Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of publication: June 25th, 2019
Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Series: The Beast Charmer
Kingdom of Exiles—book 1
Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin’s Creed in this epic, gripping fantasy romance from debut author Maxym M. Martineau.
Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep trouble. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts on the black market—an offense punishable by death—and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.
If only it were that simple. Unbeknownst to Leena, the undying ones are bound by magic to complete their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood of assassins…not even to save the woman he can no longer live without.
Leena was exiled from her Charmer home. Leena needed to make ends meet and to do so; she started selling off her animals on the black market. That is an offense punishable by death. So she wasn’t surprised when an assassin showed up. After beating the assassin, Leena forces him to take her to the guildhouse. It is there, Leena makes a deal with the guild master of the Cruor, Noc. 4 magical beasts in exchange for her life. What Leena doesn’t know is that there is no way for a Cruor assassin to back out of a contract. While Noc says yes, he knows that in the end, he will have to kill Leena and collect the bounty. But, it soon becomes hard for Noc to consider killing Leena. Enough doubt has been raised about the contract and if it is justified. Will Noc be able to do the unthinkable and break the contract? Or will everything end with Leena being killed?
What drew me to Kingdom of Exiles was the blurb. As soon as I caught sight of the words Fantastic Beasts and Assassin’s Creed. I knew that I needed to read this book. I am a huge Harry Potter and Assassin’s Creed fan, and I was interested in seeing how the author was going to combine those them together. I wasn’t let down. I do want to add in that I also caught glimpses of Pokemon in this novel too. Not in how the beasts were caught but in the battle scenes.
There are three major and several secondary plotlines in Kingdom of Exiles. The first plotline focuses on Leena, her beasts and the reason why she was exiled from the Charmers. The second plot line focuses on Noc, the Cruors, and Leena’s contract. The third plotline focuses on Leena, Noc, and their relationship.
I liked all the main storylines. They were all well written. When the author did chose to bring them together, she was able to do it without interrupting any of the storylines. There were also no dropped storylines.
The secondary storylines were well written. I did think that there was a dropped storyline towards the end of the book. It made me a little aggravated because I wanted to know what happened to a particular character. But, it was brought back up at the end of the book. Which makes me wonder if that is going to be the main storyline for the next book.
Like the plotlines, I thought that the main characters were well written. Now, I will say that both characters a little off put me at the beginning of the book. They both came off as cold people. But as the book went on and I got to know both characters, my opinion of them changed. Their character development featured in my change of opinion.
Like I mentioned above, I didn’t like Leena when I started reading Kingdom of Exiles. She came across as aloof and uncaring. The scene with the buyer of the Gyss is an excellent example. But, then something remarkable happened. That first impression got turned around. My disinterest and disdain for her got turned around into me being invested and admiring her. I can count on one hand how many times that has happened.
Leena was also one of the strongest female characters that I have read to date. She went through a lot in the book, and she didn’t let it beat her down. She learned from those experiences. I loved it!!
Again, as I mentioned above, I didn’t like Noc when I started reading the book. He was cold and aloof. Take any of his scenes at the beginning of the book. Then, as the book went on, the explanations began. By the middle of the book, I understood why Noc had those walls up. He was afraid of his curse. He couldn’t show emotion or his curse would start up. But, like Leena, my first impression got turned around. By the end of the book, I loved him.
Speaking of Noc’s curse, I would have loved to know why the high priestess cursed him. Also, I would have loved to have known who he was before he was resurrected. There were hints but nothing confirmed. Drove me nuts because I have a few ideas of who he was, but nothing confirmed it.
The secondary characters were as well written as the main characters. I loved it. I felt that I got to know Kost, Ozias, and Calem as well as Noc and Leena. I can’t wait to see what book two holds for the secondary characters. I am hoping that the book focuses on either Calem or Oz. They were my two favorites in the book.
The bad guys in the book had my attention from the get-go. Wynn gave me chills. He believed what he was doing was the right, and that was frightening to me. What he subjected Leena to when he held her captive was heartbreaking. Ravenwas an enigma. I had questions that weren’t answered in this book. The most important issue was why? Why did she set those events in motion? I was frustrated by the lack of answers, but I have a feeling that they will be answered in the next book.
Kingdom of Exiles was a great fit in the fantasy genre. Leena’s Charmer abilities alone could have fueled a book. As well as Noc’s curse and his powers. I did find it creepy that he could make daggers out of the shadows.
Kingdom of Exiles was also a great fit in the romance genre. Noc and Leena’s instant attraction had my pulse racing. The back and forth dance that they did was hot. By the time they had sex, it was earth-shattering. I had to put my Kindle down and fan myself; it was that hot. My only complaint about the sex scenes was the use of crease of Leena’s vagina. Once, yes. But every single time, no. It got to the point where I started laughing when Noc was fingerbanging/eating her out, and crease was used.
There was also the point of the Kost/Noc/Leena semi-love triangle. I use semi because Noc didn’t reciprocate Kost’s feelings. But it was set up that way. I loved that the author had an LGBT representation in the book. I do wish that Kost’s sexual preference was made more clear towards the beginning. Because up until that scene with Leena, he came across as kind of a douche canoe. I also loved how Noc handled finding out about Kost’s feelings for him. It was done in such a classy way that I couldn’t help but say to myself “This is how it should be done in real life!!!” I am also eager to see Kost find love. There was a hint of something at the end of the book. Something that I can’t wait to see if the author explores or not.
The end of Kingdom of Exiles was excellent. I also had so many questions about what was going to happen and no answers. The epilogue held the most questions for me. Because of what happened to Noc at the end. What will that mean for him and Leena? I can’t wait to find out.
I would give Kingdom of Exiles an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I would reread Kingdom of Exiles. I would also reccomend this book to family and friends.
I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review Kingdom of Exiles.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**
Have you read Kingdom of Exiles?
What are your thoughts?
Let me know!!