The Engineered Throne, by Megan Derr
Series: Unbreakable Soldiers, Book #1
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: November 13, 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Lord Vellem is desperate to escape. His father hides from his problems in alcohol, his mother hides from her misery in drugs, and his brother fled to the relative safety of the royal palace. Vellem found solace in the Royal Army Corp of Engineers, but true escape from a life of violence remains out of reach.
Then his brother provides him with an unexpected chance: marriage to a prince of their country’s oldest enemy to help bring about peace once and for all. The marriage promises Vellem not just a fresh start in a new land, but a challenge to his famed skills in building roads and bridges.
But before he can settle into his new life, tragedy strikes, and Vellem isn’t certain he’s up to rebuilding the ruin left in its wake.
Content Warnings for:
Death of Secondary Characters
Domestic Abuse (Off-Page)
Several Mentions and Small-ish Descriptions of Past Child Abuse
Now, first things first: OMG THAT CUTE AND ADORBS DRAGON. ALL THE HEART EYES. I WANTS IT. Ahhhhhhhh. Seriously, though, this book has the best dragon I’ve ever read about. He’s still a small one, and he’s so quirky and knows exactly what he wants—which is Vellem as his friend—and he cuddles and is territorial. I love him so much, and if there is a thing I have to complain about in this book, it is that there could be more of him. When he appeared the first time my whole face—stricke that, my whole being—came alive with joy. As you can see, I’m still very much in love with him.
Now that this is out of the way, The Engineered Throne is simply all you could hope for in a romantic high fantasy. As my kinda-excessive tags for this book show, there is war between kingdoms and, um, all kinds of violence with regard to it, if that’s your thing; there’s intrigue and betrayal, and there’s an arranged marriage mixed into all of this. The romance definitely plays an important role, but it only becomes more prominent in the second half of the book, and one could say that it rather complements the rest of the story than being the focus of it. I didn’t mind that at all and really enjoyed spending so much time with Vellem, the protagonist from whose point of view the story is told.
As I’ve come to enjoy in the author’s books before, I like that there is so much banter and humour in all the interactions and way less formality than you usually encounter in high fantasy. I find that so refreshing and way more fun. There are a few very well fleshed out secondary characters who contribute to the story and I look very much forward to the next books (The Painted Crown is coming out November 15). Actually, I cannot wait. Although I fear, there will be less of my dragon. *pouts*
Where was I? Anyway, Vellem is a very likeable character and I had a great time reading his story. He is accessible, honest and smart, but also a little insecure, and he and Perdith both need to work on their communication skills. But, under the circumstances of the very unideal start of their relationship and all that is going on in the kingdom, I really think that it’s very realistic and not some unnecessarily added angst, which is not my thing at all. Honestly, their romance thing is not anything close to smooth, and man, I was really cross with Perdith at one point, but whenever they connect, it is really lovely and charming and those kisses and… *sigh* Yeah, I really liked that.
What I didn’t like, however, is the less stellar proofing in this book. There were words missing or wrong words in the wrong places, to the extent that it took me out of the story and I had to figure out what I was reading a few times. This book could have easily been a 4.5 star read, but since I couldn’t ignore it while reading, I can’t ignore this for my rating.
Nevertheless, I recommend this book, because it is great and, wait for it, has the best dragon 😉 Enjoy!
Writing and reading are my life. I’m pretty equal opportunity, there is very little I do not like to read. But, I think it’s safe to say that romance and fantasy are my primary stomping grounds :3 I love writing slash, it works for me in a way that writing other things never did. Past that, I’m all over the board – fantasy, supernatural, contemporary, space operas, you name it.
If you need/want to reach me, email is your best bet (doesn’t matter which), but I’ll respond anywhere as long as I see it. I can be slow to reply to emails, fair warning. I get a lot of them and stuff gets buried fast. But I will eventually reply, and by all means harass me if I do not reply quickly enough.