn't have any supernatural beings but it's so damn interesting, it's hard not to get lost in this fantasy world. The world building is done beautifully and it's easy to keep track of. The characters are total badass. I did not see certain plot twists coming and that kept the element of surprise, which I seriously enjoyed.

Aren and Lara are so easy to love. Both of them as individuals are full of personality and independency. They don't need to rely on each other to win their battles. As a couple? They're unbeatable. The way Aren was smitten by her since the beginning was so sweet to see and the way Lara opened up to him was just chef's kiss 🤌 I liked how the both of them will do anything to protect the other.

The supporting characters are equally good.

As you can tell by now, I'm completely in love with this book and everything about it. So, of course I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it. You guys, don't hesitate to pick this one up. I can't wait to start with The Traitor Queen 😩

Thanks to my girl, @Leonie for making me read this.... Again with the good recs lol🙈♥️
Profile Image for Lucie V..
1,001 reviews1,642 followers
May 29, 2022
✅ Arranged marriage
✅ Hate-to-love
✅ Slow burn romance
✅ Action and fighting
✅ Politics and spying
✅ Badass and ruthless main characters
✅ World-building
✅ 2 POVs
✅ Only one bed trope
✅ Gorgeous cover
❗️❗️ Cliffhanger
❗️❗️ Trigger warnings: child abuse, drugging, and violence

There would be no happily-ever-after. Not for her.

I adore hate-to-love stories, and this one is awesome! Add to that an arranged marriage, a country made of deadly islands full of serpents, sharks, and violent storms, a strong badass heroine, and a kind but fierce male lead, and you've got yourself a pretty epic adventure.

“You murdered your sisters for the good of our country?” His voice was amused.
Lara forced a chuckle from her lips. “Hardly. I murdered them because I wished to live.”

Lara Veliant is a princess of Maridrina, one of many daughters of the cruel King Silas. She was raised to be a ruthless assassin since she was 5 years old, so her father could send her to marry the new king of Ithicana as part of an old peace treaty, but of course, he also expects her to find out how to take control of the famous bridge of Ithicana, thus helping Maridrina get revenge on Ithicana. she is also expected to kill her husband when the time comes, and she is more than willing to do it for her country. Lara does not care for her coldhearted father, but she does care for her people who are starving. Whoever controls the bridge controls the commerce between the north and the south and Lara is determined to save her people from their misery. She also wishes to gain her freedom from her father, and he promised to let her go free once she kills her husband and gives her father the information he needs to take the bridge.

All she had ever known was violence. It was nothing to her. And everything.

The beginning of this book is so intense and ruthless! Lara is driven and determined to do whatever it takes to survive and protect the few persons she loves. Her father cares only about his power and is willing to kill whoever stands in the way of his plans, or whoever is even aware of the plans because he needs to cover his tracks. Lara is shipped to Ithicana where she expects to hate her cruel husband but she discovers a dangerous and wonderful land, ruled by a kind but fierce king and she soon realizes that her father and tutors may have not told her the truth about the situation in Maridrina and Ithicana.

"I wanted to see the bridge."
Aren stopped in his tracks, turning to give her a sharp look. "Why?"
She met his gaze unflinchingly. "I wanted to see the bit of architecture that was worth the right to my body. My loyalty. My life."
He recoiled as though she'd slapped him. "The rights to those things are yours to give, not your father's."

The Bridge Kingdom is a magical and ruthless land. The world-building is vivid and intricate, and the descriptions are superb. It is very easy to lose ourselves in this book and to picture what life in Ithicana entails.

The pace is perfect and engaging, but also slow enough to leave room for relationship building and character growth, and the plot is amazing. We are thrown into the action from chapter one, and it just never stops being amazing and compelling. The spying part is full of stressful moments, the action scenes are well done. I truly loved everything about this book.

She was so painfully beautiful, and even knowing that she'd used it against him didn't lessen how powerfully he was drawn to her.

Aren Kertell is the 37th King of Ithicana, and Lara's soon-to-be husband. Ithicana survives with the money it makes from the bridge that crosses their kingdom. The bridge allows trade between neighboring kingdoms, and whoever controls the bridge controls the trade. The kingdom is made of many islands, all more dangerous than the other. They have hungry sharks, snakes, violent storms, dangerous waters, and jungles full of predators. It's a good thing that Lara is strong and can take care of herself!

