There were several things about The Orchid Throne by Jeffe Kennedy that really struck me, some in good ways and some in bad. This was a book that I was actually incredibly excited about, having fallen in love with the plot the moment I first read its synopsis. A deposed prince following a prophecy that would allow him to exact revenge on the man who destroyed his kingdom and a young Queen doing everything she can to protect her people from the tyrant who destroyed the rest of the world sounded like a fascinating story. It sounded especially exciting when it became clear that the prince would need this young Queen’s magical orchid ring in order to complete his quest.
I’ll be honest, my excitement for this book waned somewhat as I began the novel. It was incredibly difficult to get into. The first few chapters are filled heavily with exposition and genuinely left me feeling as though each turn of the page was a chore I would have to force myself through. Wonderfully, though, as the plot moves forward, so does one’s ability to engage with the story. About 30% in, I found myself rather quickly becoming immersed in a tale that I began to feel attached to. The characters were brilliantly intelligent and it was quite enjoyable to move back and forth between their minds.
And overall the story was enticing to the point that I actually found myself incredibly eager to finish, even staying up late into the night to get further through their tale. Looking back, I enjoyed the fast-paced nature of it all as I read it, but I feel somewhat annoyed by it now. I am back and forth on whether or not this book feels like insta-love to me, partially because there is a sort of distance between the two characters that leads you to believe they don’t quite love each other yet, but rather are using each other for their own reasons. At other times they seem quite infatuated. The speed with which they were brought together was too fast and didn’t really result in them getting to know one another at all.
It’s an interesting place to be in, where several of the things I enjoyed are also things I did not like at all. And ultimately, I find that the fast paced nature of the story helped the novel as a whole by keeping my interest, but added some skeptical reluctance for me to appreciate the book as much as I might have otherwise. Ironically, as my reasons for avoiding most romances in the past has come down to my dislike for sex scenes in the novels I read, I actually did appreciate the way Kennedy portrayed both characters with their inexperience. As both were virgins, I found the realistic nature behind the awkwardness of them both a wonderful inclusion that I don’t see often in stories like this. Even more, I appreciate that she taught him how to do things. That said, I still found myself wanting to skip those particular scenes.
In general, I won’t say this is the best book I’ve ever read by any means. Though I liked the fast paced nature of it once the plot got rolling and I was past the first few chapters, I do feel as though some of it took away from the characters’ ability to get to know each other. Thankfully, neither character is presented as being hopelessly in love with the other so I can forgive this bit quite a lot. I do think that the one thing this story has going for it the most is the characters themselves, who are all unique and well-written. Lia more than anyone is brilliant.
The novel is also set up for a sequel, which I wouldn’t mind reading though I wouldn’t be terribly upset to not pick up either. And ultimately, I think that sums up my feelings for this book. I enjoyed it, but I’m not in love with it.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.