Book Review: Destined for a King by Ashlyn Macnamara

I was reading this book while on vacation. Normally that would be good…I’d have time to chill and just enjoy the story. But this particular vacation was a pretty crazy one, and so I didn’t have a lot of down time to absorb the book. Still, once I got into it, I found that I really liked the darker tone amidst the romance.

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A woman finds her destiny entwined with that of a bastard knight who takes over her home. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Like a Naughty Cupid
Calista is willful and brave, and when the story begins, she’s shooting arrows at the men taking over her home. She manages to get a shot in on their commander, Torch, who then has to be nursed back to health by her because if he dies, his men will kill her father. It doesn’t take long before she becomes fascinated with him (likely because of his bulging muscles), but she also feels a connection to him that weirds her out a bit. After all, he did just storm her castle (not a euphemism…yet).

Mine, Not Yours
Torch knows he’s destined to have Calista due to the scrying stone he keeps around his neck. So even though they meet under less than desirable circumstances, he’s determined to make her his, even if it means compromising her so she’ll have to marry him instead of the man she’s betrothed to, Torch’s legit enemy.

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Magic Necklaces and Such
The plot seems simple enough, but there’s so much going on this world. It kind of felt like a lighter, more romantic version of Game of Thrones. There’s a bit of magic in the form of the scrying stones that heat up and give visions to their wearers, becoming stronger when the wearer’s mate is close by. Then there’s an order of monks that can see the future by putting themselves into a weird trance that requires blood.

Stealth Mode
There’s also some crazy intrigue. Torch isn’t actually a landless knight, but someone with a past and destiny much greater. The story hints at this at the beginning, and I liked that there’s some suspense until you find out what’s really going on. The title of the book is “Destined for a King,” and that point is drilled hardcore by Calista’s mother, who may also be kind of a traitor? But that turns out okay, I guess. I don’t think she got in trouble for it.

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Reading On the Run
I feel like vacation had my brain all over the place, so I didn’t get to really absorb all the nuances of the book. I feel I missed out on some key points, so at some point, I’ll have to go back and read it again. I liked the characters (not really Calista’s mother though), and I thought the magic aspect wasn’t too heavy handed and fit the world well.

What was heavy-handed was that whole “Destined for a King” thing. It was brought up so much. I suppose it was meant as a device to confuse the characters, since Torch “obviously” wasn’t a king, but as a reader who knew what was up (sort of), I didn’t need the reminder.

The Romance Factor
There was definitely some insta-love here. Calista is all about this guy who stole her home, but it’s cool because he’s so sweet to her and she really heats up his scrying stone (not a euphemism). Snark aside, though, I did enjoy their chemistry and I liked that Torch was protective even though Calista was pretty feisty. 3/5

The Steam Factor
Definitely some hotness between these two. I have to admit that I really liked their first sexy time. There was a lot of sensuality and emotion there, and it totally drew me in and gave me some super feels. 4/5

Final Thoughts
Sometimes lack of sleep makes me a little snarky, but I honestly did enjoy this novel and would like to be able to immerse myself in more of this series. World building isn’t always easy, but I think the author has laid a great foundation to what could be an epic series. Looking forward to reading the next one in the series.

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