This man might be a hunter. But he was mistaken if he believed she was prey.

The romance is slow to build but smooth, sweet, and realistic. Lara needs to appear as a demure, fragile, and non-threatening young woman, but she is deadly. Arren wants nothing to do with her since he suspects that she is here to spy on him and just doesn't want a wife right now, but the sexual tension between them runs high. There are some steamy moments and they are just swoon-worthy together. I like that despite their physical attraction for the other, Lara remained focused on her mission until she was forced to admit that her father had lied to her. The same goes for Aren, even though he thought Lara to be a fragile but gorgeous flower, he still managed to keep her at arm’s length because he knew that trusting her without an undeniable proof of her loyalty would be stupid.

She wanted to stay, to fight and sweat and bleed for him and his harsh, wild, and beautiful kingdom.

The political plot to ruin Ithicana and give Maridrina control over the bridge is a big part of the story and I really liked to see how Lara was struggling because she didn't know who to help and who to trust. She was not easily swayed just because the king is young and gorgeous instead of being an old cruel man, but she quickly realized that Aren was kind and selfless when it came to his kingdom. He is far from the demon-like king Lara's father described, and she found herself stuck between a rock and a hard place because she had to choose between gaining her freedom by betraying Aren, or following her heart and her conscience by remaining with him, but knowing that her father would find her and kill her sooner or later if she failed her mission.

As she learns the harsh truth about her father, and as she sees that the people of Ithicana are constantly fighting to survive, Lara has a tough choice to make. She needs to decide if she will fight for Maridrina or Ithicana, because helping Maridrina will come at the cost of Ithicana’s destruction, and much to Lara’s surprise, she has come to love this harsh land and its brave and loyal people.

"Everything you’ve said, everything you’ve done, everything between us has been a damned lie."

There is a lot of action and the ending is awesome, I had to restrain from skimming the last chapters just to see what would happen next. I definitely recommend this book if you like strong main characters, steamy hate-to-love romance, politics, and spying games, with a lot of life-or-death situations and a few twists.

Loved. Past tense. Because she’d never deserved his love, and now she’d lost it for good.

Also, the way the book ends promises SO MUCH ANGST for the second book, I cannot wait to read it! I need my monthly dose of angst!

Gorgeous fanarts by Dominique Wesson

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Profile Image for ale ‧ ₊˚୨୧ ₊˚.
388 reviews1,711 followers
April 28, 2021
“Even if I'm a goddamned fool for it, there will never be anyone but you.”

Hello, you, yes, you, who is reading this and looking for a good fantasy book, romance, action, with forced marriage and enemies to lovers, with a giant cat, a world divided by a bridge, islands with snakes, jungles, a grandmother obsessed with people's teeth, killer princesses and a handsome and sweet king.

Look no further. The Bridge Kingdom is that, and more. My old and wicked heart fell in love with this book. It is perfect and has a little bit of everything.

I must admit I had a hard time finishing this book because I was always busy with college hanging over me, and ended up procrastinating. But yesterday I read more than half of the book to completion, and I am satisfied with my decision to read it just yesterday.

There are spoilers, I guess, so, watch out, y'all.

Lara and her sisters were raised to be spies and assassins, they have been trained to defend themselves, and to kill the king of Ithicana, whom one of them will marry, spy on, and send the king of Madririna information to attack Ithicana, who owns the Bridge. Lara poisons her sisters, although it is more a sedative so that none of them is condemned and dies: she sacrifices herself for them.

Lara marries the king of Ithicana, Aren. She has lived being fed by a hatred directed towards him, and later she realizes that it is an unjustified hatred and full of lies. Something totally false. At first, Lara despises Aren and tries to find Ithicana's secrets to send to her father, the king of Madririna.
They end up falling in love. Aren realizes that Lara is a spy, and proves to her that the king of Madririna has been lying to his daughter all this time, that he filled her head with lies and false promises just to get the Bridge.

The most predictable thing about the book is known from the beginning, and it's not a bad thing: we know it's all going to go to shit at any moment. My anxiety wouldn't let me live because every now and then I kept telling myself, "this is going to go to hell very soon." And I was expecting it, in many action-packed and intense scenes.

From the moment you read the synopsis, you know it's going to be good; it grabs you. The pace is quite addictive, so much so, that you don't even feel the chapters; you just want to keep reading. There are many plot twists that I didn't see coming, and several minor ones that I did, but they weren't that relevant tbh.

