Series: Heirs of Magic #1
Published by Brightlynx Publishing on January 25, 2021
Genres: Fantasy Romance
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Follows The Long Night of the Crystalline Moon in the UNDER A WINTER SKY fantasy holiday anthology.
A Legacy of Honor
Crown Prince Astar has only ever wanted to do the right thing: be a credit to his late-father’s legacy, live up to his duties as heir to the High Throne of the Thirteen Kingdoms, and cleave to the principles of honor and integrity that give his life structure—and that contain the ferocious grizzly bear inside. Nowhere in those guiding principles is there room for the fierce-hearted, wildly free-spirited, and dizzyingly beautiful shapeshifter, Zephyr. Still, even though they’ve been friends most of their lives, Astar is able to keep Zephyr safely at arm’s length. He’s already received a list of potential princess brides who will make a suitable queen, and Zephyr is not on it.
A Longtime Obsession
Zeph has wanted the gorgeous, charming, and too-good-for-his-own-good Astar for as long as she can remember. Not that her longing for him—and his perfectly sculpted and muscular body—has stopped her from enjoying any number of lovers. Astar might be honorably (and foolishly) intent on remaining chaste until marriage, but Zeph is Tala and they have no such rules. Still, she loves Astar—as a friend—and she wants him to at least taste life before he chains himself to a wife he didn’t choose. There’s no harm in him having a bit of fun with her. But the man remains stubbornly elusive, staving off all of her advances with infuriatingly noble refusals.
A Quest to Save the World
But things change when a new terror threatens the Thirteen Kingdoms. Following prophecy, Astar and Zeph—along with a mismatched group of shapeshifter, warrior, and sorceress friends—go on a quest to stop a magic rift before it grows beyond anyone’s ability to stop. Thrust together with Zephyr, Astar finds himself increasingly unable to resist her seductive invitations. And, in the face of life and death battles with lethal monsters, he begins to lose sight of why having her, just once, is such a terrible idea
When I was given the opportunity to review this book, I jumped at the chance and didn’t even look at the blurb. So I had no idea that this was another spinoff of The Twelve Kingdoms series. This series follows the grown children of the couples of the original series and of the spinoff series, The Uncharted Realms and The Chronicles of Dasnaria.
This first story features Astar, the son of Princess Amelia and nephew of High Queen Ursula. He is also the heir to the throne of The Thirteen Kingdoms. He got this designation at birth before the former High King Uorsin died, so he has always known that this will be his fate. He takes this responsibility very seriously, which means he is far from the life of the party. He is also expected to marry for the good of the kingdom, like many royals.
Zephyr is a free spirit and loves her life as a Tala. She is the daughter of Zyr is a Tala male who’s first form is the gríobhth, which he passed down to his daughter. A gríobhth is what we would call a gryphon, with a body of a lion and head and wings of an eagle. The Tala have a different view of relationships. Many are not monogamous, while some have settled down with a mate.
This book was a bit more “new adult” than I prefer. There were some times early in the story where there were some almost more young adult type conversations, but once the action started, the group does seem to grow up and act more like the adults that they are.
One other complaint I had was that Ursula and her sisters were even trying to push Astar to marry for royalty and not love, when two of the three of them are with men who would not be worthy of their list. Since this is a romance (not to mention the title), I don’t think it is a spoiler to say that Astar does indeed follow his heart and not what he was ordered by his queen.
All in all, I did enjoy this story, even with the complaints I mentioned above. The action scenes were really great and there were some wonderful suspense scenes as well. The romance was well written, like all of Kennedy’s stories. And I do love all the characters. You can read this story without having read the original series, but will not have the full backstory of the parents of these characters (and I do love those stories too, so worth a read). I’m really looking forward to the next book, The Sorceress Queen and the Pirate Rogue, which will be out in April 2021.