Review: The Veiled Kingdom by Holly Renee





Fleeing my father’s cruelty, the wicked king who robbed me of a future, I face death in the streets, caught between a rebellion and a tyrant’s reign.

Captured by those sworn to kill me, the rebels remain blind to my true identity—the missing daughter of the despised king. Faced with an impossible choice, I stand before them: join the rebels or face their blades.

Yet, Dacre, the son of the ruthless rebellion commander, becomes torn between suspicion and a desire that mirrors my own. He allows no one to touch me, tries to protect me, yet threatens me at every turn.

As secrets are weaved beyond our hidden realm, a fierce battle unfolds within me. As I get closer to the rebels, and their cause, my loyalty to my kingdom clashes with my undeniable devotion to Dacre and the burning connection between us.

In a world where love and hate are two edges of the same blade, I find myself caught in a delicate dance between forbidden desire and my looming destiny.


Reviewed by Dakota Watson

The Veiled Kingdom by Holly Renee drew me in with its promising premise. In the beginning, I found myself invested in the plight of the kingdom’s people, trapped between the oppressive rule of a tyrant king and the relentless rebellion seeking to recruit or eliminate any who dared to escape. The world building laid a decent enough foundation, and Renee’s writing style carried a certain appeal.

Yet, as I delved deeper into the narrative, I couldn’t shake the feeling of disappointment. Plot holes riddled the storyline, leaving gaping voids in the logic of the tale. Characters appeared, only to vanish without a trace, without contributing anything to the narrative. The lack of coherence left much to be desired, with numerous threads left dangling, begging for resolution. What frustrated me most was the lack of significant events throughout the book. Instead of a riveting plot filled with twists and turns, I found myself wading through endless passages of military training and superficial romance. While the physical attraction between the main characters was palpable, it overshadowed any meaningful development or progression within the story.

As the plot of The Veiled Kingdom stumbled along, its execution left much to be desired. The sheer implausibility of Nyra’s identity remaining a secret throughout the narrative bordered on the absurd. It felt as though the characters stumbled blindly through the story, their obliviousness to Nyra’s true nature becoming increasingly laughable with each passing chapter.

My frustration peaked when it became evident that Holly Renee had chosen to prioritize the shallow romance between Nyra and Dacre over the rich tapestry of political intrigue and rebellion that initially drew me to the story. From the midpoint onwards, the narrative veered sharply away from the suffering kingdom and the complexities of the rebellion, instead fixating solely on the physical attraction between the two protagonists.

Even when Nyra’s long-dormant powers resurfaced—a development with significant implications for the entire kingdom—they were inexplicably relegated to the background. The characters, much like the author herself, seemed content to brush aside this crucial aspect of the plot, ignoring it as readily as they had when Nyra was powerless.

Holly Renee’s portrayal of Nyra lacked the depth and development necessary for me to truly connect with her on an emotional level. As the narrative unfolded, Nyra felt more like a vessel for the plot rather than a fully realized character with her own desires and motivations. Throughout the story, Nyra’s behavior often struck me as contradictory and inconsistent. On one hand, she lamented her sense of confinement, whether it be within the confines of the kingdom or amidst the rebellion’s ranks. Yet, in the same breath, she expressed a sense of security and belonging with the very group she claimed to feel imprisoned by. This internal conflict felt unresolved, leaving me puzzled by Nyra’s shifting perspectives and priorities.

Furthermore, Nyra’s lack of a clear plan or sense of direction upon joining the rebellion only added to my frustration. Instead of seizing agency and forging her own path, she appeared passive and indecisive, easily swayed by her burgeoning physical attraction to Dacre. Her apparent weakness and susceptibility to temptation diminished her credibility as a protagonist, leaving me questioning her ability to drive the narrative forward.

Dacre left me thoroughly unimpressed with his inflated ego and overbearing demeanor. His character had a sense of false grandeur, masking his true nature as nothing more than an arrogant individual with a penchant for belittling others, particularly Nyra. His relentless arrogance and penchant for dominance grated on my nerves, as he seemed more interested in asserting his superiority than forming any genuine connection with Nyra. Basically he was being an utter jackass!

What truly irked me was Dacre’s blatant disregard for Nyra’s agency and boundaries. His possessive and jealous tendencies only served to exacerbate his already unlikable persona, leaving me questioning his suitability as a romantic interest. Even when faced with the revelation of Nyra’s true identity, his selfish desire to indulge in one last physical encounter with her spoke volumes about his shallow priorities and lack of genuine concern for her wellbeing.

Despite the abundance of intimate scenes that filled the pages of The Veiled Kingdom, the supposed emotional connection between Nyra and Dacre fell disappointingly flat. For a narrative that purportedly centered around their relationship, the depth of their connection felt superficial at best, lacking the emotional resonance necessary to invest me in their romance. Dacre’s incessant desire to assert ownership over Nyra, coupled with her seemingly endless willingness to submit to his dominance, painted a troubling picture of their dynamic. Rather than fostering a sense of mutual respect and understanding, their relationship seemed to revolve solely around power dynamics and physical attraction, devoid of any genuine emotional depth.

In the end, The Veiled Kingdom fell short of its initial promise. While it held the potential for a gripping tale of rebellion and intrigue, it ultimately failed to deliver, leaving me longing for a more fulfilling read.

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