Series: The Bridge Kingdom

BOOK REVIEW: The Traitor Queen (The Bridge Kingdom #2) by Danielle L. Jensen

BOOK REVIEW: The Traitor Queen (The Bridge Kingdom #2) by Danielle L. JensenThe Traitor Queen (The Bridge Kingdom #2)
by Danielle L. Jensen
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A queen now in exile as a traitor, Lara has watched Ithicana be conquered by her own father, helpless to do anything to stop the destruction. But when she learns her husband, Aren, has been captured in battle, Lara knows there is only one reason her father is keeping him alive: as bait for his traitorous daughter.

And it is bait she fully intends to take.

Risking her life to the Tempest Seas, Lara returns to Ithicana with a plan not only to free its king, but for liberating the Bridge Kingdom from her father’s clutches using his own weapons: the sisters whose lives she spared. But not only is the palace inescapable, there are more players in the game than Lara ever realized, enemies and allies switching sides in the fight for crowns, kingdoms, and bridges. But her greatest adversary of all might be the very man she’s trying to free – the husband she betrayed.

With everything she loves in jeopardy, Lara must decide who – and what – she is fighting for: her kingdom, her husband, or herself.



Oooh boy. This book was a monster’s dream. It’s me. I’m the monster. This book was perfection wrapped in evil, desperate things, and I lapped it up so quickly-so quickly, in fact, I found that I had read the whole book in one night and that hasn’t happened since, like, 2013? Maybe? It’s that sinfully evil, I tell you.



I couldn’t be torn from these pages. Not even death itself could have pulled me from these pages, because my heart was woven so delicately within these words and moments that I had no way of escaping.

Aren is…in a predicament. Lara ‘banished’. Okay, Tinkerbell. Come on now. But anyway. Lara is willing to do ANYTHING to right her wrongs, to make things right, to save the love of her life…but no one WANTS her to.

Thus is the struggle of being a total raving brainwashed loon in book one, I suppose, but it didn’t make it any less hard to swallow, watching the way she gets treated even as Aren knows in his heart he’ll always love her despite all she did and could do-he won’t give in, but his heart will never let her go.

This book sang to my soul so deeply-it’s rare you find a book that can encapsulate everything you love and admire about stories without it being too over the top. The types of books I love and cherish are rife with boy tears, deceit, and romantic peril so dire we don’t KNOW if they will make it out alive. I really do only get the most enjoyment out of when they DO make it, but there are times I make exceptions for my truly macabre moments.

Never a dull moment, these two fight for their life, for their kingdom, for EACH OTHER, so fiercely that it emanates off the page. Their love and passion for one another and the place they call home is spell-binding and it shines bright on each and every page, making every horrendous, treacherous trial and moment they go for fraught with tension and heartache. I was truly head over heels for every trial and tribulation these two went through, even though it I didn’t fully buy it had to be this way.

That…was my biggest issue with book one. Did it have to be this way? NO, sorry. But I also understand it led to one of the most amazing second books ever, so beggars can’t be choosers. But, to be fair, this wasn’t simply a miscommunication, this was a lack of total regard for the worst imaginable scenario possible when not handled correctly. I just….come on, Lara. And Aren….just forgive her already-we all know you know it was an accident and you WANT TO. (F THEM KIDS (THAT KINGDOM).

Riddled with terror, treacherous elements, and the absolute uncertainty if they would ever end up together again, if they would even survive, in the end…this book was everything I could have asked for and more. I didn’t even mind (view spoiler). So, to say this was the perfect novel, for me, would be an understatement. The tears, the lack of trust, the hope, the absolute desperate cries for one another in battle *even thought they aren’t supposed to care*? Sign me up for infinite re-reads. For eternity. For all time. I will never stop.



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BOOK REVIEW: The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

BOOK REVIEW: The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. JensenThe Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1)
by Danielle L. Jensen
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A warrior princess trained in isolation, Lara is driven by two certainties. The first is that King Aren of the Bridge Kingdom is her enemy. And the second is that she’ll be the one to bring him to his knees.

The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom enriches itself and deprives its rivals, including Lara's homeland. So when she’s sent as a bride under the guise of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture its impenetrable defenses. And the defenses of its king.

Yet as she infiltrates her new home and gains a deeper understanding of the war to possess the bridge, Lara begins to question whether she’s the hero or the villain. And as her feelings for Aren transform from frosty hostility to fierce passion, Lara must choose which kingdom she’ll save… and which kingdom she’ll destroy.

