It’s been a while since my last recommendation post, and one of them was a recent read that I haven’t really heard too many people talk about – so I figured it was time! These two books have very similar tropes and ideas, but they’ve spun it in a certain way that made them unique. They also have some magical elements to them that takes a plain fantasy and turns it into something new. Here are the books that I’m recommending to you today:
The first book that I’m going to talk about is The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh. This is quite a popular book and one that I almost refused to read. The thing is – it seemed like it was something I’ve already read before and had the set up for an insta-love romance…… not the case! Well, I guess it was in a way, but it was done in such a way that didn’t make me want to gag lol. We have a woman who offers to be the new wife of the king, even though, at the night of the kings wedding, the new bride dies. Her best friend was killed in this way and now she wants her revenge. But, for the first time, she is married and lives to see the next morning. She doesn’t immediately fall for him. In fact, she takes this time to plot out her best course of action to kill him. But as she realizes the truth of his actions, it’s not nearly as simple. I remember finishing this book and my hands were shaking because I NEEDED the next book so badly!
Now if you’ve read the book above, it’s safe to say that you’ll like this book as well! Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean was released in November of this year, and it immediately gave me vibes of The Wrath and the Dawn. A woman living in the mountains was trained her whole life to win a competition. The Prince holds a competition where all women are allowed to enter and, if you win, you will become his Empress. The challenge is to complete the tasks in the seasonal rooms. Our main character only wants to win so that she can kill him, take everything he has, and return home to her people. But after she meets the Prince her feelings change. To see my full spoiler free review – CLICK HERE
HERE’S WHAT THE TWO BOOKS HAVE IN COMMON:
- Taking down the Royal family from the inside – In each of these books, our main female character is set to be wed to the head of the Royal family. Each of these women makes the choice to do so, but neither one is marrying for love. Either through their own vengeance or the vendetta’s of their family, they choose to marry in order to cause damage to the royal family.
- Strong themes of vengeance – Like I just said above, these women want to marry into the royal family for vengeful reasons. In each case, the royal families actions have hurt them and their people, and they want to get back at them. Sounds like a familiar trope, right? Well, there’s a lot more to it than that!
- The truth behind the royal families actions is more than it seems – Continuing on with the vengeance plot, when our main character actually interacts with the royal family, they find that their actions are far more complicated. At first, both of our characters assume that they’re doing things to cause fear, death, and chaos. A royal family set on displaying their power in deadly ways. But, like I just mentioned, things are far more complicated. There is a lot more happening behind the scenes and the royal family isn’t as terrible as they first might seem.
- Magical abilities – As an added bonus to these plots, each of the female leads has some sort of magical ability. In the Wrath and the Dawn, the female lead has magic that she’s really only exploring for the first time. In Empress of All Seasons, the female lead has the ability to transform into an animal being which is why she is technically prohibited in participating in the challenge. These abilities aren’t really a dominant story line, but something that feels like added intrigue to the story as a whole.
- Cultural beauty – Both of these books are set in GORGEOUS worlds! Each of them have amazing world building that builds a vivid picture in your mind. The Wrath and the Dawn has (if I’m remembering correctly….. If i’m not PLEASE correct me!) an eastern setting that blew my mind. The food, the desert, the palace – I couldn’t soak it in fast enough! Empress was inspired greatly by Japanese culture and it was stunning!
If you’re looking for a fantasy with a royal family, magical elements, strong females, gorgeous world building, and a little bit of romance, these are the books for you! I hope you enjoy 🙂
Until next time, happy reading!