Oh gods, the writing is perfect; it's not complicated and it doesn't try to describe difficult things either. Even the smut scenes were divine and well told; SJM and JLA, this goes for you. There was nothing forced about the tension between Aren and Lara, and I just wanted to scream at them to kiss already, because even I couldn't handle the tension between those two, which was fantastic and quite entertaining.

The book doesn't come with a map, so it was a little bit hard for me to get my bearings at first, and in the review by the amazing Marta, there is a nice map that helps you understand the kingdoms and their locations. It's amazing - they're islands! Most fantasy books portray run-of-the-mill kingdoms with snowfall and such, Ithicana has storms and an aggressive sea that keeps its enemies at bay.

Perfect. From head to toe.

Lara is tough, but she has a big heart. She changes her mind when the truth is presented to her, and is willing to defend her people, both Madririna and Ithicana, and help them. I wanted to yell at her on many occasions, to make her realize that she was in love with Aren, even if she didn't want to accept it. She is not the typical arrogant girl who only talks and doesn't show her strength; Lara shows that she is strong, that she cares and much more.

Aren is a cinnamon roll. Don't touch my baby. I love him too much. He cares too much for his people and does not like them to go to war, to die under his watch and reign. He doesn't want a war, but soon gets caught up in one. He is not the typical love interest who is arrogant and unhinged. He is perfect. He's sweet, kind, funny, brave, strong, and even a little clumsy, but his honesty and position make up for it all.

Even the side characters are cool, funny and adorable. Jor, you're my hero. Nana, I love you so much. Taryn, you fucking deserved better. Ahna, my queen. Marylyn, you deserved that, bitch. Nobody touches my baby Aren.

*chef kiss*
There's no way to explain how I felt romance in this book, but this gif:

I was literally freaking out, screaming and crying when Aren said "I love you" to Lara, bECAUSE IT'S MEANT TO BE. IT'S TRUE LOVE. THIS TRUE LOVE. It's so sweet, a slowburn and natural, without being forced; the freaking tension is real.

This goes straight to my "marry you with paper rings" shelf. It's a 5 stars rate and a "I will love you 'til I die". I can't express how much I loved this book, how got me screaming and jumping on my chair everytime a plot twist appeared, or there was a romantic or action scene.

Yup, I'm still freaking out over that ending.


And yes, I will read the second one, The Traitor Queen waiting to see my cinnamon roll filled with love, Aren.



thanks for coming to my ted talk.
Profile Image for Arini.
696 reviews1,552 followers
February 15, 2021

4.25 Stars

What if you fell in love with the one person you’d sworn to destroy?

The plot isn’t anything new, but oh wow this book feels fresh and . . . particular. Sometimes you find beauty and comfort in stories that are already familiar to you.

Brief storyline: A princess trained spy/assassin is tasked with infiltrating the enemy’s kingdom by seducing marrying its King under the guise of a peace alliance.

This was so good. Why isn’t it getting more hype?!?!? Or maybe it already has, and I just didn’t notice until now. In any case, read this plzzzz, especially if you’re a fan of:

✓ marriage of convenience
✓ enemies to lovers SLOW BURN romance with betrayals that cut deep
✓ ocean full of snakes and sharks and jungle/island setting
✓ action packed plot, heavy with political intrigue and intricate espionage
✓ badass and ruthless heroines like Aelin Galathynius ( Throne of Glass ), Jude Duarte ( The Cruel Prince ) and Alessandra ( The Shadows Between Us )
✓ droolworthy and formidable heroes who aren’t easily fooled . . . or are they??
✓ snarky grandmas as well as sassy, witty, and lovely side characters

Also, look at these!!! The artworks for this series are seriously GORGEOUS.

King Aren (25)

“It’s yours,” he murmured into her ear. “Ithicana. Everything that I have is yours. To protect. To make better.”
“I will,” she whispered. “I promise.”

Queen Lara (20)


“I will be the next Queen of Ithicana. And I will bring the Bridge Kingdom to its knees.”

King Aren ♡ Queen Lara

“I love you,” he said, his lips grazing against hers. “And I will love you, no matter what the future brings. No matter how hard I need to fight. I will always love you.”

