By Susan Kaye Quinn
Paperback 336 pages
From author for review
YA Steampunk/ Alt Universe/ Romance/ DIVERSE!!!
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Goodreads- Skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue... and, of course, kissing.
The Third Daughter of the Queen wants her birthday to arrive so she'll be free to marry for love, but rumors of a new flying weapon may force her to accept a barbarian prince's proposal for a peace-brokering marriage. Desperate to marry the charming courtesan she loves, Aniri agrees to the prince's proposal as a subterfuge in order to spy on him, find the weapon, and hopefully avoid both war and an arranged marriage to a man she does not love.
Third Daughter is the first book in the The Dharian Affairs Trilogy (Third Daughter, Second Daughter, First Daughter). This steampunk-goes-to-Bollywood (Bollypunk!) romance that takes place in an east-Indian-flavored alternate world filled with skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue. And, of course, kissing.
From the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, The Dharian Affairs is a new series filled with equal doses of action-adventure and romance, meant to appeal to fans of Mindjack.
First, did you see the cover??? Did you hear the buzz??? Bollywood goes steampunk?? Finally some diversity? Well yes, I have read a little more diversity this year, but not nearly enough. (Is everyone under the age of 17 white???) So I have read Susan Kaye Quinn's Mindjack trilogy and the other novellas that went with it and in case you didn't read those reviews, I LOVED THEM!! Susan has very unique stories. Fresh ideas and great characters! This novel did not let me down! I didn't expect that it would.
Characters- YES, YES, YES!!
Aniri- Guess who? She's the Third Daughter. The first daughter is being groomed to take over their mother's place as queen. Duty filled. The second daughter is married to the heir apparent of Samir another country on the continent. Duty filled. That means on Aniri's next birthday, in 2 weeks, she will be free to live her life as she wants because no one expects anything of her. She's the wild child, the one that makes her mother worry, and her guard Janak angry with her foolish risk taking. Climbing the side of the palace, sneaking off to see her lover, waiting for the day she can seek the men that murdered her father. Aniri is a little young, so she thinks about herself, but she also knows her duty. And when she's called to do it, she knows what she has to do. Aniri is a bit reckless, thinking after acting and I cringed a few times knowing her decisions were mistakes. Happily, I was wrong sometimes! I really loved Aniri!
Ash/Prince Malik/Ashora- The barbarian prince from Jungali. This guy puts romance on the map! He reads love poems and is sappy sweet which made me fall totally in love with him. He has the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he still bothers to adhere to the formalities of court and to ask Aniri's help rather than try to force her. He is very candid. He loves his country and the people of it. And he'll do anything to have peace for his country. But he won't use Aniri. She must consent. This guy is a keeper.
Priya- This is Aniri's lady's maid. And friend. And cohort. And the one that watches out for her when Aniri isn't being careful. I like Priya. She doesn't act subservient to Aniri unless Aniri uses her royal voice and that isn't often. She doesn't seem to to mind moving to the barbarian province of Jungali but sees it as an adventure. She seems like she's always got a smile on her face.
Janak- This is the Queen's personal guard but he goes with Aniri to protect her in Jungali. His job, on orders of his Queen, is to protect Aniri and bring her home safely. He is ruksaka, the most lethal of all fighters.
The World- It's an alternate version of an India type place. I say type because I just don't know enough about India to say it's this province or city. Dharia is where the food is grown and it's warm. Samir is where technology is produced and it's across the sea. And Jungali is where metals and coal and other minerals are mined. Dharia is the most respected according to the opinion of some. We really see Jungali up close with it's lush jungle and highland mountains. The scenery is beautifully described. Unique animals inhabit the place and the people are a colorful and warm. And the technology, oh it's so unique and interesting. Actually it sounds beautiful.
The Good and the Bad- This is such a fun story! Twists and turns, never knowing who is telling the real story. Hearts broken, countries on the line, plot twists, love, romance. I would say there is a lot of romance in this one. Done very well, the kind that makes you smile and has you just waiting for them to be together. I knew right away who I wanted Aniri to be with. And yes there was a love triangle, but it was very unusual. Let's just say that Prince Malik presented a very generous marriage proposal. A couple of things didn't fit for me, the prince let Aniri go into a dangerous situation by herself. Given that he makes her walk around with six guards and Janak, it didn't ring true that he would let her do that. Also there was a pity party a couple of times on Aniri's part that bugged me. Yeah, she did some rush headlong into danger then think about it later things, but it's too late now to worry about it. And then just a couple of things that were conveniently glossed over instead of addressed. They were magically fixed. Well not magic, but were fixed with no mention of how. But man is there this awesome fight that goes on and I can't tell you where without blowing a big secret. It is amazing! And it's where Aniri finally figures out her feelings. It is one big fight scene! And bad guys, oh are the villains bad.
I loved this novel! I loved the descriptions of the people with their honeyed skin and their hair, oh would I die for hair like theirs. And those beautiful eyes. The clothes and the jewels. The people and their customs and heritage. The story line is great. The characters, love 'em flaws and all. The ending was resolved as far as most of the plot lines go, but there are definitely some intriguing stories to explore in the next book! I can't wait!
Thanks to the author for a copy of the E-ARC. This in no way affected my review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Susan Kaye Quinn