The Orchid Throne is part fantasy, part drama, part romance, and these three components are brought together in a way that even a romance hater such as myself enjoyed. This one is not for the faint of heart, and is sure to have something in store for everyone.
We find ourselves dropped into a story of war. Conri is the former prince of a kingdom destroyed by Anure, His Emperial Majesty. Conri seeks vengeance and the desire to bring down Anure himself, a seemingly impossible task. Coincidentally, a prophesy foretells that Anure can be brought down by the abiding ring which is now worn by Queen Euthalia who is betrothed to Anure. Conri finds himself struggling to find his way to get his hands on the abiding ring. Will he take it by force? Or through a game of hearts?
What I love about this story most of all is the clashing and coming together of characters. Each character has their strengths and each character has weaknesses, everyone who is important is well rounded and thought out. I have noticed that oftentimes romance novels lack well rounded character, but not the case for this one. My favorite character is Sondra, second in command to Conri. She has a fire in her that can’t be tamed and I love it. She is brutally honest and not one to trifle with. Here is a quote about her that I love,
“Then she lifted that burning, raging gaze to mine again. “But not for despair. The bloodline of Oriel lives in you. Long live the king,””
While Sondra is sure of herself, Conri is not. I enjoy that parallel. He is kind of a bungling idiot who just happens to be an expert at combat. Conri feels very unique to me and his rapport with Queen Euthalia is magnificent, both hilarious and steamy. It was unexpected.
Mentioning Sondra and Conri, I feel I must mention Queen Euthalia. She emits such power and grace, in a way she reminds me Daenerys from Game of Thrones, she is a force to be reckoned with. I severely underestimate her in the beginning. She seems like a scared girl but after reading this quote I realize I am mistaken,
“With one last survey of the assembly, letting the moment stretch out, a small public flexing of my power—never let them forget they sit and stand with your permission—I finally lifted a hand, granting them the opportunity to rest themselves.”
She exudes power and knows how to flex it. Euthalia keeps a tight court and I find her character very admirable. Characters like hers are very important in novels. She is not evil but she knows when to crack the whip.
Kennedy nails the imagery in this novel. queen Euthalia has visions throughtout the novel and they are haunting and beautiful. The first one that caught my eye is this,
The wolf fought its chains, howling in hoarse rage, shedding fire and ash. The sea churned, bloodred and crimson dark, bones tossed in the waves, white as foam.
I can see what Euthalia sees in her visions and I can feel her fear. Not to mention that this is a beautiful foreshadowing of events to come. I also enjoy that it paints the slave king a certain way and then you are forced to see him in a different light later in the novel.
Something interesting and possibly unrelated but Queen Euthalia’s land is named Calanthe. I am currently reading The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski and a Queen in his novel is named Calanthe. I’m curious to know whether or not Kennedy drew inspiration from Sapkowski or if it’s a simple coincidence.
Another fun tidbit is the weapon in The Orchid Throne called a bagiroca. The whole time I was reading about the bagiroca, I was like what the hell is that? Well, I looked it up and it led me to an article by Jeffe Kennedy titled Where is a Weapons Dictionary when You Need One?. In short, the bagiroca is made up by Kennedy. Bag-i-roca, bag of rocks, that’s what I got from it. The article is funny and relatable so that’s why I linked it.
My only gripe is that The Orchid Throne is still a bit predictable. This makes me very sad because it is an unfortunate trope that romance novels tend to lean towards the predictable side. But, I do not want this to deter you because what it lacks in surprise it makes up for in hilarity and fun. Not all books have to twist and turn at every corner. This one is good entertainment.
I give The Orchid Throne 4/5 stars. While, it is not flawless it is a fun read and I have already recommended it to one of my friends. Romance lovers and haters alike can find something to enjoy in this novel, trust me. The Orchid Throne is out now and I’m currently reading the sequel The Fiery Crown set to release the 26th of May 2020. Check out The Orchid Throne and keep and eye out for my soon-to-be published review of The Fiery Crown. Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Jeffe Kennedy for allowing me the opportunity to read this novel.