Author: Sharon Shinn
Title: Jeweled Fire
Series: Elemental Blessings 3
Genre: High Fantasy
Pairing: M/F, F/F
Rating: Three Petals
On the Author's Website:
As one of the four princesses of Welce, Corene always thought she might one day become queen. Only circumstances changed, leaving fiery Corene with nothing to show for a life spent playing the game of court intrigue—until a chance arises to become the ruler of a nearby country.
After stowing away on a ship bound for Malinqua with her loyal bodyguard, Foley, Corene must try to win the throne by making a play to marry one of the empress’s three nephews. But Corene is not the only foreign princess in search of a crown.
Unaccustomed to being anyone’s friend, Corene is surprised to find companionship among her fellow competitors. But behind Malinqua’s beautiful facade lie many secrets.
The visiting princesses are more hostages than guests. And as the deadly nature of the court is revealed, Corene must rely on both her new allies and Foley’s unwavering protection—for the game she has entered is far more perilous than she ever imagined…
There were parts of this book I liked the most so far in the series, and equally there were parts of this book that had me gritting my teeth through it. Corene was my least favorite of the princesses. She's really smart, but so blatantly spoiled that everything she does is selfish and self centered. In most books, a character like that would be on a quest for redemption, and this is that sort of quest for Corene, however her fiery personality doesn't allow for her to step away from the brink. Of course, her personality was ordained by the blessings she received at her birth, so she has to be fiery and close-minded regardless of whatever personal growth she's supposed to be going through. It was painful to read, especially when the easy answer was blatantly in front of her, but she instead chose to be a stubborn brat and missed it.
The romance...I can't say rushed, because it was a slow burn to the end, but for some reason it still felt rushed. I think it might be caused because in the previous two books Corene's love interest was supposed to be pining after someone else, yet he's suddenly Corene's. It felt a little abrupt. I do like the slow burn relationship that developed between them as they both settle into their relationship and what it entails. He's a good match for Corene, with his head firmly planted on his shoulders where hers is off in la-la land.
I also thought it was interesting how the author weaved in other sexualities into the book. Not everyone has to be in a heterosexual relationship. Gay, straight, bi, even ace, were all mentioned as an acceptable type of relationship. It was nice to see from a mainstream author and the way it was used only enhanced the world-building of the series as a whole.
Corene's personality was a little bit over the top for me in this book, but I've been having issues with personality for the entire series and I'm still reading it. The world-building and the relationships make up for the characterization issues, and that's why I recommend this book.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.