Review: Mark of Truth (Wicked Kingdoms, #1) by Graceley Knox

May 23, 2017 Review 0

Review: Mark of Truth (Wicked Kingdoms, #1) by Graceley KnoxMark of Truth by Graceley Knox
on May 23, 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 359
Source: Author
Sexual Content: Explicit sex scenes
Reviewed by: Rebecca
3 Stars

Ever Leath, leader of the deadliest crew within the Magical Enforcement and Containment Agency’s ranks, has always known she’s a half-breed—until a visit from her estranged mother changes everything. She’s determined to marry Ever off for political gain, no matter the consequences—even if it means Ever’s life.

Searching for the truth leads to disturbing doubts about Ever’s heritage, and just as answers appear, so does Dare Fitzpatrick. Captain of the Royal Goblin Guards and son to the current Goblin King, he claims he knows who Ever’s real father is and that she could be in danger. Ever doubts Dare, until he helps her escape the clutches of her would-be suitor and grants her shelter within the Goblin Kingdom.

Staying in Goblin, which has previously been off-limits to half-breeds, is a risk Ever has to take to keep everyone she loves safe. Neither of them planned on the fiery heat between them, but Dare won’t take no for an answer. Ever knows she can’t risk losing her heart to the cocky goblin, despite her attraction to him. At least that’s the plan.

Until it all falls apart.

MARK OF TRUTH hits every expected beat in an urban fantasy/paranormal romance. There’s the loyal teammates, the hunky love interest that she kinda hates, the adopted pets, the adopted child. The world of MARK OF TRUTH is expansive (sometimes to its detriment) and features several rival fae factions. Heroine, Ever McElva, is a leath cine, meaning half breed. She’s part elf and is pretty sure that she’s also part-human. As a half breed, Ever and her team were raised by, and work for, the Magic Enforcement and Containment Agency within the human realm. Ever might know how to handle herself in a fight but she’s off-balance when it comes to actually dealing with the fae courts. Unfortunately, MARK OF TRUTH’s complex world building doesn't quite explain the intricacies of the different factions of elves, fae, and goblins. The reader never gets the full scope of the long-standing history and bad blood.

The writing definitely feels a little stilted. The prologue was written in a high-fantasy style, which was interesting and well-done, but the rest of the book embraces the ‘urban fantasy voice’. There’s a lot of declarative sentences. A lot of telling instead of showing. Ever tells us a lot about herself, but I don’t think I ever truly knew her as a character. She’s sounds like every urban fantasy character ever. It clear Knox is aiming for a sprawling, complex world, but the sameness of the characters just turns complex into confusing. This sameness means that it isn't important to remember who is half-human, or half-elf, or half-goblin since all the characters are all beautiful ass-kickers.

Knox’s writing is best during the sex scenes. There’s more focus on touch and emotions, rather than telling us how aloof and cool our protagonist is. There’s tons of romantic and sexual tension between Ever and Dare. When Ever gets over the customary “oh no we can’t be together/I think I hate you” mindset, their chemistry is amazing. MARK OF TRUTH really needs to to relax, not stick so close to the urban fantasy voice and plot beats. I think once the author finds her voice the formulaic nature of the plot will be less apparent. There’s the potential for a great series buried underneath all those declarative sentences.

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  • For other books involving goblins or fae, check out The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison or Rosemary and Rue (October Daye #1) by Seanan McGuire
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