Passionate and violent, The Bridge Kingdom is a seductive fantasy perfect for fans of From Blood and Ash and A Court of Thorns and Roses.

 

Ithicana would pay for its crimes against her people, and by the time she was through with its king, he’d do more than bend.
He’d bleed.



This is a hard one for me to write, as I think that, while undeniably addicting and spell-binding, it wasn’t without its flaws. I’ve never been one to completely forgo logic, but I do suspend disbelief quite often to raise enjoyment for some of my favorite stories. Why must we be so critical? Well, the reason I am so critical is because if I’m not, I get sloppy with my choices, and I do NOT like to waste my time when I read, so I critique down to the finest point…about my own personal issues (which are far from what most of my fellow readers find repulsive).

Ithicana needed a queen who was a warrior. A woman who’d fight to the death for her people. A woman who was cunning and ruthless, not because she wanted to be, but because her country needed her to be. A woman who’d challenge him every day for the rest of his life. A woman Ithicana would respect.
And there was one thing he was certain: Lara Veliant was not that woman.



Personal issues of disbelief aside, something I’m shocked I cared enough to even say, to be frank, is this duology is everything my peril loving heart could ask for. Slow-burn. Tortuous. Agonizing. Perilous. Absolutely heart-breaking. But also, for those who are not so macabre: adventurous, bright, vivid, and full of action packed battles and games of deceit and political intrigue. This book had it all, and it led to one of my favorite sequels ever, which is crazy because, essentially, I’ve had a LOT of favorites, as of late.

I’m not going to lie when I say I am really pulling out all the stops here to write this review, as my brain is slow and I feel as though I’m in a haze from being sick, but I felt both this series and Aurora Cycle deserved better than one sentence sentiments. So while I am doing no justice here, I do feel that, at least I tried-grammar be damned, apparently.

Still, she was aware enough to hear him, his voice hoarse as he said, “Since the moment I set eyes on you in Southwatch, there’s been no one but you. Even if I’m a goddamned fool for it, there will never be anyone but you.”



Aren is one of the most idealistic, beautiful souls I’ve read about (okay, ha, whatever. I’ve met a lot of beautiful BBF souls, sue me) in recent memory, always hoping and praying for the good, even while preparing for the worst. Even though he falls head over heels in lust (unbeknownst to her) when they first meet, he never lets it rule his sense of urgency on whether she is truly there for him, or to spy. He is clever in that way, and I found it refreshing neither one gave into their desires, even though he so clearly wanted to be a good man to her and take care of her even more as time progressed.

When they finally give into one another…this book truly soared, the feels abundant and without a care of ceasing for for my rapidly beating heart and preemptively bleeding soul. But, like most horrendous enemies to lovers, bad things must occur lest we have no plot, and when shit hit the fan, I wasn’t mad-I was furious.

You are a fool, she thought as darkness took her. And that made two of them.



Look, I knew. Arielle tells me everything I deem I need to know-which is all things bad and unfortunate. I’m not wasting time and investing my heart into bullshit-I’m not kidding when I emphasize this. So, I knew. And because I knew, or perhaps literally EVERYONE knows because it’s so god damn glaringly obvious that I couldn’t help but to keep a permanent scowl in anticipation of pigs flying, because the unbelievable stupidity of the heroine to be so blind in her hopefulness and lack of belief when it’s needed most SLAYED me, I was ready to be hurt. But not in this way, because MY GOD IT IS SO EASY TO HAVE PREVENTED. I dO nOt CaRe if it is touched upon (I will speak of this likely later or in book two review) and therefore halfway forgivable in this sense, and I do not CARE if it needed to happen to further the plot-WHY. MY HEART. WHY. Couldn’t it have happened any other way?

They did what they needed to survive, and with every piece of information she stored away about them, her guilt swelled, because she knew Ithicana wouldn’t survive her.



That’s it. That’s literally my only complaint (perhaps barring that I wish she’d have trusted him and loved him sooner)-because this series is otherwise my literal fantasy of every book I’d like to read. It was just so so tortuous…and I need less easy, more angst in my life [but not TOO much angst, I don’t want a damn heart attack okay].

And that is, I suppose, all this review really needed to say. I needed to warn y’all that you WILL fall for them. You WILL see it coming. You WILL hurt. And, if you like them at all, you WON’T care. End of story.



View all my reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

BOOK REVIEW: The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. JensenThe Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1)
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

“Heart-pounding romance and intense action wrapped in a spellbinding world. I was hooked from the first page!” – Elise Kova, USA Today bestselling author of A Deal with the Elf King.

