Monday, February 6, 2023

Today's read... The Last Lion of Karkov by Dale Griffin

I've always had a soft-spot for reads with history or historical flair. Today's read is said to carry a bit of both. Written by an author, who let himself be inspired by European history, this tale surrounds the destiny of a kingdom, where twin daughters are about to break the long tradition of having a male heir to the throne. It's a bit on the longer side (over 500 pages), but I do find the blurb very interesting. Plus, the reviews it has garnered have been good.

So, dig out that blanket because this one needs a long snuggle to get through.

by Dale Griffin
Young Adult Historical Fantasy

MARCH 14th!!!

Raised in Karkov, a military, male-dominant kingdom, twins Natalia and Jillian know nothing but battle. When Jillian emerges as the dominant twin and apparent heir to the throne, Natalia, the softer and more diplomatic sister, ceases her military training. As Natalia prepares to marry the prince of her father’s favored Western ally, Jillian is set to become the first woman Lion of Karkov. But things don’t go as planned when the older generation of warriors values her womb over her sword. Suddenly, the role Jillian has fought for all her life is slipping through her fingers…and she’s not about to let it go without a fight.

At first, Jillian wants to destroy the young male warrior that the older generation favors. But soon, the two begin to fall for each other, and dark secrets behind Karkov’s past come to light. Now, Jillian finds herself in the unthinkable position of defending her former rival…and defying her father. Her defiance inspires a younger generation of warriors, who dub her the Lioness of Karkov.

Furious, her father ousts Jillian and the warriors who swore allegiance to her, setting in motion a chain of events that will disrupt everything he swore to protect. As innocent lands suffer invasion, greedy monarchies fall to revolution, and the wedding of the century threatens to live up to its name, Jillian and Natalia must reckon with the consequences of love and war. When four nations converge on a battlefield, one sister must decide whether to embrace the life she always wanted—or stand up for the destiny that was never meant for her.



Kingdoms, traditions, power plays and war create a strong backdrop for this engaging tale about a pair of twins and their destiny to rule the kingdom.

Karkov has always been ruled by men, but when the current king can't bear to kill off his twin girls and attempt to have a male heir, instead, the upcoming chaos is set. Jillian and Natalia are as different as can be. Jillian, the first born and future heir, is a strong warrior and refuses to let anyone speak against her. Natalia is quiet and kind, and destined to marry. And they love each other fiercely. When Jillian's fate takes an unexpected turn, and she falls in love with a person she cannot, the already divided kingdom is severed. The lands surrounding them have waited for this moment to strengthen their own positions. Now, Jillian and Natalia must find a way to save their father's kingdom and themselves.

I was excited to get lost in this read and enjoyed the plunge. Jillian and Natalia are characters to root for. Their sisterly bond is beyond inspirational, and both have a heart of gold. The world around them is unforgiving and holds extremely high-expectations. Add the constant jeering for power as kingdoms and lands often see, and the two have a huge task on their plates. Especially since their own warrior nation is not 100% in favor of having a female ruler. But it goes beyond this as Jillian and Natalia also learn to discover their own true desires and who they really are...not who they've been brought up to be. So, there's a wonderful coming-of-age involved as well.

The plot is very well laid, holding many twists and turns, tension, and inner conflict. There are wars and emotions, and even romance. It's this rich plot building, which makes this read intriguing. The writing itself is often dialogue driven and moves along at a very good pace. It took me quite awhile to really sink into the style, since it's lighter on descriptions and doesn't build up a rich world on the senses end. I'd almost say it felt choppy or superficial, but that's not it. The writing flows and is solid, just not my usual thing. The characters are endearing, and the scenes are engaging. I do recommend this one to fans of tales with historical flair (although not based in fact) because this one is well done and holds a story, which is hard to forget.

No comments: