What is Radiance by Grace Draven?
Radiance, by author Grace Draven, is an adventurous fantasy romance novel that combines magic with court intrigue to solve a murder and bring love to two people who desperately need it.
Radiance is a fantasy novel by Grace Draven. The book was published in 2014 by Tor Books and centers around the lives of two people, Aaric, the King of Alsan, and Tamir, the Princess of Syr. Aaric kidnaps Tamir’s father, leading to strong words and a fair amount of violence between the two. However, their attraction for each other cannot be denied and the two fall for each other.
Aaric is known as the Reaper due to his actions in battle, but he is much more than meets the eye. In fact, he is a master swordsman who has an incredible amount of skill with weapons. He also has a great deal of honor, which makes him an excellent leader for his people. As such, it’s no surprise that he falls in love with Tamir.
Tamir is an incredibly skilled fighter but she does not have a high rank within her people due to her gender. Her skills are such that she can take on ten men at once and win! She also has quite a bit of honor and self-respect which makes her very likeable character.
The story takes place in a world where there are only two races: humans and elves.
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About Radiance Pdf Grace Draven
The Prince of no value
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.
The noblewoman of no importance
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.
Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.
“You find me ugly, don’t you?”
“Hideous. A hag of a woman. And you? You don’t think me a handsome man?”
“Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father’s mace.”
*falls over laughing*
The above takes place between our two main characters, Brishen Khaskem, a Kai prince with gray skin, solid yellow eyes, razor claws for fingernails, and teeth meant for tearing flesh, and Ildiko, a human woman who happens to be the niece of a king.
They’re destined to marry, and for that, everyone pities them. The two races find each other physically repulsive, and as you can tell, that extends to our MCs.
While their appearances couldn’t be more different, their souls share a kinship. They’re both witty, intelligent, and quick to laugh. Which basically means that their interactions are frigging hysterical.
They first meet just before their wedding, and recognizing this kinship in each other, form an alliance based on mutual respect and honesty.
I KNOW, HOW REFRESHING, RIGHT?!
Their marriage is one that will secure an alliance between their kingdoms, and while both were pushed into it, neither one resents it.
BECAUSE – HOLY CRAP – THEY’RE BOTH DESCENT “PEOPLE”.
What follows can only be described as one hell of a love story, set against the backdrop of a world balanced on the brink of war. As there is no physical attraction between them (at first *waggles brows*), Brishen and Ilkido form a fast friendship. This love story is a slow burn, a realistic joining together of two souls with more meaningful things to draw them to each other.
I just blew your mind, didn’t I? Trust me, this book blew mine. It was so incredibly refreshing to actually buy into a relationship for once, an ACTUAL relationship, and not just people lusting after each other for no frigging reason aside from the OMG, ABS/OMG, BOOBS that dominates most romance novels.
My only complaint is that I wish there were more to this. I wish Draven delved deeper into this world. I wish there were more descriptions of journeys, surroundings, and cities.
But honestly, that tells you just how much I enjoyed being in this world. And how sad I was to leave it.
”Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father’s mace.”
I must admit, this was really something different! *lol* I mean the book blurb already suggested that this wasn’t going to be your ordinary love story but wow, this one was really something else. XD The concept of arranged marriages between different countries is nothing new, in this case however it aren’t just dissimilar kingdoms but also different species our two protagonists have to deal with. Ildiko is human and Brishen is Kai and I’m pretty sure they couldn’t be any more different even if they tried.
”Thank you for not lying about what you thought of my appearance. You might have a face to turn my hair white, but your honesty is handsome”
Yet, despite all their obvious differences they bond through their humour and the first time they meet had me laughing really hard. Those two are nothing but honest with each other and I loved this so much! They might have totally different cultures, habits and appearances but they are both kind and merry souls. XD Their relationship starts with mutual understanding and at first it’s nothing more than friendship. It was something I really appreciated because they like what’s inside of each other and therefore try to ignore their outside appearances. Well, at least at first.
”Theirs was an agreement based on the beginnings of friendship, respect and an intuitive understanding of each other that still left him slack-jawed with amazement.”
I really couldn’t have said it any better. Ildiko and Brishen don’t have insta-love, they have insta-friendship and I don’t know about you, but for me this was a great approach. They respect each other and their cultures and they try their best to learn what it means to be human or Kai. Still, I’ve to admit that Ildiko has all my respect for putting up with the tradition of eating scarpatine. *shudders* I probably would have screamed and jumped on a chair. *LOL* Also I’m sure I couldn’t have eaten it … not even if my life would have depended on it. XD
”Loneliness is an empty void. We look for that friend in the light.”
Aaaanyway enough of disgusting Kai dishes, let’s get to the main plot. Truth be told, there isn’t a lot of plot happening but I guess that’s mostly due to the fact that this is supposed to be a love story. At least the first book seems to be. After the ending I’m pretty sure that we’ll get a lot more action in “Eidolon”. 😉 With the first book Grace Draven prepared us for the world Ildiko and Brishen live in and I’m convinced that everything we learned in “Radiance” will be important once we start with book two.
”I will not shame you with my fear, Brishen,” she whispered against his neck.
He sighed into her hair. “But I might shame you with mine, wife.”
