The Seeds of Power is the first book in the Elan Intrigues series. A romantic fantasy, the story centers around Christal, a twenty-eight-year-old princess who balks at the idea of marriage. Seeing is as a death sentence, she is shocked when her father promises her to a vain and vacuous prince.
Prince Daire is young, impetuous, and vapid – the exact opposite of Christal. In fact, she has more in common with Kiran, a farmer-turned-knight. He is loyal, smart, and true. However, there is a reason Prince Daire, or rather his mother, wants to marry Christal. Christal suspects they need her horticulture skills as there are rumors of trouble in the kingdom. Christal does not want to be a pawn in another power-hungry game. She must decide if she should give in to an unwanted, loveless marriage in order to avoid the wrath of her parents and her future evil mother-in-law. She must also face the fact that she doesn’t have any other alternatives, despite what her heart says. Or does she?
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One of the strengths of the novel is the engrossing writing style. Wood has a way of describing people and events that easily immerses you in the story.
Her description of Daire, for example, is biting and beautiful:
“Daire Edevald put Christal in mind of a linden sapling: handsome and limber but requiring the richest soil to feed its vigorous growth while offering nothing in return but pleasant shade and fragrant blossoms.“
Her richly poetic way of describing people paints a vivid picture of the character.
My favorite character is Christal. She is atypical of royalty and more interested in botany than royal court. She is thoughtful, sincere, and strong-willed. She loves deeply and has strong relationships with her people.
It’s shocking how humble and kind Christal is considering her parents are terrible, power-hungry leaders. Her mother is shrewd and manipulative, willing to sacrifice two daughters to a terrible fate for her own selfish gain.
Look at what her mother says when trying to convince Cristal to enter into marriage:
“You already cost me a daughter. Will you do your duty this time, or will you send your dead sister’s child in your stead?“
Nothing like using shame, guilt and manipulation to get what you want, mom. Christal’s father sees her as nothing more than a pawn and political ploy as well. These were characters that I loved to hate throughout the book! (Believe me, they made it easy!)
And in the midst of being pressured into an unwanted marriage, and of being treated shabbily by her heartless parents, Christal still thinks of helping and protecting others. She looks for ways to end blight issues with local farmers, and she makes arrangements to ensure her niece’s safety. It’s as if her parents’ selfishness and greed influenced her kindness and selflessness.
Of course, I have to talk about the slow-burning romance between Christal and Kiran. I love their chemistry from the start, and I think think that the way in which Kiran treats Christal stands in stark contrast to the way other men treat her. He is impressed by her intellect, her skill, and her wisdom. He sees her as an equal, and he treats her as such.
There is so much about Kiran’s character that I like: He is honest, loyal, and smart. He loves his family, and he doesn’t like to see people maltreated. He seeks justice and fairness, and is selfless. But my favorite thing about Kiran is how he feels about Christal:
“You would be a true partner to a man, not a dependent. A wife for a lifetime. So much more than a body to warm the bed, a mother to a brood, or a rich dowry.”
Just so you know, that’s the exact point in the book where I swooned. 😉
Overall, this is a well developed, slow-burning romantic fantasy with excellent character development and a strong and unique protagonist. It is an excellent start to what promises to be a great series!
- The author’s beautiful writing style. Some of her lines are amazingly vivid and poetic.
- The relationship between Christal and Kiran. They have like minds and an easy banter.
- The excellent character development.
Readers of young adult historical fantasy will enjoy this book. Also, if you like series with strong women and knights in well-worn armor, then this is the book for you. 🙂
Thanks to Book Sirens for the free copy of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.