TITLE : Realm Of Knights (Knights of The Realm #1)
AUTHOR : Jennifer Anne Davis
GENRE : YA, Fantasy
FBRC RATING : 5 Stars
Reid has spent her whole life pretending to be a man so she can inherit her father’s estate, but when a chance encounter threatens to expose her lie, she is forced to risk everything.
In the kingdom of Marsden, women are subservient to men and land can only pass from father to son. So when Reid Ellington is born, the fifth daughter to one of the wealthiest landholders in the kingdom, it’s announced that Reid is a boy.
Eighteen years later, Reid struggles to conceal the fact she’s actually a young woman. Every day, her secret becomes harder to keep. When one of Marsden’s princes sees her sparring with a sword, she is forced to accept his offer and lead her father’s soldiers to the border. Along the way, she discovers a covert organization within the army known as the Knights of the Realm. If Reid wants to save her family from being arrested for treason and robbed of their inheritance, she will have to join the Knights and become a weapon for the crown.
To protect her family, Reid must fight like a man. To do that, she’ll need the courage of a woman.
The cover of this book is what drew me into it initially. I loved the cover so much. Once I looked into the synopsis I was intrigued to know more about Reid. Theis is the first book in the Knights of the Realm series. It felt kind of Mulan-ish after the synopsis. The book is a Young Adult fantasy set in a country by the name Marsden. The country is made up of 10 counties ruled by dukes. The King of Marsden, Hudson is gone. Eldon is pronounced as King by Hudson before his death. The northern counties are ruled by Eldon and the southern county Axian is ruled by Henrick, Hudson’s twin brother. Unrest ensues in the Kingdom with people who claim to be Axians attack and our female protagonist is pulled into the center of it.
Reid is the fifth daughter of Duke Ellington who is in charge of Ellington county. All her life she pretended to be a boy, the heir to the lands and Duke’s successor. The land can only be passed on to sons and since Duke never had any and promised his late wife that he would never marry again, the chance to have a male heir is impossible. Duke thought he can put Reid in charge of his lands by making her pretend to be a man. On her 18th birthday, things take a turn for the worse when people who never should have discovered her true identity knows about it and blackmails her.
Reid is blackmailed and forced to work for the crown and protect her country and Kingdom from external attacks. One after the other, she is thrust into unexpected situations and tested for her capabilities to adapt to situations and work her way out. Reid is a strong female protagonist who is tired of having to pretend to be a man to garner the respect of her peers, her people and everyone around her. She is the perfect blend of a strong, mouthy, smart, vulnerable female who has strong opinions and is not afraid to voice them. She is also young and not very experienced. The fight sequences and encounters are believable. She is not always winning and often we see her fear and vulnerability coming through. Her loyalty is tested, she is pulled into secrecy too many times for her liking. Her lack of knowledge about her country makes her the perfect candidate who is pulled and pushed into situations she is not comfortable with. Her naivety becomes the one thing that is exploited by people in power. Reid has to figure out who her loyalties lie with and who her allies are and which side she needs to be on before her world is upended.
Ackley is the third prince and son of late King Hudson. He is cunning, smart, resourceful and an excellent fighter/assassin. He is a secretive, mysterious and fun guy. I loved his character and how he despite being the third son has more power and authority than the other two. I loved his and Reid’s interactions, they had great chemistry as a working duo.
Harlan was amazing and very sweet and supportive of Reid. I loved their friendship and how they were together in the book. Knox was your typical arrogant meathead. He is quick to lose his temper and selfish. Royce is not someone I know much about. He is not very interesting at this point.
Gordon is the second prince and the in charge of the army. He is what you would call the stereotypical warrior/commander. He is skilled in combat, but I felt Ackley was better. He is also quite meek and not very authoritative. Reid’s and Gordon’s interactions were not the best ones. I felt that they had the physical attraction but nothing else to move them forward.
King Eldon seems to be a shady character with backward ideas of how society should function. I think he has the potential to be a villain for the story. we will have to see as the series proceeds.
Idina is the sister and the youngest. She is very smart, cunning and definitely has more power than she shows in the operations regarding the Kingdom. I wanted more of her and Ackley in the book. They were definitely the characters to look out for in the next book.
Axian was a surprise for me and the way they were run is also very interesting. This definitely a great twist in the story that makes the plot very very fascinating. Henrick and his family and their dynamics were very different to the King and his family’s.
The way the story ended on a cliffhanger and the hints of a possible hate-to-love trope was very clever in my opinion. I just wish we had more information and the story was a little short for me. But overall the series was a promising start and a great starting point to this series. I absolutely enjoyed this book and every moment in this book. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series which will be released in December. I can’t wait to get my own copy for this book and the next one as well. I gave this book 5 stars and hope we get an equally fun and enjoyable adventure filled 2nd book.
I definitely recommend everyone to check out this book. Let me know in the comment section if you have read any of Jennifer Anne Davis’s books and your thoughts on them.