Not only does it have all of my favorite ingredients in a fantasy, it’s also considerably well paced. It doesn’t exactly end in a cliffhanger, but the story isn’t finished. So you’ll have to be on the lookout for the next book.

This is a NA/Adult Romantic Fantasy (note: not the other way around). If the YA category doesn’t do it anymore for you the way it no longer appeals to me as much as it used to, make sure to check this out.

(Read as an Audiobook)

Books with similar tropes/vibes:
From Blood and Ash
Profile Image for Gillian.
110 reviews127 followers
September 3, 2022
“I love you. And I will love you, no matter what the future brings. No matter how hard I need to fight. I will always love you.”

4.7 stars!

This book was SO good!! This book is an intriguing fantasy romance about political power, betrayals, love, and the price of power. Lara is a princess who was trained to be a spy is sent to be the bride of the King of Ithicana and penetrate the Bridge Kingdom to save her people. But she soon realizes that Aren, the King of Ithicana is not evil, he only wants to protect his people. Lara discovers she is attracted to Aren and can't ignore her feelings. Will she save her people or will she destroy the king?

This book is told from Lara and Aren's perspective. It took me a little while to get into this book but once I did I was completely immersed in the intriguing world. The world building was amazing, the author put a lot of detail into how the world and lands are structured. The characters were very intriguing and complex. I'm in love with Aren, he is charming, very handsome, brave, selfless and will do anything to protect his people. I love Lara, she is fierce, badass, brave, strong and resilient. I loved seeing a softer side of Lara. I loved how relatable Lara, she makes mistakes and has to figure out how to resolve them. I really liked the side characters especially Eli, Taryn, and Ahnna. The chemistry and sexual tension between Aren and Lara was amazing. The enemies-to-lovers romance was so well done! I love the author's writing, it is very descriptive and it draws you in. The character development was excellent, I loved seeing the main characters grow and learn more about each other. The ending was so shocking and heart wrenching. I can't wait to read the next book! I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy romance, excellent world building and enemies to lovers romance.
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,048 reviews13.1k followers
May 2, 2021
4.5 Stars

I really loved this book! I loved the premise of how Lara had literally trained her whole life to be a spy and take Aren down after they were married. They fell in love so slowly, but so deeply, and I was obsessed with the relationship. I must say, though, that this is a SLOW BURN romance and that had me absolutely dying. I wish we had a bit more pay off throughout their romance instead of just at the end of the book. Also, there was a HUGE miscommunication in here that I knew was going to be used as a finally conflict at the end, which I wasn't a big fan of. But I really loved this world and watching Aren and Lara fall for each other! I also really loved the side characters and cannot wait to pick up the second book!
Profile Image for Ida.
128 reviews191 followers
October 15, 2020
⭐4 - 4.5 stars ⭐

This book royally screwed with my emotions!

For fifteen years, she’d been trained how to infiltrate an impenetrable kingdom.
How to discover weaknesses and exploit them.
How to destroy her enemies.
How to be merciless.
She’d been born for this.

I loved the first part of this book. 20 year old Lara has spent her last 15 years locked away in the desert where she's been trained for one purpose; marry the king, infiltrate his kingdom and bring it to its knees.

The Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil - and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara's homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defences of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom. Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the saviour of her people?

I really enjoyed the world Danielle L. Jensen created, and I hope she will continue to develop the other kingdoms in her upcoming books. This book was so intriguing, entertaining and I hit preorder for the next book immediately after finishing this one. There were some parts that felt dragged out, and considering the characters are humans, they will make human mistakes, I just wish it was executed a bit more creatively and not so straight forward (which is why I didn't give it 5 stars)...
Profile Image for Mrinmayi.
155 reviews574 followers
February 17, 2021
At the moment, trying to take some rest...
This book ACTUALLY caused me a headache SMH

When the luuurve interest kept saying he luuuuurves the MC
Mrin was like

Also, the authors should know that making the girl an "assassin" DOESNOT make her strong.
This MC was a wonderful example of it
We're told she's "badass" and "strong" but she's not even going to stand up for her own people or herself.

She's also getting "betraying body syndrome"!!
This means that as soon as her hubby touches her..she luuurves him so much that she can not form a sentence. TSTL heroine

And Aren.....Ughhhhh!!!!!

You might know how much I hate the Patriarchate.
This man is all that's wrong with Patriarchy IMO
He THREATENS his sister that he's going to marry her if she crosses him

Can not go into a lot of detail, because it could spoil things
But the starting point is just how much men have control over women.

