Genre: Fantasy Romance Age Range: Adult Star Rating: 4 stars Series: yes - third book
A soldier raised as heir to an empire, Zarrah is motivated by two truths. The first is that the Veliant family murdered her mother. And the second is that her pursuit of vengeance will put every last one of them in their graves.
The Endless War between Maridrina and Valcotta has raged for generations, leaving thousands of Zarrah’s people dead and countless more orphaned. So when she’s given command of the contested city of Nerastis, Zarrah is prepared to do whatever it takes to destroy the Maridrinian forces who oppose her. And to kill the Veliant prince who leads them.
Yet a chance encounter with an anonymous, and handsome, Maridrinian causes Zarrah to question whether the violence she’s perpetrated is justice or a crime. And as she continues to meet the nameless man each night, she finds common ground – and fiery passion – in his arms.
But when identities are revealed, Zarrah must decide whether to embrace a chance at peace…or march to the drums of war.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
Did I switch audiobook on release day to listen to this as soon as possible? Yes. I was really looking forward to another instalment in this world, focusing on a new couple seen in THE TRAITOR QUEEN and the war that runs in parallel to the Ithiccanian one.
THE INADEQUATE HEIR occurs at the same time as THE BRIDGE KINDOM and THE TRAITOR QUEEN. It opens very close to THE BRIDGE KINGDOM’s climax and ends after the battle that ends THE TRAITOR QUEEN. While events and characters from the previous books overlap (and there are several scenes from THE TRAITOR QUEEN seen from new characters’ eyes), THE INADEQUATE HEIR isn’t about the conflict over controlling the bridge. Instead, it focuses on the Maridrina/Valcotta conflict, and how Keris and Zarrah try to shape it as their feelings grow.
This meant I knew some of the major beats that would happen, and was so curious how the book would present them with the new story line. I love seeing the new subtext it gave to the previous book as the political machinations were drawn out. Plus it was nice to explore the Maridrina/Valcotta conflict, which had been in the background of the previous books.
There are two new narrators, who are very good, but the thing that stands out in this audiobook is the sound effects. Before, there was simply the “storm sound” between chapters, but this time there is a lot more. Onomatopoeia (like “splash”) have been replaced with the actual sounds, and there was one incident of music. I wish more audiobooks leant into this more, as it can make the reading experience more immersive.
This is very a “steamy” book. Even being warned that it had more sex scenes in it than THE BRIDGE KINGDOM and THE TRAITOR QUEEN, the book was certainly more explicit than I thought it would be. It was also more explicit than I prefer to read (which is very much a personal preference!) I sped those scenes up! (It is quite an experience to listen to scene this steamy for the first time.)
The ending sets up an interesting power balance for the next book. If it weren’t a fantasy romance series, it could almost work well as a standalone (save for the last 2.5 chapters!) However, there isn’t a happily ever after/for now, so there’s clearly more to come with their story (also, it’s been announced that there is another book.)
Read my reviews of other books by Danielle L. Jensen:
The Bridge Kingdom (this series):
The Malediction Trilogy: