A Kingdom of Gods and Ruin
by Caroline Packham and Susanne Valenti
Book .5 in the A Game of Malice and Greed Series
Once upon a dark dream, the gods told me of our ruin,
But I wasn’t nearly as afraid as I should have been.
The walls of my world are crumbling, and it may be too late to save us.
The clock is ticking, and a cruel fate has been laid at my feet,
And now I am standing at a crossroads with the blade of destiny in my grip.
To strike would be to end us all, but staying my hand is not an option.
So perhaps it’s time to accept that my sins may cause the Fae to fall.
This is a prequel novella set 1000 years before A Game of Malice and Greed. Once upon a tangled tale of broken hearts and blackened souls, comes a brand new fantasy romance series retelling from the Wall Street Journal and Amazon #1 bestselling fantasy romance authors of Zodiac Academy. Step into this world of Fae, gods and curses unlike any retelling you’ve read before.
TW: Please be aware there is mention of rape in this story, though it is not described nor on page.
Trigger Warning: Rape - not described or written on page.
A Kingdom of Gods and Ruin is a prequel novella in Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti's new fantasy romance, A Game of Malice and Greed. It's a short read, and as a preorder incentive for A Game of Malice and Greed, it was sent out a couple weeks early (along with some great Orion and Darius POV chapters in the Zodiac Academy world).
While I do keep up with my favorite authors, and I knew this series was coming, I won't pretend I was in a rush to read it. That preorder incentive for the Lance and Darius POV chapters sucked me in though, and I preordered it. Since I paid for it, I figured I should actually read it. I gotta tell you - this prequel sucked me in, and I was hooked.
First of all, it felt very different from Caroline and Susanne's previous work. This is heavily fantasy, and we are once again in a Fae world, but there are a lot of elements that separate this from their Zodiac Academy world. Of course there are some similarities, but it felt very original despite them. The Twisted Sisters deserve some recognition for not leaning the world building in their wilding popular other series'. And yes, I know that the series is an Aladdin retelling. But this prequel felt very unique and I appreciate that.
For a novella, I felt very immersed in these characters. Not just our main character Kyra, but her family. How the sisters start out this novella, it feels bright, loving, almost perfect, and it ends feeling ... cloudy and grim. 120 pages, and I felt heartbroken for Kyra, and very invested in her story.
Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti's writing has obviously matured a lot since their beginner days. I went from being lukewarm at best about this series, to excited. I'm looking forward to reading the next book.
Kyra: "There are two cliffs,"
I said to her, the story we had both been told so many times by our father, causing a touch of deja-vu to echo around us.
Kyra: "The one you fall off blindly and the one you jump off freely."
Aalia: "Both hurt when you hit the ground,"
she replied shakily.
Kyra: "But I'd always prefer to see my fate coming for me."
Kyra: "Tell them I wanted a lifetime under the sky with them,"
I said slowly, my eyes on thee twins as my chest tightened and my resolve threatened to crack for the first time.
Kyra: "Tell them I loved them more than words could ever convey. And tell them ... not to wait to begin their adventures. I wasted my life looking at the horizon and never chasing it. The world was out there this entire time, and I never got to taste it."
Aren: "You'll come find us when it's done,"
he said firmly, and I managed a smile, a bittersweet smiles for that pretty wish. We both knew there would be no surviving this for mem. If by some miracle I ended the life of the emperor, I would never escape his guards.
Kyra: "I'll see you in the Garden one day if not,"
I swore to him.
Kyra: "Aalia and I will wait for you there on a swing seat just like the one beyond the river by the house."
His eyes roamed between mine, and I knew he was picturing her there now, her bare toes in the long grass, a sweet smile on her lips as she beckoned us over. She was at peace, waiting for us in the fullness of the flowers, a summer breeze in the air.
A tear tracked down his cheek and I raised my hand to brush it aside.
Kyra: "Live well for their sake,"
Kyra: "Find that adventure, love fiercely, die bravely. We'll meet again, brother."