Title: Kiss of the Royal
Author: Lindsey Duga
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Pub date: July 3rd 2018
‘Princess Ivy has one goal—end the war against the Forces of Darkness.
Ivy’s magic is more powerful than any other Royal’s, but she needs a battle partner who can help her harness it. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword should make them an unstoppable pair—if only they could agree on…well, just about anything.
But Ivy’s magic can only fully unlock with Zach’s help, and he’s not exactly cooperating.
Zach believes Ivy’s magic is dangerous. Ivy believes they’ll never win the war without it. Two warriors, one goal, and the fate of their world on the line. But the more they argue, the more they fall for each other. And only one of them can be right…’
I very much enjoyed Kiss of the Royal. The world and the mechanics of the magic exploited in the novel are unique enough to set it apart from other fantasy YA books and, though it shares some of the same common features of narrative, it never felt as if the story were surrendering to tropes, despite the somewhat predictable turn as regards the romantic component.
I love novels that frequently reference a world’s history, myths and legends, so that such a large part of the narrative hinged on how history has been retold and retold – and so morphed along the way – was one of the main factors that kept me reading. That I had multiple theories as to the ‘truth’ of things along the way and still didn’t get it exactly right was something I was glad of and kept the story from feeling cliché. Though frequently referenced as powerful, Ivy doesn’t read as overpowered and able to take on the world alone – and is in-fact shown just how she shouldn’t several times before the story is over. Her faults and flaws keep her relatable and her vulnerabilities keep the reader rooting for her. Her moments of arrogance are balanced by what is revealed of her personal life and what drives and has built her.
At first, Zach felt like something of a weaker link, but as more and more of his story is revealed, he becomes a much more well-rounded character. Given how other characters react to him at first, that the reader may have a similar reaction may well be intentional. It’s nice to see a male lead who isn’t out to seduce his love interest because he immediately finds himself attracted to them and refreshing to see facets of both characters that keep their relationship from becoming a sudden and unbelievable romance.
On the whole, I think the novel is well-paced, though the ending felt rather rushed. I would have liked the final scenes of the main narrative to be a little longer and not quite as easily wrapped up as it seemed, but that might be because I wanted the book to go on for longer! Overall, Kiss of the Royal is an enjoyable read with many charming elements to the narrative. It seems that it’s a stand-alone novel, but I wish there were more!
I received an ARC of Kiss of the Royal from NetGalley and the publisher.