Fantasy Romance with Magical Beasties | BookishFirst

Fantasy Romance with Magical Beasties

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**Review can be found at https://smadasbooksmack.blogspot.com/ **

Leena has been living life on the outskirts since she was banned from the Charmer's society for a crime she did not commit, surviving by selling her beasts illegally. When she is attacked by an assassin and manages to best him, she uses the opportunity to make a deal with the assassin's guild- she will capture four beasts for them in return for the contract for her life to be destroyed. But little does she know, the contract on her life can't be broken, and the same guy she is crushing on, Nox the leader of the assassin's guild, will be the one to end her life.

The world building was awesome, hands down my favorite part of the story. This was very much a mix of fantasy meets Fantastic Beasts with just a touch of Pokemon thrown in. The fantasy was shown in the world crafting in general, and I feel a little like the world building is just starting, with so much left unsaid. There were Charmers who had a magic all their own and could lure and capture beasts. There were super cool undead assassins, who were brought back to life to become part of the shadows and become the elite killers. And then their was a Kingdom with an evil ruler that was only hinted at and completely piqued my interest- I hope there is more to come in the next book! Kingdom of Exiles was like Fantastic Beasts with a girl who keeps/saves creatures in a magical book she wears as a necklace and she can travel into the world that magically alters to fit the needs of the creature she brings back- and she can bring guests to visit too. And the book was a little like Pokemon since the beasts need to be battled and captured, but may escape if you are not strong enough, and you can trade them. Hands down, the coolest world I have seen recently with all these random pieces interwoven.

There was WAY more angst than I expected in this story(and more than I usually care for), and most of that was due to Nox. Ok, to be perfectly honest, I was not a fan of Nox in general (I loved Leena and the other assassin side characters, they were all great). I do not want to give too much away, but Nox is cursed, and those that he develops any kind of feelings for will suffer- which is the excuse for his behavior. He had so much back and forth with his emotions and wants, he is overly friendly and then completely standoffish, basically giving me and Leena emotional whiplash. I just wanted him to figure his stuff out and do it already instead of playing with everyone's feelings. Maybe he will get his life together in the next book, for purely selfish reasons, because I can't continue with him this way. On a positive note, he was a pretty good leader and made sure his people were well taken care of. Also, his sexuality seems to be fluid and he has had past romantic relationships with both genders which makes for an interesting dynamic (especially with a certain strict underling).

Overall this was action packed and pretty enjoyable, high on the action and fantasy elements and pretty low on the romance for a "paranormal romance". This is the first in a trilogy and I will 100% for sure pick up the next two books to see how everything will play out.