Title: Kingdom of Exiles
Author: Maxym M. Martineau
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, June 2019
Blurb: Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin’s Creed in this epic, gripping fantasy romance from debut author Maxym M. Martineau.
Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep trouble. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts on the black market—an offense punishable by death—and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.
If only it were that simple. Unbeknownst to Leena, the undying ones are bound by magic to complete their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood of assassins…not even to save the woman he can no longer live without.
Thank goodness for book recommendations, because otherwise, I totally would have missed out on this AMAZING gem of a novel.
Which, honestly, is what I get for judging books by their covers.
I saw some hype floating around for this book, Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym M. Martineau, and I’ll admit, I was super curious! I mean, a fantasy romance that comps Assassin’s Creed? Interest was definitely piqued. But the cover felt kinda…cheesy, to me, and the blurb matched that feel. So I wasn’t 100% sold.
But then, Amanda Bouchet tweeted and said she loved it.
So, I immediately put it on hold at the library.
We all know Bouchet is one of my favorite romance authors, um, ever, so if she recs a book, all other reservations go out the window.
And, once I started reading it?
Oh wow, was I hooked.
I thought this romance was incredible. I absolutely loved Leena (also, how cool of a name is Leena Edenfrell?!) and Noc…well, let’s just say he made me weak in the knees but I also wanted to punch him in the face, at times. But their chemistry was amazing and this slow burn really made you work for it (but absolutely and totally worth it). It’s been a while where I’ve read a romance where I wanted the characters to end up together so badly, I kept wanting to skip ahead to the end to ensure that was actually the case, but that’s how I felt with Leena and Noc. I couldn’t get enough of them.
Interestingly enough, I think my favorite aspect of the book, however, was the group dynamic between Leena and the four Cruor. As they are traveling through and searching for beasts (which, I loved the way Charmers worked and how many different beasts we were introduced to!!), I just loved the way she is supposed to be their mark, yet they work together and slowly come to trust one another. Her relationship in Oz, in particular, I just couldn’t get enough of (and who, I couldn’t help picture as Brick from Borderlands??) and I just really loved that bonding and the way that was written. It honestly made me want to read more books with a solid cast of characters to root for and a solid group dynamic.
Oh, and it made the ending hurt that much more, which I am here for.
So, I definitely devoured this book in the span of like, three days, and then got bummed out that this book literally just came out, so the sequel definitely isn’t coming out until next year, sometime, and it’s only July. You could say that Martineau definitely got a new fan and I got a nice reminder that perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to judge a book by it’s cover.