[A quick note: This was my first Elise Kova book. I’ve seen her books around and been curious about them. This did not disappoint. This edition came in my December Fae Crate. How gorgeous is the naked cover? Absolutely stunning. I decided to read it over Valentine’s weekend because I wanted a happily ever after romance. This was PERFECT.]
“𝐈’𝐯𝐞 𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐚 𝐜𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚 𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐈 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐈 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐝.”—Elise Kova
Every one hundred years, the elf king comes to Luellea’s village to take a wife. It is a mark of death, but necessary to uphold the treaty and maintain peace. Luella has dedicated her life to herbology. She is the town’s only healer. But when the elf king comes to collect her, she must leave everything behind. The elf king’s kingdom is dying. Luella is torn between her duty for her people and saving the elf king’s kingdom. She never expected the swelling passion that comes between everything.
This stand alone was everything I love in a fantasy romance! I ADORED it. It had Uprooted, Spinning Silver, and ACOTAR vibes. It also reminded me a lot of The Hollow Kingdom. All of which are all-time favorites. I love enemies-to-lovers. So I devoured this in two sittings. While it felt like a story I’ve read before, obviously, there were fresh elements with the magic that made it unique. I could NOT put it down. I loved Luella’s sense of duty, her internal conflict, and the romantic development between her and the elf king. Plus the spice level was exactly where I like it for romances of this type.
“𝐇𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧 𝐚 𝐧𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐠𝐢𝐜 𝐬𝐨𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐰𝐚𝐲. 𝐈𝐭’𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐬𝐮𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐫 𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐈 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐭 𝐦𝐲 𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐫𝐨𝐨𝐦. 𝐈𝐭 𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐭𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐲 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞, 𝐲𝐞𝐭 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐈 𝐜𝐚𝐧’𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫.”
Luella is a strong character. She’s a fighter. She’s learned to be independent. She’s made a life and a career for herself. She is a crutial part of her village. People rely on her. She’s got a deep sense of duty. These things make her VERY relatable. When she gets taken beyond the Fade and into the elf kingdom, it challenges everything. But she’s the perfect person to challenge the elf king. She’s not someone who accepts what is happening. In the end, she’s the one who cracks the elf king’s frozen heart.
Who doesn’t like a story like that?
The magic was interesting. Every one hundred years, a magic-born human woman is taken to be the Human Queen in the elf kingdom. She must sit on a throne that leaches her power from her to feed the elf world, to keep the seasons moving. Otherwise it is perpetual winter, food doesn’t grow, the people starve and die. So the Human Queen is critical. However, the magic is growing weaker with each passing queen. And Luella is the right person to break the cycle. Using her knowledge of herbology and her intellect, she makes a deal with the elf king and embarks on a path to save the elf kingdom. In so doing, she will then have the freedom to return home to her old life. She won’t be needed as the Human Queen. Everyone can live happily ever after...right?
Luella and the elf king are falling for each other. Hard. Maybe she won’t be content to go back to her home after all? Perhaps love wins out? You’ll have to read it yourself to find out.
The plot was perfectly executed. The writing was lovely, with the right vibes for the type of magic Luella possesses. It was a simpler story, but the perfect level of complexity for a stand alone book. There isn’t anything I would have changed or improved upon. The story did exactly what it intended.
Even though I knew this was a happily-ever-after and basically knew how it would end, I STILL devoured it. It was sweet. I couldn’t get enough of Luella and Eldas. And when it ended, I was SO BUMMED to say goodbye to the characters. I cannot wait to read the next books in the series even though they will be with different characters. I know I’ll like them just as much. 𝗠𝗬 𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚: 𝟱/𝟱⭐️