Series: Foolish Kingdoms #2
Published by CreateSpace on July 25, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Romance
Source: I Bought It
A Hotheaded Prisoner
In the Kingdom of Summer, they say she's wild. Locked in a cage by the sea, Flare dreams of escape. She dreams of a lost world, known only in legends. The island is calling to her. And she won't let anyone keep her from it. Especially not him.
A Coldhearted Prince
They say he's cruel. Jeryn has crossed the ocean for the Trade, to bargain for those fierce, imprisoned creatures that make his skin crawl. By law, they're subjects meant for experimentation. And easy to despise. One girl in particular.
A Mythical Shipwreck
But on the cusp of transport, the tide rages. That uncharted island awaits. Stranded, the prince and prisoner must fight to survive. In this mysterious rainforest, they must band together...if they don't slay one another first. Or become something more to each other.
Something just as dangerous.
I did not expect to fall in love with ‘Dare’ as quickly I did with its predecessor ‘Trick’. Poet and Briar stole my heart completely and utterly and I really didn’t expect the magic to strike twice, no matter how amazing Natalia Jaster’s writing is.
Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only did I fall just as hard and just as deep for Flare and Jeryn (although granted, this ‘coldhearted prince’ took awhile to win me over) this book completely enthralled me every bit as much as ‘Trick’ did before it.
But I am getting away from myself again here. Lets get down to the business at hand, a review of ‘Dare’ the second book in the Foolish Kingdoms series.
My Review of Dare by Natalia Jaster
Flare is a mute young woman from the Kingdom of Summer who is imprisoned at a young age for being a born fool (the term given to those who suffer with madness or mental disabilities). Locked up from the age of ten, she longs for escape and a story about a mythical island captures her fancy. This is what keeps her going throughout the long years of her captivity.
Jeryn is a prince from the Kingdom of Winter and outwardly is as coldhearted as that season. Winter has long been the driving force of science and medical prowess. In order to gain test subjects for medical and other scientific experimentation; he travels to the Summer Kingdom to trade fools to study.
Jeryn is driven by the pursuit of knowledge and views these ‘fools’ as little more than lab rats; any sacrifice made in the greater goal of advancing medical research.
Flare despises Jeryn on sight and after he selects her for one of his test subjects, she vows to finally make her escape. Jeryn finds himself drawn to Flare’s fiery spirit but wants nothing more than to dowse her flames. When Flare escapes, Jeryn determines to bring her back into the fold and follows her to the ship she has absconded with.
After a storm flares up, Jeryn and Flare shipwreck on an island. One seemingly straight from the stories that Flare so loves. The two of them are forced to rely on each other for survival. Days turn into weeks which turns to months and then turns to years. Can Flare and Jeryn overcome their initial hostility of each other and will their reluctant co-operation turn to love?
Flare and Jeryn: An Unlikely Match
Well, Flare and Jeryn certainly snuck up on me and wormed their way into my heart. I loved and empathised with Flare right away. Jeryn – well he was another story! I was intrigued by him but I really didn’t like him at all at the start of the book. I didn’t see any way that he could be redeemed in my eyes yet alone how Flare could ever forgive or fall for him.
However, Natalia Jaster continues to surprise me with her characterisation. Jeryn’s development and eventual redemption felt deserved and earned by the close of the novel. His romantic relationship with Flare was very different from Poet and Briar’s connection in the first book but no less swoon-worthy. Another enemies to lovers tale but their enmity had even greater hurdles to overcome. Fortunately, the island they are marooned upon allows them the chance to truly see each other. And yes, fall for each other.
This is a romantic tale at heart, as well as one about overcoming past prejudices. As much as Jeryn fails to see Flare as a human being at the start of ‘Dare’ she is every bit as much prejudiced against him (though with good reason). This makes their connection feel more earned and grounded.
the other stuff
According to the word of god; ‘Dare’ is a retelling of Blue Lagoon. I did not initially know this going into this book though looking back it does make total sense. I did have some trepidation going into this book already and knowing this ahead of time may have put me off since I was not really a fan of that movie.
Reading ‘Trick’ well after the second book’s release also means I was able to move straight on to ‘Dare’ without a long wait in between. This can be a good thing but it can also be bad thing. Sometimes my love of the previous book can stifle my feelings moving on with the second; especially when the first book is so fresh in my mind. Thankfully, this did not happen with ‘Dare’.
Although the pace was somewhat slower than the first book, and the romance was certainly more of a slow-burn, it was a blindingly enthralling story. It kept me absolutely gripped the whole way through.
There weren’t as many side characters in this one though some old favourites do make an appearance or two! And who could forget about the valiant Little Knight? This little froggy companion is beyond adorable – and certainly stole the show in many ways!
Although it was as explicit in ‘Dare’ there was still some LGBT themes. A character (not saying who!) previously has a small dalliance with a member of the same-sex and this is not treated as something to hide from or brush under the carpet. Yay for diversity!
to sum up
As with the first book; mental health issues are a focus. Particularly with how Jeryn develops; his growing feelings for Flare and eventual realization of his previously wrongdoings. It’s all very good stuff and makes for an amazing plot within this fantasy world, that in some ways is not too different from our own.
I thoroughly enjoyed this second book and I cannot wait for more of this world (and since I’ve already read book three – it’s book four which I am now desperately waiting for!) It was especially clear to me that after finishing this book, Natalia Jaster has definitely made a fan for life!