Title: A Fate of Wrath & Flame
Author: K.A. Tucker
Series: A Fate of Wrath & Flame #1
Length: 533 pages
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Source: Valentine PR
Content Warnings: sexual assault, slavery
Gifted thief Romeria has flourished from her days as a street kid pilfering wallets to survive. Now she thrives, stealing jewels from the rich under the involuntary employ of New York City’s most notorious crime boss. But when an enigmatic woman secures her services at swordpoint, Romeria is plunged into a startling realm of opposing thrones, warring elven, and elemental magic she cannot begin to fathom.
Her quest is straightforward: Steal a stone from Islor’s sacred garden without anyone discovering her true identity, which would earn her certain death. But the identity she has inexplicably assumed is that of the captured Ybarisan princess—an enemy to Islor after she poisoned their beloved king and queen on the day she was to marry the prince.
Her betrothed, the newly crowned King Zander, detests her with every grain of his handsome being. Fortunately for Romeria, she is more valuable to him alive than dead. Zander gives her a choice: life in a cell, or an acquittal of all charges in exchange for her help in exposing the growing plot against him.
Romeria sees no other option and embraces the tricky role of smitten queen-to-be until she can escape, a ruse that brings her far closer to the king than she anticipated and threatens more than her safety. As she digs deeper into this sacred garden and the ancient feud between Ybaris and Islor, she discovers monstrous truths that could spell ruin for all.
She would know the world of vengeful gods and monsters, and the lengths one would go for love. And nothing would ever be the same for her again.
I was very excited to read this book because I really enjoyed K.A. Tucker’s writing in her contemporary romances like The Simple Wild and I love fantasy, but this book just wasn’t for me.
This portal fantasy sees Romeria, a jewel thief in modern day New York City, transported into another realm with a Medieval-inspired, magical society where she is forced to assume the identify of a traitorous princess. I admire Romeria’s compassion, resourcefulness, and determination to make the most of her unexpected situation.
Tucker constructs a complicated political and magic system driven by Fates (deities), elven, and elementals. I often found myself identifying with Romeria’s confusion when it came to the complex world building. I also expected more from the romance in this book, which was a bit too slow of a burn to consider this a fantasy romance.
Overall, I found the story to be a bit slow in general between all the secrets, political intrigue, and history. The pace picked up toward the end leading to a cliffhanger, and I expect the next book in this series to have better pacing with the bulk of the world building out of the way.
Thank you to Valentine PR for the gifted ARC in exchange for an honest review.