(Yeah...this book had to objectify women as well *sigh*Why shame women when they just wanna look good ???!
Gonna check my lipstick collection rn)

I can't believe this author wrote one of my all-time fav YA trilogy!!!
Read that triolgy instead of this mess

Update 3
HEY GUYS!! Welcome to a episode of ITS 2020 BUT AUTHORS STILL THINK ITS 1860's EPISODE
This book is getting ONE STAR from me. Haven't completed the book yet(More abt this later)
There's an incoming rant about the douchebag manwhore luuuurve interest
If you consider knowing abt the double standards and how characterless the luurve interest is as "spoilers"...you may not want to read this
Here's something you want to see first tho:

Its ok if you have a diff standard for loyalty...I am NOT trying to impose mine of anyone
Now let's begin...
Here's a scenario...
You are MARRIED to a dude
He wants to spite you
So what he does is brings you into forced proximity with his former lover
He NEVER mentions that he is married to you to the said former lover
He rubs it in your face
THEN the former lover sits on his KNEE
He does NOTHING to remove her
DOES NOT stop her advance
Luckily his mentor figure feels bad for you and tells the former lover that your good for nothing husband is actually married
Your husband GLARES at his mentor for spoiling the mood
Now, will you EVER trust this person??!
Is he worthy of being a husband??!
Maybe I am overreacting BUT for me personally, actions speak louder than words
A man's character is determined on many things
Not only did this Luurve interest insult our main character ..he insulted his former lover as well
And I honestly loved the former lover the most
She was genuinely a good person
As soon as she realized he was married she backed off
Can't say the same about our main character tho
Cause apparently slut-shaming is still a thing
It's subtle but she does slut-shame his former lover SMH
Girl hate??! Seriously??!!

What did the author expect?? Just because he did not sleep with his former lover he is some kind of saint??!!!!
HE IS FREAKING MARRIED!!! He is NOT doing anyone a FAVOR by not sleeping around
That's expected when he got married!!!
Idk why a MAN is applauded for staying loyal when it is expected of women to do the same??!
You know what?? There's more rant coming..I just need to calm down
Cause this particuallr scene triggered me
Will be back asap!

Update 2
You know a book is Good.... Good(NO TYPO) when you can't stop reading it even to update your progress

Update 1
Buddy read with Feyre Darling
Profile Image for Elise Kova.
Author 42 books12k followers
August 14, 2019
I LOVED this book. Heart-pounding romance and intense action wrapped in a spellbinding world. I was hooked from the first page!

So excited it's now available in paperback, hardcover, AND audiobook formats!!
Profile Image for politetemper.
192 reviews11 followers
August 20, 2019
2.5 stars?

OK, I was really looking forward to this book.

I have mixed feelings.

I thought Lara was going to be this really strong female character who's methodical and mysterious and didn't do anything without thought...but this wasn't the case. I find it hard to like someone - anyone- who doesn't question everything. Knowing the type of person her father was and knowing how little he cares about his OWN DAUGHTERS, I just didn't understand how she just took his word for everything. If it was me, I would be watching and learning and making sure I got ALL the facts BEFORE setting people up to be slaughtered.

I get that how she grew up made it difficult for her to accept Aren was actually a good person, but on the other hand, it should have given her an idea as to what was going on.

Even after she confessed and decided she was on Aren's side, she still wasn't truthful. And I absolutely despised that. I can't stand dishonesty and that was the point I decided I hated her character. I know it was needed for the storyline but I just couldn't get pass it.

I liked Aren, but I thought he was too trusting, he didn't question enough either and ultimately, that was his downfall.

TBH this book made my blood boil. I loved the setting of it with the whole island thing but I did think there needed to be more world building... I would have loved to learn more about the different places in the "realm".

All in all I found Lara really unlikable and dumb as rocks and Aren too soft and dumb as rocks.

February 4, 2021
Q: One kingdom to save. One kingdom to destroy. (c)

A SAS taskforce of princesses raised specifically to get some dratty stuff done for their whining king-daddy.

A king of a kingdom that's basically sieged by the bunch of its neighbours. And the rest of them who seem to believe it's them who's being wrongs and constrained by the said kingdom. So, how do best-laid plans and love matters get interconneced?

