The Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan
Published by Self-published on October 27, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Available on KU at posting: Yes
I'm a wolf in wolf’s clothing, and I’ll consume her if she lets me.
Ambition. Passion. Betrayal.
Rita Award-winning author Kennedy Ryan delivers the epic first installment of the All the King's Men Duet.
Raised to rule, bred to lead and weaned on a diet of ruthless ambition.
In a world of haves and have nots, my family has it all, and I want nothing to do with it.
My path takes me far from home and paints me as the black sheep. At odds with my father, I'm determined to build my own empire. I have rules, but Lennix Hunter is the exception to every one of them. From the moment we meet, something sparks between us. But my family stole from hers and my father is the man she hates most. I lied to have her, and will do anything to keep her. Though she tries to hate me, too, the inexorable pull between us will not be denied.
And neither will I.
Passion meets Power!
I was persuaded to read The Kingmaker after seeing glowing feedback being shared by fellow readers. Within a few pages, I appreciated why everyone was so swept up by the story. Kennedy Ryan brings together a varied cast of characters along with an interesting plot. The instant attraction between people from two totally different walks of life just topped it off for me!
Family names hold a whole lot of sway in Maxim and Lennix’s lives. Interestingly, Lennix embraces the names her parents gave her with pride. Maxim despises the legacy he inherited with his surname and avoids using it.
Lennix is a proud Apache woman, and the story begins with her as a young teen preparing for her Sun Dance. This coming of age ritual resonated with a powerful message that guided her well through the challenges of becoming a woman. The timeline then takes a leap forward to her in her later teens to finally where the story mainly resides with her navigating her 30s. She is a passionate advocate for her people and their customs.
Maxim and Lennix’s families are as juxtaposed as possible, one embraces the earth and the other uses it for its monetary gain. It provided an interesting focus on the importance of communities retaining their customs and values as well as a good base for a forbidden romance.
Love is depicted as a connection between soul mates throughout the book. It’s clear that Maxim and Lennix are meant for each other. They share a passion for life and hold strong to their core values. After a random scorching hot week together, they go their separate ways. Their connection to each other was so strong, that no one else could fill the void in their lives in the same way.
The short time they have together heightens the angst filled wait until they meet again. A bittersweet reunion polarises them. I loved the anticipation that consumed the story while they both stubbornly refused to budge on their obsession with following their hearts.
There was no shortage of drama in their lives. Most of the plot twists were predictable, but that didn’t bother me, I struggled with what fueled the drama and resolutions that quickly put the problem to bed. When the drama eased up, and the romance took over my urge to turn pages slowed somewhat. Not even the anticipated cliff-hanger ending rekindled my interest.
Lennix had all I look for in a strong heroine. Her desire to make the world a better place and her maturity was what won me over. It was well into the story that she did a complete 180 in a way I didn’t feel believable or that would even go along with the personality she had shown thus far.
Politics, environmental issues, prejudices and activism provides an interesting backdrop to the story, but the depth to which the issues were explored was more than I look for in a romance novel. I read to switch off and the powerful messages came across as preaching to the choir. My preference is to be intrigued to look up a topic, which is exactly what I did when the Sun Dance was first mentioned.
What I struggled with:
- Detail overload on work missions
- The loss of angst in the story
What I loved:
- Learning about the Sun Dance
- Their passion for the environment
- The banter between friends
- The beautiful imagery
The Kingmaker captured my attention at the beginning but waned off towards the end. I am in two minds whether to read on or not. It was the direction of the plot that took this book from a 5 star start to a 3.5 star finish. My high expectations were driven by the well-paced beautiful writing that passionately depicted two issues I wholeheartedly support.
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