The Bridge Kingdom
Danielle L. Jensen
Howdy folks, ’tis I… back again from my mini unintended blogging break. The entire month of June has been wildly busy, so I sadly haven’t had much time to read, but c’est la vie! That is life, and now I’m back and vibing. Honestly, I started The Bridge Kingdom several weeks ago, and I was about 75% finished with that book until I got the urge to reread the Throne of Glass series out of nowhere… ok, I know where it came from. I’m making my mom and my husband read it for the first time; my mom is about to start Heir of Fire and Brett is now starting Kingdom of Ash. I was feeling nostalgic for that complex world once again, and so I only felt slightly guilty about not finishing The Bridge Kingdom until I had scratched my TOG itch. But, I’m back! And I finished The Bridge Kingdom at long last! *pats self on the back*.
Ok guys, this was an unexpectedly good book. I’ll admit, I started this one with hardly any expectations… it had been on my TBR for quite some time, because any enemies to lovers book gets an automatic “add to list”, as it should. The first chapter of this book seriously drew me in… a badass assassin type woman, set out to kill an enemy king on a trail of vengeance? Say no more. I also really enjoyed the complex world this book covered. It had a lot of internal politics and games between the various kingdoms, much like countries do in our own world. I also thought the idea of a big ass trade bridge connecting these conniving kingdoms was so interesting *cues “Secret Tunnel” from ATLA… iykyk*. Plus, this book had my favorite basic trope of all time… enemies to lovers. And what is better than enemies to lovers? Enemies to lovers with dual perspectives.
Lara is the daughter of the King of Maridrina, one of several, and she has been groomed from age five to be a lethal assassin. Her lunatic father has been planning out an absolute mad plan against the kingdom of Ithicana for fifteen years in his burn book: he had a million daughters, all with different wives, then hid them all in the middle of the dessert where no one could find them. He then had them train against each other to become super deadly assassins, all so he could enact his own revenge on Ithicana through the treaty that states that one of his daughters will marry the King of Ithicana. Tell me you hold a grudge, without telling me you hold a grudge. Mans has been stewing on this plan for fifteen years, and he’s so hellbent on succeeding that he plans to kill all of the daughters he doesn’t choose so that no one will ever know the extent of his scheming. Lara finds this out, so in order to save her sister’s lives, she fakes their deaths so her father has no choice but to send her to Ithicana to fulfill the treaty. When she arrives, she fully expects to hate King Aren with a burning passion, yet he and his kingdom continually surprise her. Things are not as they seem in Ithicana. The rest of the novel is full of tension between Lara and Aren as she tries not to give him any reason to be suspicious as she settles into her new life.
I really like Lara’s character. She was a total baddie, and I love how she had to try to keep her assassin abilities a secret. She was smart and cunning, much to her father’s detriment. I really like Aren as well, you guys know how I rave about dual perspectives. My favorite part of this story was seeing how the assumptions both characters made about the other at the beginning of the story slowly faded as they learned more about each other. I think that’s why I love dual perspectives so much; it’s just so damn entertaining and it always has me on the edge of my seat when reading.
I honestly lost a little bit of steam and focus in this story when their relationship was in the “too good to be true” stage (enter: TOG takeover), plus I felt like the plot moved a bit too quickly towards the end of the novel as well…? Like, Aren found out Lara had in fact betrayed him, and he banished her… then suddenly we fly forward months into the future when Lara learns that Aren was captured by her father. It just made the ending feel rushed compared to how plot heavy the rest of the story was. But, I am very grateful to see some rekindled tension between the two of them going forward. Nothing is more bittersweet than when the two love interests finally get together… it’s what we readers have been rooting for since the beginning, but any and all tension seems to dissolve immediately, making them wayyyyyy more boring as the series continues. Even though it was obvious that Aren would find out what Lara did (the next book is even called Traitor Queen… not hard to figure out), I still felt like the both of them turned bland once they got together at long last… so I’m tickled and I really hope things get tense and uncomfortable and so much fun between them in this next book. I’m looking forward to starting it soon, so keep your eyes peeled for the next review!