Kai politics seem to be pretty brutal and I don’t even want to know about the consequences the ending will have… Also I’m convinced that there was a lot more to what happened in the last third of the book. (view spoiler) At the moment I can only speculate but I hope that I’ll get answers when I read “Eidolon”. Plus I want more of Anhuset and Serovek! *lol* I really liked those two and they were great side characters I definitely want to know more about! 😉
”My beautiful husband,” she said. “I see radiance.”
All told “Radiance” was a nice change to all the serious books I usually tend to read. XD The books approach was something refreshing and new and I found myself enjoying the slow-burn love story between our two protagonists Ildiko and Brishen. The concept of insta-friendship is the kind of trope I’d love to see more in books and now that their relationship is solid I’m ready to go for the plot! Let’s see what “Eidolon” will throw our way. ;-P
Okay, but WTH was this ending?!! O_o
“Radiance” was a really nice and sweet romance and even though the fantasy aspect was rather in the background I still enjoyed this A LOT!
I don’t understand anything that happened at the end though and urgh I guess I might just have to read the second book?! *lol* Well done, Grace Draven! ;-P
Full RTC soon-ish! Stay tuned! =)
We all know those kinds of stories:
– A girl from a royal family.
– A prince and the spare heir to a throne.
– Two strangers.
– An arranged marriage.
– And they both think the other is ugly af? *lol*
Yes, you read right!
Their beauty ideals couldn’t be more different, but apparently they still fall in love.
Sounds like a great love story and I’m here for it! ;-P
P.S: This was recommended to me about a thousand times, let’s hope it’s as good as everybody says it is. XD
Once again, I came upon this book completely by chance, read the synopsis, and that was it ! I read it and to my surprise, I ended up loving this book so much that it’s actually hard for me to find something I didn’t like about it ^_^
What’s this book about ?
This is a Romance set in a Fantasy world.
Ildiko and Brishen are forced into a marriage to strengthen alliances between their two kingdoms. The thing is, both of them are from two different races : one is human, and the other is Kai (grey skin, fangs instead of teeth, black claws instead of nails and yellow eyes with no pupils). So obviously, from first sight, they are both repulsed by the other’s appearance. But despite that, they’re still going to find a connection of minds and spirits.
To me, this book was how you do a great slow-burn and realistic fantasy romance when the two main protagonists are forced into marriage. What was refreshing and so good about it was that it didn’t follow the usual trope about forced marriage. What I mean is that even though both MC were repulsed by the other’s appearance, they actually didn’t start off hating each other. From their first meeting, and because of their open-mindedness, they quickly connected thanks to a shared sense of humor and smart mind. What I loved then is that the first months through their marriage, they’re very good and platonic friends who like to make fun of both their races and families and respect the other one very much.
But slowly, through getting to know the other one better with time, they’re going to form a deeper connection leading finally to desire slowly blooming between them. They’re going to see past their differences and find the other to be actually quite attractive in their own way. And from that moment, passion between them explodes and sparks fly !
I was worried during the first half of the book because the romance was quite slow and I was afraid they would lack passion and powerful emotions, the ones that create the butterflies in the belly, but I didn’t need to worry because everything came in full force at some point and I found myself so involved in their beautiful, sweet yet passionate and hot relationship ! I felt so invested in their couple, I could feel their adoration for each other, how they respect the other one, how they faced things together.
Another thing I loved was this book was free of unnecessary drama, meaning jealousy, distrust, misunderstandings etc… There’s was none of that, and it was so refreshing !
As for the characters ?
Well, once again, I was pleasantly surprised to find I never got annoyed either by Ildiko nor by Brishen.
Ildiko was such a lovable female character ! She was sweet, funny, brave and open-minded. I loved how hard she tried to adapt to her new world and people, how she would easily make fun of how different she was from the Kai ! She was really easy-going and witty, but most of ALL, she never made stupid or reckless decisions, and THAT was refreshing and so enjoyable ! There’s really nothing I didn’t like about her ! I loved how much she adored Brishen despite their differences, how she became his partner and lover, how she was always there through the bad things.
Brishen was such a swoony and lovable male character ! What I liked the most is how he was not your typical alpha male, being overly possessive and jealous or manhandling his girl all the time. Brishen was none of that : he was sweet, very respectful of Ildiko, he would always have sweet gestures towards her. He became dedicated and addicted to Ildiko, he loved her spirit and humor with passion. But he also could be cocky and get you hot with his dirty words as well as with his words of adoration !
The plot in itself was mainly focused on the romance, but I found the fantasy elements to still be quite unique and very intriguing, full with magic and politics. But with the epilogue, you could feel the fantasy aspect of the story is going to be more important in the sequel, which I can’t wait ! Also, I hope we’re going to get more of Anhuset/Severek in the sequel because I can feel they could be just as amazing as a couple 😉
Overall, if you’re looking for an amazing fantasy romance which is able to separate itself from the usual trope, if you want sweetness, as well as passion and hotness, but also an intriguing fantasy world, look no further, this book is for you !
About Radiance Author
Grace Draven, I’m an author and Louisiana native living in Texas with my husband, three smalls and a big doofus dog. I have lived in Spain, hiked the Teton Mountains, honeymooned in Scotland, ridden in competition rodeo and am the great great granddaughter of a Nicaraguan president. I also hate doing laundry and refuse to iron anything.
I’ve loved storytelling since forever. I published my first short story with Amber Quill Press and have since written several other tales. A love of the bad boy in fiction always inspires me.