Eidolon is the second book in Grace Draven’s The Wraith Kings Paranormal Fantasy Romance series.
SUMMARY (from back): In a bid for more power, the Shadow Queen of Haradis unleashes a malignant force into the world. Her son Brishen, younger prince of the Kai royal house, suddenly finds himself ruler of a kingdom blighted by a diseased darkness. His human wife, Ildiko, must decide if she will give up the man she loves in order to save his throne.
Three kingdoms on the verge of war must unite to save each other, and a one-eyed, reluctant king will raise an army of the dead to challenge an army of the damned. A tale of alliance and sacrifice.
WHAT I THOUGHT: I loved the first book in the series, Radiance, for its depiction of how a human adapts to the dramatically different culture of the Kai after an arranged marriage borne out of political interests. Eidolon, while not focusing on the same themes as Radiance, introduces a peril on that world that demand the three nations unite and fight.
I loved the continued world-building of Draven.
Plot: The threat in this book is a horde of demons from the pit of Hell released by the former self-obsessed queen. They pillage and feed upon any living being. The stakes have never been higher and failure is not an option. It was certainly a creative and extreme conflict to be sure.
While the plot introduced a significant conflict, I thought the transition between book one and two was a bit abrupt. I mentioned this in my review of the first book. For it was in the epilogue that Draven crafts this conflict. While the scenario would have been possible based upon the character of the queen she’d set up, I would have like to see the story flow and the narrative create this problem on its own, not an epilogue.
I will not give any spoilers, but I found the execution of the conflict and resolution lacked an emotional hook for me. It seemed academic and while “big”, I wished the events leveraged the emotions of the female protagonist, Ikaido, as well as her husband, Brishen, more. It felt like Draven built the tension and then we moved to lots of action that lacked anything but the occasional pining of the husband for his wife while he’s slaying the bad guys.
Characters: I enjoyed the continued growth of both Ilaiko and Brishen. They have gone from willing pawns in a political game to husband and wife who are deeply committed to each other. I thought the misunderstand between them and how it impacted their relationship (duty vs desire) was well done.
Overall, I give this 4.0/5.0 stars.
Warning: This is not YA. There are a few sexually explicit scenes as would be expected in this Adult fantasy romance work.
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