By: Jennifer Anne Davis
Published: January 8, 2014 by Clean Teen Publishing
Source: Personal Kindle Library
(Goodreads / Amazon FREE at time of posting)
***This is BOOK ONE of a THREE book series. It is NOT a stand alone book. The entire series is now available!!***MY REVIEW:
*Finalist in the 2014 USA Best Book Awards: Young Adult Category*
*Winner Curvy Book Award 2013 Best Overall Small Press*
Within these pages lie kingdoms with castles and princes who fall in love with fair maidens, but make no mistake−this is no fairytale.
His father's kingdom is on the brink of upheaval and at the center of it all is an ordinary girl who could be the key to its undoing. When faced with the ultimate choice, will he choose the girl he's falling in love with or the kingdom he has sworn to protect?
An ordinary girl with an extraordinary past... All she wants is to be free. What she doesn't realize is that freedom comes with a price she can't afford to pay. She's forced to accept the proposal of a prince she despises, even though her heart belongs to someone else... his brother.
Seventeen-year-old Rema lives in a brutal kingdom where travel between regions is forbidden, people are starving, and looking at someone the wrong way can mean death. Nineteen-year-old Darmik is the king's son and Commander of the King's Army. He spends his days roving the island, doing his father's bidding and trying to maintain control over the people.
When a chance encounter throws Rema and Darmik together, they share an instantaneous connection, but any sort of relationship between them is strictly forbidden. Darmik's brother, the Crown Prince, notices Darmik's interest in Rema and, in a calculated, political move, blackmails her. Faced with an impossible choice, Rema is forced to sacrifice her heart in order to save her family.
As Rema is taken to the palace with the Crown Prince, Darmik confronts the growing rumor that a legitimate blood heir to the throne exists and is trying to overthrow Darmik's family. In Darmik's quest to hunt down and kill the threat, he discovers that nothing is as it seems. Locked in the king's castle, Rema finds herself a key player in a massive power struggle. When Darmik shows up, she's not sure if she can trust him. The line between friends, enemies, and loyalty becomes blurred. As truths are unlocked, Rema understands that she just might be the key to finding the rightful heir and restoring peace to the kingdom... if she can manage to stay alive long enough.
I must first share how I came to hear about this series. The spin off series called Cage of Deceit came up for review on Netgalley. The cover of that book immediately caught my eye and the description sealed the deal of whether I should request it or not. But then I discovered another series came first, this one. Since I couldn't find the answer to the order of how the books should be read I decided with such a high Goodreads rating and an equally intriguing synopsis, that I just had to check out The Key. To my wonderful surprise I then found that it was a FREEBIE on Amazon. SCORE! Ya'll, this is totally worth paying for, and a serious treat to get it free!
The Key is told from alternating POV's between Rema, who is the niece of a horse trainer, and Darmik, who is a Prince and Commander to the King's army. The background story is that the current King slaughtered the royal family of Greenwood Island some 17+ years ago in his attempt to win the crown and gain power. Only, he was mistaken and there is an heir who survived. The King and his oldest son, the Crown Prince are very evil, manipulative, greedy men. They are starving the people who are subject to them and take what they want, when they want it. Rumors and riots are rising up. Darmik is the only one of the royal family who is a decent and fair person and is trying to balance his responsibility of keeping the King safe with also trying to dig to the bottom of the rumors that a rightful blood heir to the throne still lives.
I loved this story! It had me tearing up, smiling, hoping, trusting, questioning, and more! So many emotions went through me while reading this book. If you love Young Adult fantasy and romance, similar series like The Remnant Chronicles and His Fair Assassin, then this is a MUST read for you!
Shouldn't a prince be a leader for his people? A person of exemplary constitution and someone they could all look up to? A protector of the civilians that made up the kingdom he ruled over?
With hope, anything was possible.
Language Rating: 1 (light)
Mature Content Rating: 0 (none)
Final Rating: 4.5 stars!