Series: Kingdoms of Sand and Sky #1
Published by Tor Teen (7.7.2020)
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook, 368 pages
Length: 11 hours, 41 minutes
Narrator: Katharine Lee McEwan
When a princess’s commoner true love is kidnapped to coerce her into a political marriage, she doesn’t give in—she goes to rescue him.
When her warrior father, King Sendoa, mysteriously dies, Princess Amarande of Ardenia is given what would hardly be considered a choice: Marry a stranger at sixteen or lose control of her family’s crown.
But Amarande was raised to be a warrior—not a sacrifice.
In an attempt to force her choice, a neighboring kingdom kidnaps her true love, stable boy Luca. With her kingdom on the brink of civil war and no one to trust, she’ll need all her skill to save him, her future, and her kingdom.
Overall, this book was extremely generic. I feel like it didn’t bring anything new to the table as far as fantasy goes, and it just felt like a mashup of a bunch of other stories I’ve read a million other times before. The writing is also very bland. However, that isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I did for the most part. I was a little bored in the middle, but it maintained my interest enough to keep going. I think the main thing that kept me going was the narrator. Her voice was fantastic! If I had been physically reading this book, I may have DNFed in the middle of it.
It’s an adventure book as much as it is a romance. There’s a lot of traveling, escaping, and running. In fact, that makes up the bulk of this book’s plot, to be honest. Like the name suggests, there’s no damsel in distress here. I love that Amarande does whatever she has to in order to save her love, the stable boy Luca. The driving point of this book was definitely her love for him, and how that love was powerful and able to overcome any obstacle. And while I appreciate the power in the love they had, it just didn’t do anything for me. Their relationship was already well established at the start of the book, and I just have SO much trouble caring about relationships that I don’t see develop. They have to be done *just* a certain way and this one didn’t do it for me, sadly.
I didn’t care for the romance (which was unfortunately the main focus of this book), and I wasn’t a huge fan of the two main characters, but I did like some of the side characters. Namely, Ula. I LOVED her. I wish she was the main character, because she was my favorite! I adored her from the beginning, and I’m thrilled at the direction her character took. View Spoiler »I actually really love that Ula and Urtzi ended up being saviors instead of villains at the end, teaming up with Amarande and Luca! « Hide Spoiler
I had a lot of reservations about this book, but like I said I did still enjoy it. The saving grace of it, however, was the ending! There were some nice little twists introduced right at the very end of the book, and even though this book was generic AF, I still want to pick up book 2 so I can find out what direction things go! View Spoiler »I’m very interested in the lost kingdom of Torrence and the Otxoa! I figured the tattoo on Luca’s chest meant something important, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that he was the lost “wolf cub” of the eradicated kingdom (even though him being royalty is kind of cliche, but oh well lol). The introduction of the general’s bastard son of the king was an interesting addition as well! Setting up a bit of tension for the next book! « Hide Spoiler
Writing style: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5