Kingdom of Exiles
By Maxym M. Martineau
Published June 2019 by Sourcebooks
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.
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You know those books you start reading and within a page or two you already know it’s going to be an amazing read?
That’s exactly what happened with Kingdom of Exiles for me. Two pages in, I was utterly hooked.
Leena is a beast charmer. She can charm beasts and because she needs a way to live since being exiled, she sells them on the black market.
As we enter the story, Leena has realized that she’s being hunted, and she takes a chance by demanding her assassin bring her to their headquarters and makes a bargain with Noc, the leader, in exchange for removing the bounty on her head.
Noc agrees to Leena’s deal, because he has his own secret he’s hoping he can resolve. He’s cursed, and anyone he loves falls ill and eventually dies. Only one other person knows of this curse, and Noc does well to keep it hidden and to keep his feelings in check so he doesn’t hurt anyone.
The story varies between Noc and Leena’s point of view, and I liked that we could see both sides as they try to navigate their blossoming relationship with one another.
The beasts themselves were described so amazingly, I felt like I could really see them and understand their powers throughout the story. And Leena’s connection to them was beautiful. I could really feel her love for them shining through this book.
I will say, I was really torn on whether this was a young adult book or not. It definitely feels like there’s some elements of it being an adult fantasy book, but then it could also pass as young adult. The cover design also lead me to originally believe this was young adult.
I definitely found myself swept up in the Leena/Noc romance, and wondering how this was all going to play out with Noc’s unfortunate curse.
So, here’s where I knocked a star off from a five star to a four star read. A lot of the problems presented in the story were resolved, and I’m left wondering what will be in the second book. That said, I enjoyed this book so much that I’m totally looking forward to seeing where this story will go in the second book.