Bestselling author Ashlyn Macnamara, hailed by Jennifer McQuiston as “a born storyteller,” introduces the strapping, audacious outlaws of the Bastard Brotherhood in this enchanting tale of forbidden love between supposedly sworn enemies.
Though she is intended for the king, Calista Thorne picks up a crossbow to defend her ancestral home, Blackbriar Keep, from a gang of landless knights. She even manages to sink a poison-tipped arrow into their commander, who survives long enough to conquer the Keep and claim Calista for his own. Now, with her father’s life at stake, Calista must nurse the brigand back to health, and the strangest thing happens: She finds herself fascinated by his tautly muscled body, and enthralled by his hotly whispered demands.
Ever since his father’s death, the fearsome warrior they call Torch has been consumed by his quest for revenge. Taking Blackbriar Keep is the first step in that plan, and—by the three gods—it won’t be the last. But after taking one look into Calista’s smoldering gray eyes, Torch discovers a passion nobler than retribution. He will fulfill his destiny and take her from the usurper king, even in his weakened state. For with Calista’s love, no man has ever felt more powerful.
Thank you Netgalley and Loveswept for the review copy!
I really enjoyed this book and would really recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fantasies that center on romance! Being a romance junkie like me, how could I not like it? Destined for a King features endearing characters who fight for what they believe in and fall in love. It’s definitely a heady mix that had me grasping for the next book. The book starts off with action and the pace is steady and quick. I found myself intrigued throughout the whole book and can’t wait for where the author will take us in the sequel!
The story begins with a fight, as Calista is defending her home, Blackbriar Keep. She ends up injuring the leader of the band of men that invade her home and they force her to heal him after her father surrenders the Keep. This man turns out to be Torch, who is fighting against the current king for the right to rule. I really liked Torch’s characterization and the other members of the Bastard Brotherhood that fights with him. They’re loyal to a fault, courageous, and not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, even if it’s considered treason. This attitude is exemplified with Torch, who is extremely proud of his heritage and beliefs. Calista was a spitfire heroine who was a bit conflicted in the beginning, but finds where her heart lay as the story progressed.
“‘You are destined for a king. Make certain you remember that, always.’”
The book highlights prophecy and fate, which is what ultimately guides the characters. While I do think that prophecies are a bit yawn-inducing, it definitely fit into the story quite well. As the title states, Calista is “destined for a king,” which is why her parents are very interested in her betrothal to the current, well, king. But what if that’s not the king the prophecy is talking about? When Torch enters the scene, claiming for the birthright, everything changes. While he’s trying to get Calista to marry him (due to more “fate” action at work here), she’s caught between her current loyalties and her newfound feelings to this warrior.
“‘Marriage to me is going to demand a lot of you.’ He leaned even closer, and his voice lowered to a husky rasp. ‘I’m going to need you. I need to know you’re with me.’
Gracious, what had that admission cost such a proud and independent man? ‘I am.’”
I thought the book had a delightful blend of politics, action, and romance. Calista may be a woman, but she can certainly defend herself – as she did against Torch in the very beginning of the book. She is also quite proficient in healing as well. I really adored her character, and thought that she complemented Torch really well. Although both were strong on their own, they also drew strength from the other. I thought Torch’s character was super endearing as well. He knew that he wanted Calista as his wife, but didn’t know how exactly to treat her as such. It was awkwardly hilarious to see him try to please and appease her with his actions while he didn’t know what exactly was going on.
The romance was honestly stellar and sexy times was a bonus! Reading from both Calista and Thorne’s perspectives gave readers a good grasp of each character and really allowed me to empathize with them. I also really enjoyed the author’s writing and the nonstop pace that the book offers. I was completely enthralled throughout the whole book and can’t wait to see which characters we focus on next! Destined for a King was exhilarating, compelling, passionate, and utterly captivating. Other books that captured the same historical/fantasy/romantic feel as this one that I’ve also adored are A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (review here) and The Winter King by CL Wilson. I really hope there are more books like these to come in my future reads!