THE FIERY CROWN
Forgotten Empires #2
by Jeffe Kennedy
St. Martin's Press
A queen and her rebel prince turn from enemies to lovers while evil forces plot to destroy them in this lush romantic fantasy.
Following The Orchid Throne, Conri and Lia’s marriage of convenience has turned into an uneasy alliance. If only the two leaders could agree on something. Driven by revenge, Conri wants to attack Emperor Anure before the tyrant gets to them first. But Lia needs to keep Calanthe safe, and refuses to sacrifice her kingdom. Their ongoing battle for control has built up tension they’re both more than happy to release in bed, the only place where they find common ground. But Conri and Lia are developing deeper feelings for each other that are complicating matters. In the second book in the Forgotten Empires trilogy, Conri and Lia find their loyalties torn, and with Emperor Anure’s threat growing, will they be able to risk everything with each other before it’s too late?
Well written and packed with character depth, this is a fantasy romance to get lost in.
After following the words of a prophecy, which Conri hopes will stop the tyranny of the emperor, and convincing Lia to marry him, he waits for the next steps to kick in. Lia, however, has her own concerns about saving her kingdom and island, Calanthe. The two are still constantly at odds, but as the emperor now readjusts his tactics, they know the time to act is quickly approaching. Somehow, they will have to agree upon a strategy, but considering each ruins the priorities of the others, it will be impossible to find a solution. Especially since Lia has secrets she can't divulge. But then, the emperor's power far exceeds whatever Conri and Lia can bring against him. So, there might not be any hope, anyway.
After reading book one, I was looking forward to diving into this one. Conri's troubled past and raw determination make him so easy to root for, while Lia is packed full of secrets and an even warmer heart. The two mix like oil and water, which makes sparks fly, especially since they refuse to admit their growing bond. This is what really stands at the center of this book, too. And that is what makes this second books so different than the first.
While book one had Conri escaping the mines and fighting back against the Emperor along with battling his way onto Calanthe and taking Lia's hand in marriage, book two doesn't have an ounce of action until about two-thirds of the way through the book. But that doesn't mean this one is boring. Quite the contrary...at first, for me, anyway. While Conri doesn't really do much in this book except offer a great foundation and trampoline for Lia and her secrets to bounce off of, it is fun to read his constant retorts and thoughts. Without him, the book would fall flat...but he doesn't really develop much in these pages either. Lia, on the other hand, opens up slowly and allows the reader to get a better handle on what she's dealing with.
The last part of the book hits with wonderful tension and action, which leaves everything on a more exciting note. It is a lovely read and engagingly written. Those who love lots of back and forth and learning more about the characters will enjoy this one quite a bit. For those like me, however, who enjoy more plot and action...it falls a little short. I found myself skipping more than a few paragraphs during the middle third. Still, I definitely recommend this one to the audience I just named because they are sure to love it.