Rating: 5 stars
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Colonel of Bellmere’s Army Corps of Engineers, Lord Vellum has found a place in life to be content. Son to an angry duke who drinks too much and rails against the monarchy, Vellum does just about anything he can to avoid returning to his childhood home with his alcoholic father and his queen-of-avoidance mother. When Vellum’s brother, husband to the king’s favorite cousin, arranges a marriage between Vellum and Perdith – the youngest prince of neighboring kingdom Tallideth – as part of a peace treaty, Vellum looks forward to this new chapter in his life.
Awaiting the departure of his wedding party, Vellum is taken by surprise when assassination attempts threaten to put a stop to his upcoming nuptials and end Vell’s life. But Vellum has never been one to go down without a fight. Making his way across the country and to his soon-to-be-husband, leaving behind a trail of assassins, bandits, and spies, Vellum finally arrives in Tallideth.
Tragedy strikes during the ball to celebrate the joining of the two countries by the marriage, when a bomb takes the lives of the entire royal family of Tallideth save Perdith and Vellum. Vellum never intended on being Regent of this new kingdom. His not-yet husband was the kingdom Treasurer, never trained in running a country. This new role thrust upon Vellum and Perdith’s shoulders threatens to end their fragile bond before it truly begins. Determined to find the group that killed Perdith’s family, Perdith and Vellum discover a mystery full of betrayal, conspiracy, and double-agents. And the further they delve into the mystery, the higher up the deception goes, threatening to not only tear their country, but sever the delicate bond between Vellum and Perdith themselves.
I adore Megan Derr’s writing. Derr’s characters, her detailed world building, and her intricate stories are among my very favorite of all time. The Engineered Throne has quickly become one of those favorites. I adore Vellum and Perdith, especially Vellum. And this world…well, I’ll go into detail in a minute. I was looking at my Goodreads shelf wondering more people haven’t read this book yet. What are you waiting for? Read this book!
Let’s talk about Vellum first. This is a man who carries the world on his shoulders. He would rather suffer than see the people that he cares for hurting. Vell is strong and very assertive. He’s goal oriented and doesn’t back down. I love that in his personal life and his professional life he still has room to grow, to make mistakes, and to move on. As great of a character as Vellum is in the beginning, he’s doubly so after his difficult journey throughout this story. I do wish we could have had Perdith’s side of things. He seems to be a quiet soul when he’s introduced, but he is forced out of that role and into the role of king quickly. He makes mistakes, they both do. He makes false assumptions and jumps to wrong conclusions. But at heart, Perdith is a level-headed, calm, forgiving man. Like I said, I would have loved to see into his mind a little bit, especially after the death of his family.
Okay, so this world that I’m so enthralled with is a fantasy world of epic proportions. Now, when I say fantasy, don’t jump to the conclusion that there is magic and fairies and mystical beings. Whereas, those things do belong to fantasy, they don’t belong to this story. This world is more high fantasy: kings, kingdoms, epic battles, creative races, oh…and dragons. You all know I love dragons. I love the separation of each country, the distinctions that Derr gives each group of citizens – the assassins, the spies, the turncoats, the innocent. Reading this story, I could almost see each aspect of this world unfolding – the layout of the land, the structure of the kingdoms, the inner workings of the royalty. It’s a fascinating world.
And I love that this story is more than a simple romance. It’s more than one simple storyline. This story is layer upon layer upon layer of information and plot. From the hidden agenda behind Vellum’s arranged marriage, to the many assassination attempts, to the murder of the entire royal family, to the joining of the Corps of Engineers and King’s Own to Tallideth forces. From the secrets of Vellum’s right hand man to the unexpected betrayal of a neighboring kingdom. From the fragile joining of Vellum and Perdith to the strength and stability of the King and Regent. From the strained relationship between Vellum and his parents to the strong bond he shares with his brother. I was enraptured in this story and didn’t want to come out.
I’m telling you right now, if you are a fan of fantasy, you will love this book. I could not have loved this book any more than I already do. I adore Vellum and Perdith. And let’s not even go into the secondary characters and the stories that I hope are coming soon. You should definitely read this book. I highly, highly recommend The Engineered Throne by Megan Derr.
Cover Art: I love this cover, also by Megan Derr. It gives readers the feel of the world before they even crack open the book. It’s beautiful.