Obviously, via the bad familial ties and the good intentions. Where would we be, had the good intentions never made their quiet strikes against the what's planned?

#2 is a definitely must-read!

“She clearly believed it worth the risk.” (c)
“I’ve had more exciting conversations with your cat. Your dinners together are destined to be lively affairs.” (c)
My soldiers might not follow me if they’re subjected to night after night of me crying in my cup.”
“Try sobbing into your pillow—it muffles the noise.” (c)
Profile Image for Aoife - Bookish_Babbling.
285 reviews303 followers
February 4, 2021

2.5-2.75* being generous as I enjoyed the world but got so mad at the MCs and their blinkered blindness (yes I feel justified in doubling down on the inability to see clearly) and sadly even tho I enjoyed the side characters, they were not on page enough to save the read for me this time 😕
Proceed with caution in case any of the things I didn't like are spoiler'y, I do not go into specifics...but one can never know

Did we read a different book to so many others? I don't understand where we took a wrong turn, I was so excited to Group Read this 😭

I felt lulled into a different story with an enticing ending to the first chapter. I was HERE for such ruthlessness, but there was little follow through in the rest of the read & don't get me started on the puppy dog love interest...where was his backbone? I think we're supposed to swoon for his soft heart, but he was just all around soft! I can understand his desire to make the best of a situation but dude, use your upstairs brain & if your kingdom is built on secrecy - maybe be a little more discerning in how and when you share intel with the treaty bride sent by your enemy...
As for Lara 🤷‍♀️ I think I'm supposed to care more because of her upbringing but really the secrets, lies & lack of questioning where this info has come from despite ample evidence *sigh* just nope - no bueno

It is no secret I am not a fan of lying in storylines and I knew going in there would be a certain presence in this read, but the amount of time these went unaddressed was beyond frustrating and then when the reveals domino'd they were so obvious that it was lowkey infuriating...there was little suspense and I felt like everything was laid out for us on a platter.
As for the romance, I didn't really connect or feel much chemistry between the MCs. There was some teasing early in their interactions but so far as I could see very few of the supposed Mistress of the Bedroom seduction techniques seem to have been deployed...I've read darker, more violent and/or steamier YA books - not really sure what makes this NA? Maybe the fact cock is mentioned once I think 🤔

In saying this I did really like the setting. The set up of the Bridge Kingdom was unlike anything I could imagine. I needed the map very kindly provided by Jess as my copy didn't have one. I was struggling to picture the landmass layouts at first but as the story progressed the Bridge Kingdom itself struck me as an interesting premise...I don't want to give anything away but it is pretty imaginative eventho the wildlife is permanently out to sabotage 🤢
As an unrelated aside, I don't think I have ever read another book where there was so much 🤮

Despite the story not quite living up to our expectations, the Buddy Read experience was 100% 5* 🤩😍🤩😍🤩😍
Thanks gals 🥰

I already own the sequel so will probably read it & hope Ahnna can save this series for me as she's kind of the only one I care about rn, alongside maybe Jor & Nana. 🤔 I will also keep an open mind and hope for the best for any and all other family appearances 🤐🤞



Group Read with my OG Buddy Reader extraordinaire who led me down this merry path, Kimster, the sweet summer child that I lead astray for her first BR, Fran and the two wonderful relative newcomers to my special brand of BR madness Jess & Francesca 🥰
I am not sure they quite know what they're getting themselves in for - but they've been longstanding followers of my waffle so at this point they really only have themselves to blame for not heeding the very obvious warnings 🙃😈

I haven't reread the blurb, but from the amount of GR friends who've raved & recommended this as similar to JLA's FB&A series ... I am excite 🤩
Profile Image for farwa ☽ (semi-hiatus).
168 reviews193 followers
May 7, 2022
~4.25 stars~

The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom, #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

"Ithicana would pay for its crimes against her people, and by the time she was through with its king, he’d do more than bend. He’d bleed."

