Title: The Stolen Kingdom
Author: Jillian Boehme
Pub. Date: March 2, 2021
Pub: Tor Teen
Genre: YA Fantasy
For a hundred years, the once-prosperous kingdom of Perin Faye has suffered under the rule of the greedy and power-hungry Thungrave kings. Maralyth Graylaern, a vintner’s daughter, has no idea her hidden magical power is proof of a secret bloodline and claim to the throne. Alac Thungrave, the king’s second son, has always been uncomfortable with his position as the spare heir—and the dark, stolen magic that comes with ruling.
When Maralyth becomes embroiled in a plot to murder the royal family and seize the throne, a cat-and-mouse chase ensues in an adventure of dark magic, court intrigue, and forbidden love.
This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Teen for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed this book, and pretty much read it one sitting.
Overall, it’s a decent read, but I do think it falls short in some areas. The plot and premise is pretty strong, but it doesn’t have enough time to make you really feel the impacts. Everything happens so quickly in this book, and there’s very little building tension.
I feel like if this book had been maybe another 100 pages, or even another book – stretching it into a duology – it would have been more impactful.
I could see what the author was going for, but I just never really felt the weight of what was happening. And because of the quick pace, character reactions just seem too easy, too surface. They all basically take everything in stride. There’s very little fighting back.
That’s not to say that I didn’t like Maralyth, I just didn’t fully understand her motivations. She’s not without care – we see that through the way she treats the workers, her family and those in her community, but when she gets pulled into this plot to overthrow the current regime, she just goes with it.
This was the part that I didn’t really buy – especially after her wariness and urgency for people to not voice treasonous opinions.
As for Alac – he was pretty basic. I knew from the moment he met Maralyth was his arc was going to be. He didn’t really do anything for me. He’s the typical Prince who longs for a different “better” life, hates the fact that he’s royal, but lives in excess, exploiting his status. He’s pretty much all talk, and then his personality tries to do a180 and change, and I just kind of rolled my eyes. He behaves exactly how you expect him to.
Which brings me to the romance between the two of them. Again, very surface, very predictable, but really no emotional weight. I don’t really care about them. She’s different from any other girl he’s ever met, and he’s her mark. While it was sweet and cute at times, nothing really had me rooting for them.
This book wasn’t terrible, it made for a quick, enjoyable read. I think the author had grand ideas and wanted to shove as much into this book as possible, to cater to as many as possible, and you’re just kind of left bereft and wanting more.
So, if you’re looking for a quick, enjoyable and predictable fantasy read that will just allow you to escape for a little bit, then this is the perfect book. It’ll transport you to a world with drama and court intrigue, stolen magic, stolen moments, a teasing friendship, a curse and the lengths one will go to, to save the world – all with a backdrop of wine and vineyards.