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Genre: Young Adult | High Fantasy | Fake Relationship | Friends-to-Lovers | Royalty | Villainous
Motivation: The Bookie Trials Royal Weekender
Read Count: 1
My Rating: 4.5 stars!
Description: Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:
1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.
No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.
But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?
I’ve wanted to read this one ever since I’ve first heard about it. Alessandra sounded like a badass – with wanting to woo, marry and then kill the Shadow King. It’s quite literally a real-life version of Kiss, Marry, Kill … but as a to-do list all with one person!
The thing is… Alessandra was a freaking badass, she just used her mind to deceive and scheme instead of running headfirst into trouble. She wasn’t some gold digger, she was perfectly willing to get her hands dirty with blackmail, her dagger or any other means necessary to complete her goals. She isn’t a nice person, at all, and only cares for her own self-interest. If she doesn’t want to hear what you have to say, she’ll just walk away. If she doesn’t like you, she won’t talk to you. If you write her a note, she’ll skip to the bottom then throw it away. She is a Queen, but she is also a kind and loyal person, for her friends. She genuinely cares for her friends and for Kallias, just not anyone else.
The thing that I thought was super cool about Alessandra, is she may have been actively trying to get the attention of The Shadow King, she never deviates from being herself. She wants get rid of him and rule the kingdom, so that she can finally do what she wants and get the acknowledgement she wants. But she wouldn’t do anything but do it being herself, no facade, which I thought was awesome. I also loved hearing about her fashion! She designed most of the clothes she wore for her stay at the palace and it was just so much fun to hear about :)
My ultimate task is difficult. I have to have the appearance of courting the king,
but I also have to appear to Kallias as though I only want to be friends. All while actually trying to get him to fall in love with me. It’s such a fine line to walk.
I’m keeping this as non-spoilery as I can, so I’m going to avoid talking about the deal with Kallias, the Shadow King, too much. But the big deal his: he can’t be touched, it’s against the law. So my boy was pretty lonely and he broke my heart sometimes. As the ruler of 6/9 of the continents in this world – with plans to invade the other three – he’s a powerful man, added to his status as the Shadow King and the powers that come with that. But with such limited human interaction, he was like a puppy at times being social and interacting with Alessandra – he was so adorable!! Especially when it came to Alessandra.
This friends-to-lovers was an exploration, which is part of why I loved them so much. Alessandra was in it for him to fall for her, but it was pretty clear that she genuinely cared in some capacity about him almost from the beginning. Even as she hungered (and schemed) for more, she held her friendship for him to a high standard. It’s like if Celaena dated Dorian, but Dorian was actually Valek from Poison Study, an amazing book that you’d love if you enjoyed this one (and vice versa)! Alessandra reminded me of Celaena, but really she’s more like Nesta, doing everything with her mind and not afraid to hiss in your face. Watching them circle each other with the bantering and honest compliments made to make the other unnerved only ratcheted up the sizzle and was !!! The fake relationship only added to the frustration, as it tends to do.
“Alessandra Stathos, that’s positively despicable.” He says the words like they’re the highest compliment he can give me.
“You are an absolute gem, do you know that?”
But the thing was… they couldn’t touch. So even when they both were feeling the feels and attraction for each other, and recognizing that in each other, there was no touching, which let the author get pretty creative. There was no lock of hair he could tuck behind her ear, cheekbone to caress or knee to clasp, but still, the attraction between them sizzled.
These two morally questionable, murder-prone lovers genuinely made the other person happy, even when they couldn’t touch, which was really cool to witness. I was there for their journey and was so invested in their emotions, even when they fought them away. Not to mention… the first line sent me into hysterics. I had to take a literal pause, full stop, before I continued. I love books with fearsome, tricky, deceptive heroines and Alessandra didn’t disappoint – I knew I was going to like this one from the beginning, and I’m glad to see that I was correct ✨
I was absolutely giddy and vibrating with happiness while I was reading this. I kept laughing and talking to myself about the plot, wishing I had someone to call who’d read this and could understand my emotion-fueled, wordless sounds that kept escaping. I fell deep in this story, which I read in one sitting, and was absolutely enthralled by them. It should give me a pause that I’m attracted to such murderous, devious, deceitful books, but honestly, I regret nothing <3
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What’s a popular new release out that you really want to read but haven’t yet? Have you read this one? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!