Review: Glorious Day by Skye Kilaen

Review: Glorious Day by Skye Kilaen

‘The bodyguard is a traitor. The princess is her one true love. And the revolution is almost here.

Elsenna Hazen left spaceport security and ended up a royal bodyguard. She should have known better than to fall in love with a princess.

It’s been two years since one ill-advised kiss in the garden pulled them apart. With uprisings in the streets, the nervous princess transfers Elsenna back into her service. Her Highness has no idea Elsenna is leaking data to the revolutionaries bent on overthrowing the princess’s oppressive father.

Now Elsenna wakes up each day wondering what will happen first: her own execution, or that of the woman she could never stop loving. When rebel attacks escalate and the king plans retaliation, Elsenna discovers that the fights for her love and her life are one and the same.’

I really enjoyed Glorious Day and would happily have read much more about the characters, though the structure and pacing of the novella are good and construct a clear universe, politics and relationships over the course of its pages. One of the things I found most interesting was how the princess has tried to learn how to navigate the politics in a world that only wants her to hear one version of events and to support her father’s regime without question, and while she demonstrates quick understanding of how she needs to respond to what she hears and has a plan of how to proceed, her naivety regarding what might follow after is an effective contrast, demonstrating the extent of what has been kept from her.

Elsenna’s response to what happens to her is portrayed sensitively and realistically, particularly in the sense that it isn’t brushed over on the way to everything simply going back to normal. She struggles with the choices she has made and the impact she has had on people’s lives, and while there are things she wants to survive for, she doesn’t shy away from acknowledging and believing that she doesn’t necessarily deserve it in the eyes of others, and doesn’t look for loopholes so that she might be judged differently. I’ve read many stories with situations of a similar nature, in which someone with a connection to a powerful figure is inevitably pardoned or forgiven (or rewarded), and it was good to see that Glorious Day didn’t follow this trope and instead lets us see Elsenna work through learning to live with her decisions and what her life has become on her own terms, without it being swept out of sight.

I especially loved the commentary about the name of the princess and where the diminutive that the reader eventually learns comes from. All in all, the novella is a beautiful glimpse of another world and an unflinching look at the mental and physical impact of trauma, through not only Elsenna, but the princess and others in the cast of characters. I’ve deliberately avoided using the name(s) of the princess in this review, both because finding out what Elsenna calls her was one of my favourite parts, and an avoidance of using her true name is a feature of the narrative.

Glorious Day is out on August 3rd from NineStar Press!

I received a digital ARC from Netgalley and the publisher.

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