I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.
Series: The Beast Charmer #1
Length: 400 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2019, 2019 New Release Challenge
Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin's Creed in this epic, gripping fantasy romance from debut author Maxym M. Martineau.
Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep trouble. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts on the black market—an offense punishable by death—and now there's a price on her head. With the realm's most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can't refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.
If only it were that simple. Unbeknownst to Leena, the undying ones are bound by magic to complete their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood of assassins...not even to save the woman he can no longer live without.
Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym M. Martineau is the first book in a new paranormal romance series called The Beast Charmer. Billed as a cross between Fantastic Beasts and Assassin’s Creed it lives up to the hype. I found myself fully immersed in Leena’s world and fascinated with her creatures. Personally I can’t wait for more from the world!
Leena Edenfrell is an exiled beast charmer with a price on her head. She is bitter about the events that led to her exile, and she is cunning. She has to be with the people she now deals with. To live outside her community she must trade in beasts. Raised to love them and cherish her beasts, this is agony for her to hand over a beast in exchange for gold. This alone made me like her. Her conscience gets the best of her time and again, but she will do anything to protect her creatures.
Noc is the leader of the undead assassins…yep they are like vampires. At least that’s how I pictured them. He is cursed though. Anyone he loves falls ill and dies. So Noc keeps himself separate from his clan and keeps a firm (imaginary) line in the sand that he will not cross. He will not allow himself to feel for anyone. Then he meets Leena, and despite his hard and fast rules, he finds himself falling.
Noc’s assassin failed to kill Leena and instead gets himself captured by her. To bargain for her own life, she exchanges the assassin with Noc and promises to deliver four beasts in exchange. This leads Leena, Noc and three of his skilled assassins on a trip across the continent looking for a beast that will allow Leena back into her community and the beasts she promised him.
I love the world-building more than anything else in the book! Each beast mentioned is unique with its own abilities and talents. I found myself visualizing them as Leena describes them. Leena’s exile is also at the forefront of the story, along with Noc’s curse. Noc wants a cure, Leena wants to go home. Together they might just get what they want.
Overall I really enjoyed Kingdom of Exiles. I struggled a little at the beginning of the story. The author fully immerses the reader in the world and it took a bit for me to catch up. Once I did though, I fell in love with the beasts, their world, and of course Leena and Noc. I can’t wait for more!