Someone send help lol I'm literally drowning in my obsession with this book (
Profile Image for Richard is [REDACTED].
209 reviews151 followers
February 9, 2023
I blame Deema for this one. I’m sorry that I didn’t love it. Please don’t hate me 🫣

I found myself pretty much underwhelmed by this one. It was okay, but it felt too formulaic to me. Like I have read this same exact story several times and the only things to change were some nouns, verbs and adjectives. I didn’t care for Aren much. I didn’t hate him, his personality or lack there of, just rubbed me the wrong way. I did like Lara, but she didn’t seem like as much of a badass as everyone has been making her out to be. I mean, how many times is she going to get her ass thrown in the water? I didn’t feel any sexual tension between the two characters either. Most of the time it seemed as though they were indifferent towards each other. Which left the payoff at the end feeling mechanical and just part of the formula. This book was filled with political intrigue, which is also not a favorite of mine. Overall I liked it enough to finish it, but I don’t feel the need to continue.
Profile Image for Lien.
275 reviews214 followers
March 7, 2022
I'm sorry I just have to get this off my chest so this won't be a pretty review. Please look away if you loved this book or planning to read it in the future.



There were so many times where I just wanted to throw in the towel and be done with it. The plot was so predictable I think everyone will know exactly where the story is going. It’s basically waiting for the proverbial shit to hit the fan, waiting for doomsday to come.

For reference, Lara has been trained all her life to become a spy and assassin, all for the purpose of getting married to the enemy kingdom and eventually destroying it, so that her people can invade the kingdom and make it their own because they're getting the bad side of the deal and are starving.


I absolutely hated this feeling of dread. Why would I want to read about a heroine who’s planning and preparing for the big catastrophe when all she had to do to prevent things from going to shit is by doing a little bit of investigation/digging herself? It was painfully obvious who the bad guy was in here. Lara did not once think for herself. She only did so when she was forced to do so.

She hated her father, she hated the Master of Intrigue, she knew exactly how evil they were but she never once thought of questioning anything they told her. There were so many times where she realized that the information she got about the H’s people was wrong, she once even questioned who was deceiving her but did she do anything to find out? Oh noo, our miss badass just kinda dismissed it and continued with the plan that was set out for her, like a puppet on a string. At the first sign of doubt, she should have done something and it was so frustrating to read about how blindly she followed her task.

How could I cheer her on when she did all that at the expense of innocent people? I don’t care that she did it for her people and that she didn’t know and got fed false information all her life. She should have been smarter than this.

There was nothing badass about her imo. I expected some great scenes but somehow all she did was drug people and idk find entrances to the bridge or something. There was that scene where she risked her own life to rescue the wounded on the battlefield or another one where she killed a few bad guys but I just couldn't acknowledge any good she did because she was willing to sacrifice everyone anyway. For me, it was like "Why bother?" It’s either this or that, why save them when she just wanted to set them out for more pain when her people would invade the kingdom?

This wishy-washy thing got on my nerves and it went on for way too long. Either be ruthless or not. I honestly did not like her at all. Even though she got to know so many people, she was not willing to budge from her view, and I still don’t get why she never thought of finding a solution for both of their kingdoms instead of saving one and dooming the other.

Then there’s the thing that absolutely everything seemed so very easy to accomplish for her. All the information basically fell into her lap and all she had to do was to prepare for the big invasion. Which brings me to my next point.


The awfully trusting and kind hero who automatically dismissed every warning there is and could only see the weak heroine with the amazing face and body. For once I wanted the typical ruthless king but this king here foolishly played into her hands and served her everything on a platter right from the get-go.

I also do not understand how he could forgive her so easily after he found out that she was a spy. What was up with that? He was way too nice for my taste.

"It’s in the past now."

Oh, so that she wanted to sacrifice all your people (and yourself) for the sake of her own, even though she saw first hand how hard you had to fight for them is okay? She lied to you and deceived you, but that’s fine right, because she made the right decision in the end and came clean, huh?

At least he banished her the second time around.


↳ All in all, there was too much doom and gloom for me to enjoy the story. I hated this book but obviously, I'm in the minority here. I don't want to dissuade anyone from reading it mainly because so many people loved it, so chances are high that you will too.
Suffice for me to say though, I won’t be reading book 2.
Profile Image for ALet.
277 reviews241 followers
May 14, 2021
This was really fun! This wasn’t the most original book I ever read, but it was very engaging, and wasn’t afraid to go full out for the plot. I wasn’t really attached to the characters, but I still really liked them, I enjoyed dual pov, they had different voices, so it wasn’t confusing. The writing style was simplistic, but not dry. All in all, I cannot wait to read the second book in the series.
Profile Image for Zainab.
381 reviews485 followers
March 1, 2023
no because enemies-to-lovers will forever be the best trope and no one can convince me otherwise
Profile Image for Deema ♡.
137 reviews296 followers
April 2, 2023
I was gripped from the first chapter and throughout The Bridge Kingdom. The shock, high stakes, motivations, and plot. I screamed so many times during the last two chapters and that cliffhanger—I could barely breathe and had tears in my eyes by the end.

