My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Title: The Bridge Kingdom
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Format: eBook (owned)
Categories: Fantasy, Adult Fiction, Romance, Enemies to Lovers
What if you fell in love with the one person you’d sworn to destroy?
Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil – and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara’s homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.
But as she infiltrates her new home – a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas – and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore.
Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?
When I saw this book as an Audible on Amazon, it made me look twice. I thought, didn’t Danielle L. Jensen just release a young adult book this year? I love her books, so I was pretty sure I would have known she was releasing another novel. I didn’t even know about The Bridge Kingdom! It was just by coincidence that I saw it released the ebooks and physical copies on Tuesday. I bought the ebook without a second thought because I didn’t have the patience to wait for the hard copy.
It was everything I’ve been craving lately in a book! It’s like this author just knew I was needing this book. And just to reiterate because she writes young adult novels – this one is an adult novel, so yes there is a sex scene and thank goodness because the tension between Lara and Aren was building up so much. I was going to be irritated if they didn’t hook up. 🤷🏻♀️😅
At the end of chapter one, I was like this…😳 and I think I gasped and said, “what is this?!” Maybe because it described Lara with eleven half-sisters, I was like oooo, is this a Twelve Dancing Princesses re-telling? 😂 This goes to show I knew NOTHING about what this book would be about, I didn’t even really read the blurb, I saw the author on this and bought it without thought. So NO this is not about dancing princesses at all, unless you count spy and assassin skills as “dancing”.
Lara and her half-sisters are daughters of the Rat King, Silas Veliant, the King of Maridrina. Maridrina is a desert country where the people are starving and the king blames the kingdom of Ithicana for all its woes. Ithicana is the hub of trade but it is called The Bridge Kingdom because they have a bridge that is central to this successful trade business and no one has been able to capture it. A peace treaty between the two kingdoms promises a Maridrina bride to the King of Ithicana. This is how Silas wants to bring down Ithicana, by marrying King Aren to one of his trained daughters.
The world building is fascinating and I wish the eBook had a map of the kingdoms. Maridrina like I said is a dry, desert country. Ithicana is in the middle of the sea with high cliffs, a bridge, and islands all around. Because it is a bunch of islands, the foliage is lush, the air is humid and they deal with venomous snakes that populate the island and also sharks that thrive in the waters. There is mention of other kingdoms and maybe we will learn more about them in the sequels.
This book has political intrigue, a steamy slow burn romance, action, bloody battles, and betrayal! By the time I got to the end, and yes I read this in one day, I was kicking myself for not reading this nearer to it’s sequel release date.
I was begging silently for Lara to open her eyes to her father’s scheming ways – ugh because I knew it would only end in heartbreak! I mean, all of it was kind of predictable after the first chapter but it was still so good. I don’t mind if something is predictable as long as it’s still entertaining.
Lara, has been raised in the most awful way. She has been conditioned and tortured to believe Ithicana is their enemy and nothing else matters but taking them down. She’s not sweet, she’s an assassin, a spy, a liar and she’s so good at what she does. We see her plans unravel slowly as she learns about King Aren and Ithicana. Though she has all these skills to deceive, Lara also finds she has weaknesses, like the fear of the ocean that surrounds Ithicana and caring for her sisters. King Aren, on the other hand was raised with the love of the Ithicana people. He is smart, a fierce fighter and strong leader who loves his people. In the end he has a weakness too, Lara. 😭
And then that ending. 😩 It’s a cliffhanger and the way it ends makes me want the second book in my hands right now. I need Lara to use her badass skills for good. I need to see how she can fix things and I need her and Aren to be together – though I don’t know how that will happen right now. 😢 Lara has a tough road ahead but I believe in her. I will count down the days until the sequel is released!