A warrior princess trained in isolation, Lara is driven by two certainties. The first is that King Aren of the Bridge Kingdom is her enemy. And the second is that she’ll be the one to bring him to his knees.

The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom enriches itself and deprives its rivals, including Lara's homeland. So when she’s sent as a bride under the guise of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture its impenetrable defenses. And the defenses of its king.

Yet as she infiltrates her new home and gains a deeper understanding of the war to possess the bridge, Lara begins to question whether she’s the hero or the villain. And as her feelings for Aren transform from frosty hostility to fierce passion, Lara must choose which kingdom she’ll save… and which kingdom she’ll destroy.

Passionate and violent, The Bridge Kingdom is a seductive fantasy perfect for fans of From Blood and Ash and A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Review

Ithicana needed a queen who was a warrior. A woman who’d fight to the death for her people. A woman who was cunning and ruthless, not because she wanted to be, but because her country needed her to be. A woman who’d challenge him every day for the rest of his life. A woman Ithicana would respect.

And there was one thing he was certain: Lara Veliant was not that woman.


At this point I have seen this book recommended a thousand times over in several different Facebook groups I’m in. Did I listen to any of those people? No. Do I feel like an idiot about it? Yes. THANK GOD I finally found people to push me about it with previous book opinions that I trusted or else who knows how long it might have been before it would have been picked up.

“I’m sorry I’ve been so terrible. You deserve someone better than me.”
Aren exhaled, but said nothing. The methodical movement of him climbing the stairs lulled her, consciousness slowly fading away. She didn’t fight it, because against all the odds, she trusted him implicitly. Still, she was aware enough to hear him, his voice hoarse as he said, “Since the moment I set eyes on you in Southwatch, there’s been no one but you. Even if I’m a goddamned fool for it, there will never be anyone but you.”
You are a fool, she thought as darkness took her.
And that made two of them.


After reading ACOSF I’m realizing that I’m in need of more adult fantasy recs. I will always love YA but it’s getting to the point where I want more darkness, more sexy times, and more characters that are legitimately adults. This was the perfect book for those wanting to transition from YA to NA/Adult fantasy I think. The characters still feel on the younger side and there’s nothing so explicit as what we saw in ACOSF (too bad really, lol) but damn there was a lot of darkness in this book. A lot of angst and real world countries-at-war-and-people-are-slaughtered type problems if you know what I mean. This is my first book by Jensen and I have to say, her writing was not what I expected in an entirely good way. I sometimes make the terrible assumption that for some series that don’t have as big of an audience/ are written by authors I know nothing about, that they aren’t that great. AND THAT IS, AGAIN, TERRIBLE. Don’t make the same mistakes as me, people. Read this book. Honestly you probably could read any of her books and they would be amazing (Dark Shores I’m coming for you next).

“I don’t want to leave.” The words were a truth dug from the depths of her heart. She did not want to leave Ithicana. She did not want to leave him. She wanted to stay, to fight and sweat and bleed for him and his harsh, wild, and beautiful kingdom.

On to the characters. Lara. Ooof you stubborn ass. She reminded me a lot of Celaena Sardothian if I’m being honest. She has a lot of really great growth in this book and beyond (I’m actually halfway through #2 right now) and I enjoyed watching her realize how much of a liar her father was and how she grew to respect the Ithicanian people. Aren. You’re also a stubborn ass. But with a heart of gold. Their romance was definitely of the slow burn nature but it was perfect for this book. While both of them might have felt a glimmer of attraction and connection early on, it did take time for them to actually fall in love and I really appreciated that.

“Look at me.” She did, pressing her cheek against his hand as he reached up to cup the side of her head. “I love you,” he said, his lips grazing against hers. “And I will love you, no matter what the future brings. No matter how hard I need to fight. I will always love you.”

The plot and ending. Well, well, well. The plot of this series is an interesting one. There is some really interesting world building and I was very glad for the map to reference places throughout the book. It was a lot but because Jensen’s writing is so colorful and descriptive I never had a problem envisioning what things looked like, only where exactly they were really. I am so interested to learn more about this world and these characters and to hopefully not have my heart ruined any more than it already has been by the ending! Lol good luck to all you who haven’t read this yet. You will certainly need it!

Aren cast his gaze over the replica of his kingdom. “Ithicana has always been at war, and what do we have to show for it?”
“We’re alive. We have the bridge.”
“Don’t you think it’s time we fight for something more?”

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