Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: Kingdom of Exiles
Author: Maxym M. Martineau
Series: The Beast Charmer #1
Hero/Heroine: Leena & Noc
Genre: M/M Fantasy
Length: 448 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Assassin’s Creed meets Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in this gripping, epic fantasy romance trilogy.
My heart wasn’t part of the deal when I bargained for my life,
But assassins so rarely keep their word.
Exiled Charmer Leena Edenfrell is running out of time. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts-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 Noc an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.
Plagued by a curse that kills everyone he loves, Noc agrees to Leena’s terms in hopes of finding a cure. Never mind that the dark magic binding the assassin’s oath will eventually force him to choose between Leena’s continued survival…and his own.
I was really looking forward to this novel when I read the blurb. It seemed like something that was right up my alley and I wasn’t wrong. I was honestly blown away by this one when I started reading it. I just couldn’t put it down once I started. Leena drew me in right from the start and I really enjoyed how strong a character she was. She might have been scared but she wasn’t intimidated and I adored the fact she could worm her way under all the scary assassins’ skin. It was intriguing to see how things progressed between her and Noc, especially with her having a bounty on her head and Noc being cursed.
I adored them as characters and really liked seeing how Noc struggled with having feelings for Leena but trying not to embrace the feelings because of his curse. I also really loved the whole ‘beast’ aspect of the story. It shows how strong Leena is and how dangerous she could be but also how Noc yearns to love when he’s put in situations that gives him feelings he doesn’t want to acknowledge like whenever Leena put herself in danger… which seemed to be a majority of the time she went to tame a beast. The world the author created, though, was really captivating and I loved how she described the beasts and the different situations. This author definitely has a way of writing that enthralled me from the start.
Add to that, I really liked the way this story started with Leena standing up against her ‘enemy’ which is Noc right now. I loved the progression between it just being a job to being something more between Leena and Noc. I liked the relationships that Leena developed with Noc’s men and I liked how she became part of their family and were willing to do anything to save her. Which leads me to the part I didn’t understand.
Wynn took Leena back home, where she was never allowed to return to and no one said a word about her showing back up. Now, it was mentioned that she was ‘invisible’ and being hidden and all that but when Noc came for her and she was forced right out into the spotlight, her presence was still not acknowledged until she was in the thick of things. WHY was that? And why would the Council not take action against Wynn for bringing her back? Why would they allow her on the battlefield when they exiled her and why would they have trusted her to be on their side? Also, why wouldn’t the council hand her over to Noc when he specifically stated he came there for her and would leave without a fight if they handed her over? Considering she wasn’t part of their ‘home’ anymore, it didn’t really make sense to me why they would fight for someone who they exiled and didn’t care for anymore.
Overall, though, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It drew me in right from the start and the characters really resonated with me. I loved the fact that Leena tamed beasts and enjoyed seeing the different creatures that were in this word. I also loved where the story is heading and the journey Noc and Leena went on to get where they ended. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series and hopefully finding out a bit more of Noc because he’s still a bit of an enigma. Definitely give this one a go if you’re looking for a new fantasy you can sink your teeth into.
Overall Impression: I loved it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*