Thursday, October 21, 2021

Review: THE BRIDGE KINGDOM by Danielle L. Jensen


Rating: 5/5 stars 

The Bridge Kingdom is a fast-paced story with lots of action, an enemies-to-lovers romance combined with the forced marriage trope, a unique no-magic fantastical setting, and is full of intrigue and betrayal. I loved every minute of it!

Lara is the one among her twelve sisters selected to travel to enemy kingdom Ithicana and marry their prince-turned-king in a political alliance to secure peace and better trade negotiations for her homeland of Maridrina. She is ready to play the part of docile wife while secretly infiltrating their highly secure bridge and learning all the secrets she can so she can pass them back to her father so their people can invade and take over Ithicana and the bridge for themselves. But once Lara arrives and gets to know her now-husband and learns about all the innocent people living there, she begins to wonder if everything she’s been taught about Ithicana is a lie.

I absolutely loved the setting here. Ithicana is a nation made up of a bunch of small, dangerous, jungle-covered islands connected by a massive bridge that runs between the northern and southern continents. Consequently, they control all trade between the two continents, providing safe passage across the Tempest Seas in exchange for bridge tolls and taxes. 

The bridge setting was very unique and something I have never seen before in a novel. The bridge is Ithicana’s industry, the only thing they provide to other nations, since they have no goods or materials to export. I love bridges in general and always take pictures of the cool ones that I see when out and about, so that really appealed to me here. The naked hardcover has a beautiful artistic map of the bridge that I probably spent more time looking at than actually reading the book, so definitely recommend checking that out. 

I really enjoyed Lara as our protagonist. I always love a fierce woman who also has a soft side, and that’s who she is. She trained for twenty years to be a fighter, a healer, a spy, a temptress, and you get to see her many sides in the novel. The opening chapter really blew me away because I haven’t seen a character be that ruthless in a long time. 

Aren was a wonderful counterpart and love interest as well. I loved seeing Lara’s opinion of him slowly change throughout the story as she got to know him, and I loved seeing her fight herself on whether she thought he was a friend or enemy. I really like reading about love interests that are genuinely good guys, so I’m glad to see Aren falls into that category. He really respects Lara and shows her as much. I liked their dynamic and chemistry and can’t wait to read more about them in book two.

There are lots of plot twists in the latter half of the book and during the ending that make me glad I have The Traitor Queen on hand because I immediately want to start the sequel. There were a few chapters in there full of so much tension and dramatic irony that had me STRESSED OUT! And rightfully so because of that ending. . . . I appreciated the subtle but well-placed plot twists throughout the novel because they all coalesced into a very exciting story that I couldn’t put down.

If you like fast-paced adult fantasy that has an easy-to-follow storyline with engaging characters in a hate-to-love romance set in a unique location, then you should check out The Bridge Kingdom. I really loved this one. 

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