3 out of 4 stars
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Two of the three great kingdoms of Al Kunooz—Valoria and Intellectus—share a checkered history of war and bloodshed. Both kingdoms sign a peace treaty to stop the war and ensure peace between them. As they move to solidify this treaty by forming a marriage alliance between the royal families, tensions arise, and doubts set in.
Zeina and her brother, Zane, are the children of the royal family of Valoria. Both kingdoms have arranged for them to marry the crown prince and princess of Intellectus—Adam and Amber—to solidify their alliance. Despite Zeina's yearning for freedom, she understands the role she has to play in protecting her kingdom. However, after the royal family of Intellectus pays a visit to Valoria, Zeina takes a dislike to Adam and doesn't miss out on any opportunity to goad or taunt him. When the two weddings are suddenly moved forward, she suspects something is amiss. Fearing war, she seeks answers. Why was the treaty between Valoria and Intellectus so important? Why were the weddings moved forward? Did Zeina find the answers she sought? Did she change her mind concerning Adam?
Valoria: Heirdom was a riveting read and the first book in the Valoria series. Tayma Tameem told an intriguing tale of loyalty, love, death, courage, and betrayal. From the introduction of the brave and compassionate Zeina to the stories about war, the visit of the royal family, and the period of the wedding preparations, this was a well-written story. I liked that Tameem captivated my attention with the depth and detail of each character's personality. It helped me understand the reasons behind their actions better. One such instance was my understanding of Zeina's compassion when she visited the town healer with gifts. Another was Adam's protectiveness when he disagreed with Zeina's methods of helping his sister learn to ride a horse. What I liked most was how the story often threw me into fits of laughter. The use of humor in the conversations made the characters feel more realistic and relatable. One instance was when Adam came back from boot camp with a beard and tried to hug Ameera, his baby sister.
The author's use of similar-sounding names threw me off a bit and slowed my reading. I had to go back several times to confirm which name was for which character. The similarity between these names caused the author to mix them up a few times. One such instance was where she used Zac instead of Zaki (page 350). This was my biggest issue with this book. I also didn't like that the author's writing was ambiguous in some sections of the story. For instance, when the monarchs spoke of the kingdom across the sea on page 584, they said:
This was a confusing statement given that Tranquilium was one of the kingdoms of Al Kunooz, and the kingdom across the sea was another entity entirely. It got me wondering whether Tranquilium wasn't a part of Al Kunooz and if it was indeed the kingdom across the sea.The Tranquilium greatly outnumber us. And I do not simply mean they outnumber Valoria. I mean all of Al Kunooz.
I noticed a few grammatical errors while reading, but there weren't enough instances. Consequently, I would say that Valoria: Heirdom was professionally edited. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The story was thrilling and relatable, even though it was set in an era long before ours. Sadly, the mix-up of character names and the few confusing sections of dialogue can confuse readers and dent their enjoyment of the story. I deducted a star for these two reasons. Overall, this was still a fun read, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series. I recommend it to lovers of epic adventures with a little mystery and romance.
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