This is the first book in the Sovereign series. I believe book 2 came out a couple of months ago.
This is the first book ever that I have been contacted directly by the author asking if I’m interested to read it. As she is self-published and marketing is even more difficult when you are doing it all on your own, I thought I would help out. The book sounded interesting and a gave it a try.
This ebook was provided to me by the author in return for an honest review. Thank you!
The Gilded King
by Josie Jaffrey
Synopsis by GoodReads
In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.
Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.
But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.
Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.
One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.
Eastern European setting
So, its a modern dystopian version of Underworld…? But with nice vampires? I got a major 90s flashback at the beginning of this book. Very Underworld type setting but lighter. The start was fairly slow and it took me some time to figure out the reason behind the story. But when it got going, it took off.
I found myself enjoying Cameron’s storyline a lot more than Julia’s. They do complement each other but I feel I get more information in Cam’s narrative while Julia just makes me confused.
The story is a dual perspective between Julia and Cameron which I really liked. Considered the scale of the story and the world, a dual perspective was a perfect fit. Any more than two could quickly have become too much, but only one wouldn’t have been enough.
Julia is human based in the Blue which from my understanding is some sort of fortress/temple/walled city somewhere in Romania. I have no idea why it’s called the Blue and it seems very random. Julia’s storyline is confusing in the beginning. The worldbuilding is very steep in the first chapter and there aren’t a lot of explanations for what is going on. At the same time, the story was slow and there wasn’t much story there for me to hold on too. It was very confusing and if hadn’t been reading it for review I probably wouldn’t have continued. Her story picks up but not until 30-40% in when Marcus gets thrown out and finally a mystery appears and she gets more purpose. I enjoyed the direction of the story once it picked up, but I also had a tendency to mix Julia and Claudia 😂. They are best friends and very often together and sometimes I would forget which one of them was actually the MC 😂.
Cameron is a vampire (or a Silver as they are called) and travels a lot looking for another Silver whos been missing for a very long time. Cameron’s side of the storyline is more interesting than Julia’s. It is straight into the action with a missing Silver, Emmy. He has a purpose, which I feel Julia lacks until the middle. When Cameron meets Felix and looks into his eyes (and all that 🥰) I was loving this storyline even more. I was all for that!
The two stories slowly meet and intertwine in a very nice way. It’s kind of subtle and kind of not. And then they join up towards the end as the action reaches a critical high. Still Julia and Cameron never really meet which is something I really liked.
For me, it was almost a bit too steep in the beginning and there weren’t a lot of explanations. But after a while, the steepness settles out and you get to enjoy the world. unfortunately, that was in the last quarter of the book. At that point, I had finally realised where in Europe we were and I had an understanding of the social systems and rankings.
Nope, just your good old vampires and zombies.
Julia is the human narrative and all she wants to do is serve the Nobles (Silvers). She gets put in various situations and push in several directions which moves the story along. I didn’t get Julia, I had some issues sympathising with her. I did, however, like her romance storyline and the conflict it brought into the story.
Cameron is the vampire (Silver) narrative and all he wants is to find Emmy, an old friend, who has gone missing. I liked Cameron from the start, probably because he had a drive, he needed something and was willing to look and fight for it. I absolutely love his romance storyline and I really wanted him to get it. I was rooting for him!
Yup! Partly at least. Loved it! Totally shipped it!
As a writer, I learned a lot about my own writing from reading this book. There were things we both do that I realised was very entertaining, like writing action between the dialogue, and some parts that weren’t so good, like the use of the word “so” anywhere in the text. I will stop using “so” in my text but I will add more action into my dialogue.
There were no spelling mistakes which was really nice, but I had two other issues about the writing. I felt some sentences were a bit heavy and long and I would forget what the sentence was about by the end and then had to re-read it. There were also some telling instead of showing which annoyed me and prevented the flow of my reading.
The pacing was fast and good and it felt right. Also, the progression of the story felt natural and I really enjoyed that.
An original self-published book on a dystopian setting with vampires and zombies.
I’m not the biggest fan of vampires. I don’t might them but they are so easy to become stereotypical. These vampires are not that, but they aren’t original enough for me to fully enjoy them either. Then when the zombies entered I was so used to the vampires all I thought was “well, of course, there would be zombies!”, rolled my eyes and continued reading.
I enjoyed this read even though most of that enjoyment was for the last half of the book. I’m glad I read it 🙂
Have you read this?
What did you think?