Two years ago, after her crush on the princess became too much and they shared a kiss in a garden, Elsenna Hazen fled her job as main bodyguard for Her Highness, the Most Glorious Born on the 13th Day of Spring, Crown Princess Banyelle Geren. Now, Elsenna is well respected as Vice-Captain of the castle’s security forces, keeping a tight handle on law and order. If anyone knew she was working with rebels to overthrow the corrupt, bloodthirsty King, she’d be executed for treason.
Just as Elsenna and the rebels appear to be close to achieving their goal, she’s called back into service for Her Highness, guarding her from morning to night to ensure she’s safe in the current climate of social unrest. This leaves Elsenna with two big questions:
1 Can she still feed information to the rebels from Her Highness’s side?
2 What’s she to do with all those romantic feelings for Her Highness that never went away?
Tara: For a novella, I’m impressed by the character work in this one.
Michelle: So true! There is so much character development in such a short period of time and it really doesn’t impact the pacing at all. There is also a decent amount of representation in terms of different identities and abilities.
Tara: Everything is told in the first person from Elsenna’s perspective. We know immediately that she’s working with the rebels because that’s the first thing she tells us. I liked seeing the inner workings of someone living a double life, because we see the face she puts on for everyone else as well as her anguish at having enabled the terrible King.
Michelle: Elsenna’s anguish over her past actions really got to me. I just love the redemption arc of her story, it makes her real and instantly makes her a sympathetic character. I was a fan from her very first sentence which sets the tone for her character perfectly.
Tara: The princess is probably my favourite character, even though we don’t get insight into her thoughts in the same way we do for Elsenna. She’s blind, has strong friendships with artists, and is wildly underestimated. I loved seeing her go toe-to-toe with Elsenna and I would have happily read another several hundred pages about her.
Michelle: Yessss, Tara! I couldn’t agree more. I would love to read more about Her Highness, the Most Glorious Born on the 13th Day of Spring, Crown Princess Banyelle Geren. Her title alone is glorious. Seriously though, we only get to experience glimpses of her life, the loneliness, confinement, and suppression she endures, as well as her integrity and cunning, and I just want more.
The Writing Style
Tara: This was a super easy story to get into and I finished it in two evenings. If I didn’t have kids with bedtime routines that include me, I would have crushed this out in a single sitting.
Michelle: Same! I am only beginning to experience the impact of children and bedtime routines (and wouldn’t change it for the world), but I also would have breezed through this easily in one sitting, lacking these wonderful interruptions.
Tara: The only drawback for me was that the novella length didn’t allow for a whole lot of worldbuilding. I kept forgetting this is a sci-fi story, because it has more of a fantasy vibe to me, and then a word like “spaceport” would pop up again and I’d say “oh yeah…” as I remembered what the genre actually was.
Michelle: I really enjoyed the fantasy/sci-fi fusion concept that was happening (my two favourite genres!), but I agree with Tara here. There wasn’t enough of the science fiction aspect for it really to be considered a fusion. It would have made me a very happy camper to have the two genres more integrated, but the character work is exceptional and the relationship development and chemistry are lovely.
My Favourite Parts
Tara: Hands down, my favourite element is the princess. I would LOVE to read this from her perspective!
I also appreciate that it encourages readers to question whether someone can be forgiven if they’re complicit in a corrupt government, even if they’re part of the group responsible for taking that government down.
Michelle: Yes! So much this! I love a good redemption story and the ideas surrounding complicity and forgiveness are poignant and currently a propos. The exploration of coming to terms with your past decisions and actions, and then deciding how to go about rectifying them, is perfectly played out and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing it from the character in question’s point of view.
I also love being surprised and I admit, I did not see the twist coming in this one.
Tara: Me too! That was one of the biggest twists I’ve read all year!
Tara: For the squeamish readers, you should know that Elsenna gets tortured pretty badly at one point. We don’t see it happening on the page, but we learn about the aftermath and it’s not pretty.
Michelle: Agreed, and while I don’t have any issues with graphic imagery, I was actually a little surprised by this. It doesn’t seem to fit into the overall tone of the story, so is a little jarring.
Tara: This was a seriously fun little read! If you want a short, action-packed story with a cute romance, I recommend you pick it up.
Michelle: I was hooked from the very first sentence of this novella. There is so much awesomeness packed into a short and super enjoyable read that it is like the literary version of the TARDIS; bigger on the inside.
Excerpt from Glorious Day by Skye Kilaen
The princess loosed the belt, sighed, and refolded her hands in her lap. “I would like to ask your captain to reassign you as my escort until the end of the unrest. The other guards simply do not have your extensive experience. And you so often remind me, Lady Vissier, how particularly vulnerable I am.”
I hadn’t seen this punch coming. Being her bodyguard. Again. Not just the feeling of going back in time, but the reality. It took me a second to breathe again.
Antare had glanced up again at her name. Now, she smiled, wicked, making eye contact with me, and cut me off before I could protest. “What a surprising proposal. I’m sure everyone understands how the presence of the vice-captain might please you, Your Highness.”
“It’s a perfect solution,” Her Highness said brightly, either not deigning to acknowledge the innuendo or not counting it safe to do so. “My dear Lady Vissier agrees.”
Lady Vissier appeared a bit startled to hear that interpretation of her dig.
I had to get out of this, and not solely for my own comfort. My assistance to the rebels depended on being plugged into a stream of information I wouldn’t have if I were reassigned.
“Your Highness.” I tried not to sound desperate. “I suggest you take into consideration my role in keeping the entire complex secure. Stopping attackers at the far gate is better than beating them back from the front door. The staff assigned to you have my complete confidence.” Except Rodna, now that I’d been made aware of his on-duty indiscretion. He couldn’t protect her with his pants around his ankles.
Her Highness cocked her head. “Do you not have complete confidence they can protect the gates?”
The sinking feeling in my stomach intensified. There was no getting out of this. “Of course.”
“Then let me have you,” she insisted politely. Antare coughed to hide a laugh, but the princess paid her no notice. “Vice-Captain Proce and Captain Dowd can surely handle things without you for the duration. You will begin tomorrow.”
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Bits and Bobs
- AISN number: B08DTN13CN
- Publisher: NineStar Press
- Skye Kilaen Online
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