The Fiery Crown carries on the legacy of The Orchid Throne, in the second installment of the Forgotten Empires series.
A desperate alliance. A struggle for survival. And a marriage of convenience with an epic twist of fate come together in Jeffe Kennedy’s The Fiery Crown.
WILL THEIR LOVE STAND THE TEST OF TIME
Queen Euthalia has reigned over her island kingdom of Calanthe with determination, grace, and her magical, undying orchid ring. After she defied an empire to wed Conrí, the former Crown Prince of Oriel―a man of disgraced origins with vengeance in his heart―Lia expected the wizard’s prophecy to come true: Claim the hand that wears the ring and the empire falls. But Lia’s dangerous bid to save her realm doesn’t lead to immediate victory. Instead, destiny hurls her and Conrí towards a future neither could predict…
OR TEAR THEIR WHOLE WORLD APART?
Con has never healed after the death of his family and destruction of his kingdom―he’s been carefully plotting his revenge against his greatest enemy, Emperor Anure, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. When Lia’s spies gather intelligence suggesting that Anure is planning an attack against Calanthe, Con faces an agonizing choice: Can he sacrifice Lia and all she holds dear to destroy the empire? Or does his true loyalty exist in the arms of his beguiling, passionate wife―’til death do they part?
The best part about this novel is that it keeps Queen Euthalia’s relationship with Conrí realistic. Their relationship is the most important dynamic of this novel because together they decide the fate of Calanthe and her people. What the author does well is create a budding romantic relationship while also keeping the tension between them due to their opposing views. The banter between the characters is frustrating but realistic, here is an example,
Con visibly dragged his snapping temper back and tried for a more rational tone of voice. “We’re in this fight together—and we can’t win if you won’t trust us with the knowledge we need to plan strategy. You agreed to this plan. Help me to help you.”
“Oh, are we trusting each other again? I lost track when you were accusing Me of lying and lecturing Me on the defense of Calanthe.”
At every turn they are bickering but they both have their own plans and loyalties. Their relationship is the perfect illustration of a conflicted romance. With everything at stake they are still willing to tear each other apart.
This book also takes a darker turn with much darker magic at play. We see Queen Euthalia endure hardships that I would’ve never imagined in the first installment. I liked this turn because it shows the depth and horror of war, a tyrant will do anything to secure victory. Aside from the brutality of her treatment this shows Euthalia’s ability to take pain and keep her loyalties. Showing her strength amended doubts that I felt towards her. I thought of her as mentally strong and a decent, though frightened, Queen, but her character has come full circle and shown her physical strength. The character development and was done very well.
The history of Calanthe and her people also becomes a more fully formed picture. Everything we have learned to this point has wrapped together, Conrí’s past and Euthalia’s past connect and we see how the past will play into the future. This has me particularly excited for the next installment. The way it’s woven together bodes well for the future of this series.
My only gripe is with the frustrating nature of the people of Calanthe. They seem to understand that their in danger but they don’t act afraid. Here is the quote that sparked that complaint,
They claimed they understood the dangers of the world beyond, admitted that their previous defenses no longer worked, and yet they wandered around their isolated paradise as if nothing could ever arrive to give them trouble.
This pulled me out of the novel a little bit because you’d think that a nation under the watchful eye of a tyrant, a tyrant they’ve just disobeyed, would be more fearful, and act fearful. Yet, they don’t. I don’t know if this is supposed to be because of the nature of life on Calanthe, but it bothered me.
I’d like to also add that in my review of the first novel I was curious as to where Jeffe Kennedy came up with the name Calanthe, I had just read one of The Witcher novels where there’s a Queen named Calanthe, and wondered if that’s where the author drew inspiration. Well, the author reached out to me and the name is actually Greek, and I thought that was really cool.
The Fiery Crown definitely keeps up the momentum from the first novel and has left me, yet again, excited for more. It earns a 4/5 stars.
Thank you to Jeffe Kennedy for allowing me access to this wonderful novel. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
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