Eidolon by Grace Draven (Wraith Kings #2)
Released: April 18, 2016
Reviewed by Mandi
Before I begin, let me stress that you must read book one, Radiance before Eidolon, or you will be lost in this world. If you have yet to read Radiance than you have failed in life, because it’s amazing and romantic and a must read. No pressure.
Eidolon picks up pretty much where Radiance leaves off. Brishen, a Kai who has greyish skin, odd eyes, fangs for teeth and Ildiko, human, are in love – but the world is a chaotic place. The book opens with Brishen and Ildiko away at a garrison in Saggara. The royal family is at their home in Haradis, when demons attack the castle. Brishen’s queen mother, Secmis (a truly evil being) opened a portal and has let demons who eat anything in their path – right into the castle. Almost everyone is dead, except for the king’s infant daughter, who was whisked away by her nursemaid and two guards. Now they rush to Saggara in hopes to save the infant who will now be future queen and ruler of the land.
When word of this demon attack reaches Saggara, Brishen and Ildiko immediately go into planning mode. A wise woman (an Elsod) joins them and tells them the only way to kill these demons (as a sword will not) is for Brishen to become a Wraith King.
“How does one become a Wraith King?”
“You must be killed, then remade as eidolon.”
Ildiko shuddered beside him, trying her best to swallow back the horrified cries he could hear trapped in her throat. He wanted to comfort her, but his own shock kept him frozen in his seat and his eyes locked on the Elsod.
As you can see – becoming a Wraith King is no easy task. But to save his people and honor his duty, Brishen agrees. Along with three other powerful men, they go forth with the transformation to fight the demons. But this is not all the drama they are faced with. While Brishen and Ildiko are deeply in love, they can’t have children. If the entire family is wiped out, (they don’t know the infant is still alive) that means Brishen is king. A king with no heirs. A king with a human wife who the Kai may not accept. This causes angst in their relationship.
“He is everything to me.” And in the end, I must give him up.
Noo Ilkdiko. Hold strong.
Oh Ildiko and Brishen – one of the best written romantic couples. In Radiance we saw how they were forced to marry, how they found each other physically repulsive and how they fell deeply in love. In this book, their love isn’t tested necessarily, but duty comes into play. If Brishen is the true king, does he have a duty to leave Ildiko and find a proper Kai wife? Does he have a duty to have children? Brishen adamantly says no. But Ildiko is not naive of royal courts and honor and duty. She knows for the good of the land, they may have to put aside their individual feelings, and do what is best.
“Privilege,” she said gently, “gives the crown its shine. Duty give it its weight. It’s because you are no king that you can’t do as you wish. The person you are – honorable, brave – will do what’s required.”
Her knees buckled at this declaration, and this time her fingers dug into his forearm. “Oh my gods, Brishen. You can’t abdicate! You’ll plunge this country into civil war.”
He snatched her to him, and her feet cleared the floor for a second time. “I will not give you up,” he vowed between clenched teeth. “I will suffer the ritual, gladly. Let it rip me apart and put me back together again. I will rob my people of their magic and fight the galla. I will not renounce my wife.” He shook against her, burying his face in her neck. “Don’t leave me, Ildiko,” he implored. “The burden is only bearable because you’re here.”
For me, this conflict – this angst – is really what drove the story. The fight between duty and selfishly wanting to be with the love of your life. Their absolute love for one another may not be enough when duty comes a knockin’.
The fight against the demons is a violent, horrible mess. Maybe a tiny bit slow in the beginning stages of planning the attack, when things finally get put into motion, the action is quite intense.
Another highlight for me in this book is Anhuset. Not only is she just a kick-ass person who takes no prisoners, but her fiery relationship with Serovek, a close friend of Brishen’s – the sexual tension between them (even though she would never admit it) is really fun to read.
Grace Draven writes amazing fantasy romance. Everything I’ve read by her has been enjoyable. I highly recommend her work.