Woman of Day, Prince of Night

8:06 AM

Summary of Radiance by Grace Draven


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. 


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.

*Summary from goodreads


I placed a hold on Radiance by Grace Dreven several months ago and by the time I was able to check it out, I'd forgotten the premise of the book or why I'd wanted to read it. After reading the first chapter, I was reminded of why I put a hold on the book in the first place. I'd been looking for more stories with arranged marriages in them in which the characters involved grow to love each other. Radiance certainly fits that description, though on the whole I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I thought I would.

Radiance shared similarities with two of my favorite books, but I found Radiance lacking. The Kai in this book remind me of the goblins from The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle (though I much prefer The Hollow Kingdom over Radiance). In both books, human women marry a non human man whose appearance is unsettling. I do like that it isn't love at first sight between Brishen and Ildiko (they both tell each other in a humorous way how ugly they find each other). While they don't fall in love with each other's looks right away, they do fall in love with each other's personalities a bit too quickly for my taste. I guess when it comes to reading about arranged marriages where strangers who are forced to marry fall in love with each other, I prefer a slow burn romance. This book also reminds me of Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes because two people from different kingdoms marry to secure an alliance but that alliance is threatened by people trying to kill the couple (though, again, I prefer Hawksong to Radiance)

As far as the story goes, it starts off slowly and the picks up in the second half. The villain of the story, Secmis, starts out as a kind of meh villain, but she later becomes plenty creepy. She doesn't have much of a back story, though. I would've liked to know more about her other than she's just power hungry, likes looking young, and will do anything to remain in power.

Overall, I decided to give Radiance by Grace Dreven a 3 out of 5 stars on goodreads, though it's probably closer to a 2.75. 

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