About the Book:
Title: When a Princess Proposes
Author: Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: Embraced by Magic
Page Length: 336
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Publisher: Kensington Books
Synopsis: Aerthlan’s five Embraced queens have reigned for twenty years, in peace secured by the power of their magic. But now a new and insidious threat has appeared, to test a new generation.
DESIRE AND DECEPTION
All Princess Eviana needs is an escape. Possessed of an unfortunate and unusual Embraced gift, which she’s been banned from using, she required no training. Now, her overprotective parents want her to wed. As a result, the palace is crammed with obnoxious noblemen. . . . Until Quentin, the enigmatic eagle shifter and royal spy, maneuvers several of the unsuitable suitors into revealing their most embarrassing secrets before the court. Finally, Eviana has an excuse to free herself. If only her family knew the blow that’s shaken her: golden-eyed Quentin’s refusal to let her near . . .
Heroic, but low born, Quentin’s infatuation with Eviana is as inappropriate as it is unshakable. He must keep away from her, for his own sake. But after a series of suspicious deaths, and the princess’s narrow escape from kidnapping, Quentin knows that only together can they expose the danger stalking Aerthlan’s Embraced. On foot, in disguise, they’ll need trust and quick wits to uncover the vicious conspiracy closing around them. But finding the truth might break down their own defenses as well . . .
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I was so excited to learn that Kerrelyn Sparks was adding to the world of the Embraced and jumped at the chance to read an advanced copy of the newest book When a Princess Proposes. The series continues with the children of the Embraced fighting against new enemies and old grudges. Twenty years have passed since the conclusion of the last book, and the leaders have ruled a peaceful land. However, a new threat is exposed when the Embraced begin to die under unusual circumstances.
Princess Eviana has been sheltered and overprotected since she gained her powers, which are kept hidden. Isolated and raised to fear her power, Eviana longs for freedom. Quentin is an Embraced spy who has the ability to shift into an eagle. He has loved Princess Eviana for years but is not of noble birth and feels unworthy. Can he keep his feelings in check when he and Eviana, along with two others, travel and work together to find out who is targeting their kind?
I loved Eviana and Quentin. They are such layered and interesting characters, and I found both of their stories compelling. Though their lives were very different, they share many of the same feelings about their circumstances. However, their personalities are very different, and there are definite grumpy/sunshine vibes between the two. Eviana is so optimistic, extroverted, and expressive. Quentin is quiet, brooding, and solitary. They seem like opposites, but for some reason, they work.
The romance between Aviana and Quentin is slow-building, high angst, and filled with chemistry. The banter between this pair is fabulous. They have so many great conversations, some funny and teasing, and others serious, intimate, and vulnerable, and their love story is fantastic. Of course, their budding relationship is not without its obstacles, both internal and external, especially when it comes to Quentin’s doubt and feelings of unworthiness. I like that Aviana takes charge and fights for what she wants and shows Quentin just how worthy he is. There is another romance in the story that is equally lovely, though it is more of a friends-to-lovers story. The way one finds out about the other’s feelings is super swoon-worthy, and the professions of his feelings throughout the story are fantastic.
I also really liked the secondary characters, especially Lady Olana. She has an amazing gift and is feared by many. Like the protagonists, Olana lives a solitary and lonely life, and I so wanted her to find happiness. The story also includes many of the primary characters from other Embraced books, and I really enjoyed learning what happened to these couples. Since twenty years passed between the last book and this one, you really get to see how their relationships have grown and changed, and they are all wonderful additions to this story.
There’s another fascinating character, and I don’t want to go into too much detail and spoil anything, but the moral greyness of this person is perfection. I love characters with redemption arcs, and his road to redemption is brave and honorable. I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot more of this Enchanted as the series continues. The character goes through so much in the story, and his realizations and lessons learned are very powerful. I think this character and his arc highlights the nefarious manipulations and abuse of the villains. His story also shows how effective some are at brainwashing and using propaganda for their own personal gain and desire for power.
The majority of the story finds Eviana, Quentin, Olana, and one other on an amazing journey where they learn more about themselves, each other, their world, and their enemies. They uncover treacherous plots and are thrust into increasingly dangerous and deadly situations. The suspense and intrigue slowly build to a nail-biting climax, and no one is safe. It’s an exciting romance with magic, action, intrigue, dragons, shifter, unique powers, and an epic romance, and it entertained me from beginning to end. I loved the characters and the romances and can’t wait to read the next book in the series. Thanks so much to Kensington Books, NetGalley, and the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
- The romances.
- The magic.
Though this could probably be read as a standalone, I would suggest reading the other books in the series before reading this one to get the full context and backstories. I would definitely recommend the book to readers of fantasy-romance.