Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga
ARC received via Netgalley for a fair review.
The Forces of Darkness seem to continue to grow stronger, no matter how many battles the royal army wins. They have fought the war for 500 years, and every princess has the power to Kiss their prince to enhance their abilities, and Princess Ivy is the direct descendant to the original queen and therefore has the most powerful kiss. Because of this she must have the most powerful swordsman, Prince Zach at her side. Together their combined magic would be able to finally put an end to the war. The only problem is Zach wont Kiss Princess Ivy.
I loved the underlying concept in this book, but unfortunately the delivery just wasn’t all there for me. As the story progressed there was a lot of repetitiveness as Princess Ivy told the reader how powerful she was rather than showing. She also spent a great deal reiterating why things were, usually one chapter after a massive info dump. I felt this stunted the pacing of the book, and ultimately made it a lot longer than it needed to be.
However, the story itself was fun and I loved how much of a slow love story it was, at least on Princess Ivy’s side. There was a lot of action sequences that helped break the story up as Ivy & Zach encountered more and more dark forces.
The World Building
I had a hard time really getting into the world that this story was set in. First of all the princes and princesses were descendants of one queen and king. They are ultimately bred to have as much of the original bloodline. I’m not sure if the writer thought about this, but sounds like a LOT of incest to me, and it just made me rather uncomfortable, sure, 500 years later there’s quite a few generational lines they can choose from, but I mean, the second generation? In order for it to be a pure blood they would have had to have children with their siblings, or eww, their parent. I am probably thinking too hard on it, but it really just made me egghhh. Anyway, the entire time, Ivy kept saying that she was a Princess that was a direct descendent of Myrna, the original queen….but all of the royalty should have been a direct descendant if they held that power.
The other thing I had issues with was that the war was all encompassing around the Evil Queen’s ambitions and all the creatures she was making, which was great and all, but sometimes during the action scenes little factoids would be introduced in the moment that created conflict with the characters. To me it made for some poor writing as the information wasn’t built up ahead of time that could have been used, the information was given at the moment for convenience sake. It’s not exactly bad, but in a world where there are so many books that are set up so well, it definitely doesn’t make it stand out as far as world building goes.
On a positive note, I loved how the world had construed the belief system on love and how it tied in with familial bonds and lust. I think it helped support the use of Kisses as a fighting tool rather than a romantic gesture.
I actually really liked Ivy and Zach. I loved how they were both very headstrong in what they believed and were willing to put their lives at risk for the safety of others. At times I did find Zach to be a little full of himself and honestly, quite a tease. But that really helped the dynamic between him and Ivy really falling for each other (if you can’t predict that yourself then I am sorry for spoiling that for you, because obviously that would happen).
The Neighborhood – Stuck With Me