Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Fiery Crown by Jeffe Kennedy
Series: Forgotten Empires #2
Published by St. Martin's Press on May 26, 2020
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Amazon, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
WILL THEIR LOVE STAND THE TEST OF TIME
Queen Euthalia has reigned over her island kingdom of Calanthe with determination, grace, and her magical, undying orchid ring. After she defied an empire to wed Conrí, the former Crown Prince of Oriel—a man of disgraced origins with vengeance in his heart—Lia expected the wizard’s prophecy to come true: Claim the hand that wears the ring and the empire falls. But Lia’s dangerous bid to save her realm doesn’t lead to immediate victory. Instead, destiny hurls her and Conrí towards a future neither could predict…
OR TEAR THEIR WHOLE WORLD APART?
Con has never healed after the death of his family and destruction of his kingdom—he’s been carefully plotting his revenge against his greatest enemy, Emperor Anure, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. When Lia’s spies gather intelligence suggesting that Anure is planning an attack against Calanthe, Con faces an agonizing choice: Can he sacrifice Lia and all she holds dear to destroy the empire? Or does his true loyalty exist in the arms of his beguiling, passionate wife—’til death do they part?
As I continue in the Forgotten Empires series, I appreciate the unique magics and the depth of the world-building. Lia and Conri are very new to each other, so there is a lot of their interaction and getting to know each other, all with the background threat of Anure. I struggled a little with all the rich detail of the world and the depth of character development with wanting the action I knew was to follow. The slow burn of their time together does help form knowledge and trust they both need.
I really felt for Lia because she knew her horrid nightmares were visions of the terror ahead. She beautifully remained calm, reassuring her people, and working with Conri as much as she could. They both learn more about their past and their blind spots from each other and because of their different knowledge and perspectives. Their personal styles balance each other.
I loved the strategy, with the action so exciting and suspenseful. Their battle plans have some success and some stupendous failures. I had really hoped that Lia, Conri and Ambrose would all learn to better use and control their magic but that was not this story at all. The Fiery Crown was more a focus on learning truths, facing realities, and grasping true priorities.
I am definitely looking forward to reading more in 2021. With our team of rebels working better together, it should be interesting to see what they can manage.
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