Hi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.
Before I get started, I’d like to say I read/reviewed >20 books this month–so getting to be my Top Pick is kind of a honor. (Though I will admit that winning my favor is a rather dubious honor…I’m pretty instinctual which is why I connect so well with the protaganist of the book I’m featuring.) And, I wish to highlight my own accomplishment–turning 40 this week. If you read MY BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY post, you’ll know why I’m feeling pretty stoked about reaching this milestone, and you might could win yourself $40. So, there’s that.
This month I’m sharing FIRST DAUGHTER from my friend Susan Kaye Quinn. It’s the third (final?) book in her Dharian Affairs trilogy. I make the question mark because, with Sue one never knows if a series is ever “finished,” but where she left it right now is very complete story-wise. Is she ever travels back to Dharia, it will be with a whole new storyline.
About the book:
Skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue…
With the war begun, Aniri, Third Daughter of the Queen, has to battle not only a prince with a deadly skyship, but her own sister, the First Daughter, who finally sees her chance to become Queen. With their mother gravely ill and the Second Daughter kidnapped along with Aniri’s husband-to-be, Aniri embarks on a desperate mission to save the people she loves from a war that will tear all three countries apart.
First Daughter is the third book in the The Dharian Affairs Trilogy (Third Daughter, Second Daughter, First Daughter). This steampunk-goes-to-Bollywood (Bollypunk!) romance that takes place in an east-Indian-flavored alternate world filled with skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue. And, of course, kissing.
I’ve read both previous books in this fast-paced, steampunk romance series and I had high expectations for the finale. Those were exceeded!
In FIRST DAUGHTER we connect with Aniri, our high-spirited princess, on the brink of leading her country to war. Well, sorta. I mean, she’s not QUITE queen of Jungali, the land where she WOULD be queen if her wedding hadn’t been crashed by bombs dropped from a heretofore unknown Samirian skyship. She may have even married Ash, prince of Jungali, and gone to battle with him–if he haddn’t been kidnapped for ransom by Samirian forces.
Still, Aniri knows she is going to hunt down Natesh, the wayward second son of Samir who has not only provoked war, he has Ash and Aniri’s pregnant sister (Seledri) in his control. Oh, and his assassins almost succeeded in killing Aniri’s mother.
It’s a tense time, and Aniri’s eldest sister, Nahali, is now in control of Dharia as their mother convalesces. Nahali is brilliant, but cold. She has a longheld jealousy for the capricious Aniri and is not inclined to seek rescue of Aniri’s beloved, not when vengeance is sweeter and warranted.
It’s up to Aniri to wage a battle on many fronts: to convince Nahali to move slowly, and allow a rescue of both Ash and Seledri, while also seeking to foment rebellion in Samir. Aniri is sure assisting Seledri’s husband Pavan to rise to the throne will remove the threat of war, but she must go undercover in Samir in order to find Pavan, first.
So, we get a whole lotta intrigue, espionage, clockworks, and daring maneuvers in FIRST DAUGHTER. Aniri rises to the top, pushing for peace while scouring all avenues for signs of Ash and Seledri. One thing that princess won’t abide is leaving them to Natesh’s murderous whim.
It is a full-tilt race to not only rescue the two people most central to Aniri’s heart, but to disable Natesh’s armada of skyships that are poised to invade and bomb her homeland into oblivion.
At it’s core, FIRST DAUGHTER is a tale of constant love–familial and romantic. There are many positive examples of loving couples, and of people going beyond all borders to save those they love–Aniri foremost because she tells this tale, but also Pavan who is determined to reclaim his wife, and Janak–steadfast protector of the Queen who is inexorably in love with her and seeks to avenge her wounding.
The climax is nothing other than brilliant, with battling skyships and a weapon of mass destruction poised to decimate the Samirian war complex. Everything happens just as I hoped it would, but not in the order I had expected, leaving me turning the pages in haste to get to the ending I needed–faster.
If you are a fan of this series you will not be disappointed. For all that it’s a love story, the prose is innocent and appropriately-paced. There is no instalove, just affection growing over time and in volume. Aniri is a good protaganist. She makes mistakes and she owns them. She strives hard to protect and save not only her own loves, but to help her sister make decisions that will benefit their world.
I loved getting lost in the steampunk elements and the East Indian flavor of Dharia, Samir and Jungali. It is rare to see a culture of “color” and a matrilineal society in literature, but this world is rendered beautifully. I appreciated the lengths to which the author went to create a society that celebrates women, not only for their beauty and status, but for their courage and ingenuity. It is a place in which I would like to live.
Interested? You can find FIRST DAUGHTER on Goodreads, Amazon, Nook, iTunes and Kobo. I received an ARC from Sue because we are friends, and because I hounded her for the end of the series, and because I’d probably read her grocery lists if they were available–I’m just that big a fan of her writing.
The two previous books in the series: THIRD DAUGHTER and SECOND DAUGHTER are phenomenal and should probably be read first, on account of lots of story points that are working through FIRST DAUGHTER. Please click their titles for review and purchase links.
THIRD DAUGHTER is currently FREE on all digital outlets, so you can get started on this series!
Thanks for popping in, today. I hope you’ll hop over to my fellow coffeehousers and see what books they recommend this month. And, as always, keep reading my friends!