Lara and Aren are truly amazing and interesting as individuals, and I don’t know the last time I was this invested in characters from the start of a book. I LOVE THEM TOGETHER: The respect they show each other, the way they save each other, and the level of protectiveness they feel for each other made me cheer for them the whole time. ❤️ The chemistry and sexual tension between Lara and Aren, the banter, and the vulnerability were written so well. This slow-burn romance was fun to read, and the fact that they actually get to know each other made their love feel so genuine. 😍

“I will love you, no matter what the future brings. No matter how hard I need to fight. I will always love you.”

To me, this is a fantastic enemies-to-lovers book. It’s also set in a beautiful fantasy world: We have waterfalls, islands, deserts, and an incredible bridge. The world building and complex characters were a joy to read; Even the side characters in Ithicana—especially Taryn, Jor, and Ahnna—were entertaining and likable. I definitely recommend reading The Bridge Kingdom; I know I’ll continue with this series.
Profile Image for preoccupiedbybooks.
447 reviews994 followers
February 4, 2021
Soild start, meh middle and good, if predictable ending! Rtc
An English woman, an Irish Woman, a Belgian, a German and an Italian, all walk into a bar, wait no that's not right...

Finally getting around to this buddy/group read with the gorgeous Eeeefa, Kimster, Jess and other Fran
Profile Image for Lia Carstairs.
397 reviews2,133 followers
June 6, 2020
I really, really, really wanted to love this book, but honestly.........
I'm just happy I finally finished it.😔

The beginning really got me excited for the rest of The Bridge Kingdom, but then eventually I felt like the excitement was dying down and the pacing got super slow.
I was tempted to DNF halfway, but I mean, I was almost done so I thought that I might as well finish the rest. I don't know, I just go so bored.

I liked Lara in the beginning and found her cool, but that was probably it. Aren was a pretty boring character and I just didn't like him.🤷‍♀️

This might be the longest it's ever taken me to finish a book.😕
I gotta admit, though, the ending really did leave my heart pounding although it was a little rushed.

P.S. ~ Sorry to all who loved this book.😅
Profile Image for Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction).
445 reviews6,758 followers
May 30, 2021
Ok, so, this one was enjoyable, but I think the synopsis gave far too much away. It's not often I see everything coming but...yeah :/

It was an easy one to fall into, with the immediate high stakes and witty comments back and forth in the dialogue. I'm always a sucker for the snarky dialogue so often paired with people trying to scope each other out. I think the dialogue was one of the strongest parts of this book, and when partnered with the romantic themes it just had me hooked.

That being said, I felt very safe reading it. Which I don't think was the intention. There's so much emphasis on the danger, secrets, possible downfall of kingdoms. Everyone seemed ruthless and yet...I never felt the tension of possible danger while seeing that, largely because I knew how it would play out. Even towards the end where the stakes rise and everything comes to a head, I can't say I was surprised at all and so my reaction was lacking. Which is a real shame because had it been built just a little more, or had just a little less been revealed in terms of where the plot would go, I think it really could have been a whirlwind experience.

I do think for such a short book, the author played on our main characters fears just a little too much. It was introduced as if to show our badass queen does have her faults, isn't perfect or untouchable...and then the fear comes up so often that again, any danger that should've been felt by the situation just failed to hit. It made sense with the setting, but I think with the book being so short we kind of missed all the lower impact in-between moments where she simply existed on the islands, and so we only see her in peril. It made me a bit desensitised to her situation, it seems.

That being said, I flew through the book. I can definitely see how it would be addictive, and definitely for many fans of fantasy romance out there. It had all the things that are usually a hit amongst the popular ones, and I can't say I didn't want to pick it back up again at any point. It's enticing, learning all the secrets of this mysteriously allusive place. Once you're in, you're in.

Ultimately, I enjoyed the book just fine, but didn't quite feel the tension of anything - the danger, the romance, the politics. It was a fun one to read, and I'm intrigued enough to read the second, but I can't say I love it as much as everyone else seems to.
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