Third Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn
Skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue... and, of course, kissing.
The Third Daughter of the Queen wants her birthday to arrive so she'll be free to marry for love, but rumors of a new flying weapon may force her to accept a barbarian prince's proposal for a peace-brokering marriage. Desperate to marry the charming courtesan she loves, Aniri agrees to the prince's proposal as a subterfuge in order to spy on him, find the weapon, and hopefully avoid both war and an arranged marriage to a man she does not love.
Third Daughter is the first book in the The Dharian Affairs Trilogy (Third Daughter, Second Daughter, First Daughter). This steampunk-goes-to-Bollywood (Bollypunk!) romance that takes place in an east-Indian-flavored alternate world filled with skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue. And, of course, kissing.
From the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, The Dharian Affairs is a new series filled with equal doses of action-adventure and romance, meant to appeal to fans of Mindjack.
NOMINATED for the Illinois Librarian's "Soon to be Famous Author Project" wherein librarians hope to discover local authors whose "work will jump off the page for readers."
"Third Daughter is vividly breathtaking. Quinn delivers royal intrigue, exotic locations, and sweeping romance. Not to be missed!" - Pavarti K. Tyler, author of Shadow on the Wall
"Susan Kaye Quinn writes characters that leap off the page... Incredibly well written, the vivid setting was crisp in my mind... As the plot raced on, I was cursing real life for not letting me just sit glued to my kindle, punching the touch screen to get to the next page." - Tiffany on Goodreads
Author Susan Kaye Quinn
Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, which is young adult science fiction. The Dharian Affairs trilogy is her excuse to dress up in corsets and fight with swords. She also has a dark-and-gritty SF serial called The Debt Collector and a middle grade fantasy called Faery Swap. It's possible she's easily distracted. She always has more speculative fiction fun in the works. You can find out what she's up to by subscribing to her newsletter (hint: new subscribers get a free short story!).
Aniri, our leading lady, is the Third Daughter of the Queen. This means she'll be free to Marry for Love when she turns 18. In love with a handsome diplomat and prepared to begin a life outside of the stifling Royal court, her dreams are dashed when her Mother requests that she consider an arranged marriage with a barbarian prince in order to keep the peace between divided nations.
But not everything is as it seems, and as Aniri enters the agreement with the intention to spy on her faux husband-to-be for her mother, she discovers little by a little a devious and devastating plot to overthrow her family and destroy the kingdom that is nearer and dearer to her heart than she ever imagined.
Aniri as a main character is a bit strong-willed but that's part of her endearment and actually serves her very well in various occasions. Despite her stubborn streak she is more intelligent, politically savvy, and noble than we (and even herself) imagine and her big heart keeps guiding her in the right direction. Surrounded by a slew of characters from a cranky assassin to an overly romanced handmaiden, Aniri tackles fear and a broken heart to save her home and keep the peace.
I will admit that I guessed the plot twist before it happened, but that didn't take away any of the enjoyment in the read. Beautiful imagery, beautiful landscapes, and GORGEOUS costuming. I mean, this would make a spectacular film.
The reader will be on the edge of their seat waiting for the worst to happen, cheering for Aniri to "Run Run Run!!!" or yelling at the pages "No! No! No!".
I highly recommend this spectacular tale of a young woman who simply wants to be free and in love, but finds that freedom means more than she believes and love does not come in the package she expects.
Priya gave Aniri a sly glance in the mirror. “If my lady is not interested in the new Samirian diplomat, I know many ladies of the court who will be. I might even try a hand at him myself.”
Aniri smiled. “Priya, you are wicked.” She decided it was indulgent to burden Priya with her worries. She would have to figure this out herself. Priya stabbed in a final pin, making Aniri wince. “I also think you secretly train in the fencing room with those pins.”
“Yes, my lady, I do.” Priya pulled another pin from her waist and flourished it in the air. “Have you seen the fencing instructors? They are quite handsome, and strong, and very… sweaty in their earnest practice.”
Aniri nearly laughed, but her sour mood returned when Priya stepped back, her primping complete. Aniri studied herself in the mirror. The girl who had run into the forest in her night clothes was completely erased, and a princess glowered back at her.
“Perhaps you could go to tea in my place, Priya.”
“Oh no, my lady.” Priya gave her a mocking half-curtsey. “My bravery is nowhere near equal to that task.”
Aniri wasn’t sure hers was either.
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