The Undying King by Grace Draven
Published by Grace Draven on May 29, 2016
Genres: Erotic, Fantasy Romance, Romance
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The stories are told in whispers, even after so long: of a man whose fair rule soured when he attained eternal youth. Imprisoned by a sorceress wife in a city out of time and place, he has passed into legend. Few believe in him, and fewer would set their hopes on his mercy. But Imogen has no choice. To break the curse that's isolated her since birth, she'll find the Undying King--and answer his secrets with her own...
^^Author Note: The Undying King is intended for more mature audiences and contains graphic descriptions of physical intimacy.
“It’s no tale, girl, but the truth. Tineroth is real as is her king. His people once called him Cededa the Fair, then Cededa the Butcher, and then they called him no more. Only the carvings on Tineroth’s gates remember him and not by name. He drank the Waters and became the Undying King.”
Strangely enough, I learned about the release of The Undying King via Ilona Andrews instead of Grace Draven. As soon as she mentioned the release, I purchased a copy and started reading.
The Undying King is (what I call) typical Grace Draven. The hero, Cededa, is unnaturally gorgeous and incredibly broody. He’s a damaged hero who had to go through a pretty serious redemption in order to get his HEA. In The Undying King, Cededa is imprisoned in the ruined fabled city of Tineroth alone. Unable to die and unable to leave, Cededa and his prison are set out of time and are considered rumors only. I liked Cededa but I never got attached to him. Imogen, the heroine, is a pretty typical Grace Draven heroine as well. She is intelligent, kind and pretty self-sufficient. She is not a maiden waiting for some shining Knight to show up – and I love that about her. Imogen isn’t plain but she isn’t a great beauty…and she is cursed. Imogen was cursed as a baby – how and why she does not know – and her touch brings death. She’s often referred to “Death’s Handmaiden” in the story.
Imogen goes to Cededa after the death of her mother – who believed that Cededa would be able to remove Imogen’s curse.
Interestingly, the conflict in The Undying King is twofold: one is external and one emotional. Imogen is wanted as wife by a local king – her presence/marriage to her would give this king trading rights that he desperately wants. He dispatches his mage and a battalion to forcibly bring her to him. This is the external conflict and I can admit that I really disliked the way the conflict and resolution were handled. The emotional conflict revolves around Cededa’s broodiness (of course) as well as the details behind how he became known as Cededa the Butcher. This conflict I feel was…expected so not a surprise. The way this (these?) conflicts were handled worked for me – mostly because I felt Imogen would have had to be an idiot (and she’s not) to at least not have given this/these situation(s) some [previous] thought.
The final resolution of the story left me feeling conflicted. I felt the ending was rather realistic but I wanted a bit more. In comparison to other works by Ms Draven (Master of Crows, Entreat Me) I feel that The Undying King has the proper amount of angst and atmosphere but is a little lightweight on the depth.
All in all, I really enjoyed The Undying King and I do recommend it.