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Book Review: Chained by Elise Marion
Thirty years of peace between Daleria and Dinasdale are about to be broken. A war between them now would rip apart the kingdom of Almere, but it looks inevitable after reports of Dalerian soldiers massacring a Dinasdalian village. Caden, son of the Dalerian high lord, knows they were framed.
When Lady Gwen, the acting high lord of Dinasdale, finds Caden and his men in Dinasdale, she doesn't take any chances. She imprisons them while trying to find the truth about the massacre.
But Caden isn't about to let himself and his men rot in dungeons when they haven't committed any crime. He needs justice for his brother's death, not war. But after several escape attempts, he's still not free. To make matters worse, Gwen separates him from his men to prevent more uprisings. His new prison: her bedchamber.
Keeping Caden in her bedchamber kept him out of trouble, but it caused even more problems for Gwen. Having him so close kept it hard to be objective about the massacres. And the growing attraction they felt for each other was dangerous, especially when they were about to be enemies at war.
Win a copy of War Bride, a standalone Chained novella this October here.
Elise Marion is one of the best world builders in the literary world today. As a huge advocate in diversity in books, she even makes diversity a point in fantasy worlds, not just with skin colors, but with cultures. Both Dinasdale and Daleria have vivid and unique cultures are so complex they could exist in our world.
The detail in the world was amazing. When reading this, it's really easy to escape into this fantasy world of Almere. There was an awesome setting, detailed back story and complex characters which were fantastic to read.
Unfortunately it was a little difficult to get through in the beginning. The prologue was confusing because it was a lot of information all at once, but after that, it's smooth reading.
Both Gwen and Caden are excellent characters with a great love story. Gwen is a strong female in a misogynist society while things are more equal in Caden's society, so they end up working well together and Caden is actually a good partner for her, not someone who treats her like a damsel in distress, which is a nice change of pace from other alpha heroes. One thing I didn't like-- and it was really out of character for him-- was his reluctance to be with Gwen because of her engagement to Rowan. Apparently that made her Rowan's property in his mind.
This makes no sense with Caden, who is respectful of women and comes from a place where women can even be knights. The only reason why that exists is to draw out the love story even more. After al, it's an engagement that Gwen doesn't want to be a part of and after Rowan tried to rape her, any claim he had to her should be null and void.
But aside from that, I like both of the main characters a lot, as well as side characters that we meet, like Emery and Leofred, who end up getting their own story. Chained is free on Smashwords.
This October I'm giving away War Bride, which is Emery's and Leofred's story. It's an excellent book that I highly recommend. Have you read any of the Chained series? Let me know what you think in the comments.