"City of Kings," by Bree M. Lewandowski
second chances / dystopian romance
Lovers once. Enemies now.
How hot does hurt and hatred burn before the flames consume everything?
She was the ruin of his heart, the reason he swore he'd never come back to Illinois. Yet when a commanding officer sends Judah Grane on obligatory guard-detail to Chicago for the Quarterly Council of Kings, nightmares from that past come back to haunt him.
And God has a funny sense of humor...
Maive Greene has worked hard for the life she has. There's been no one along the way to help. Now, engaged to Chicago's City King, she can finally see her future and everything she hopes to accomplish.
Until the man she once loved appears.
Betrayed by each other years ago, yet suddenly thrown together in a strange twist of fate, neither can see how this will end...
Scandal threatens and hearts never healed might break anew! Get lost in this wildfire dystopian second chances romance!
All right, people, let’s do this thing! Today I’m reviewing a second chances/dystopian romance entitled City of Kings by an up-and-coming author, Bree M. Lewandowski. She has several other books out, but this is her most recent release and the only one I’ve had the pleasure of reading… thus far. ‘Cause believe you me… I intend to check out her other works posthaste.
This was a quick read, yet it’s clear Ms. Lewandowski put a lot of love into creating her world. In fact, after I finished reading, the first thing I did was reach out to confirm this was the first of a series. Because, seriously, it needs to be. Sadly, she said this is a standalone, but if enough readers beg her, she might consider delving into this intriguing little world a bit further. Ergo, this is my all-call for those of you who choose to go pick up a copy and read this for yourself (which I highly encourage!): Send a begging, pleading note requesting more Unitum Civitatem when you’re done!!
Okay, now that my personal plea is over and done, let’s get down to the actual review you’re all here for. I was impressed by Ms. Lewandowski’s writing. It wasn’t overly flowery, but it was beautiful in its simplicity. It provides a distinct voice to her as an author, and like I already mentioned, her world building… spot on, folks.
My only real gripe that prevents this from being a full-on five-star read is a lack in distinct character voice. This is primarily due to and compounded by the shallow third POV and the occasional head-hop that, as always, causes a disconnect between the reader and the character. However, the head-hopping is on the occasional side, not a frequent, painful occurrence. It’s clear Ms. Lewandowski is aware of the writing snafu, and mostly avoids it, but simply missed a few stragglers in the editing process. This happens to the best of us.
Aside from that, the storyline and subplots are refreshingly original. Sure, there are tropes involved, because let’s be honest: tropes exist for a reason (because they work!) and avoiding them is dang near impossible. But Ms. Lewandowski does a phenomenal job of utilizing them in subtle ways that don’t overpower or steal from her overarching plot.
In a way, this is a bit of a “girl power” book, and I kind of adore it for that. Especially since Ms. Lewandowski doesn’t go over the top with it, she simply lets Maive, our heroine, rock it out without shoving it down our throats. And Judah? He’s a total toughy, but with a soft heart. I love that he doesn’t try to steal Maive’s moments, never belittles her, and encourages her fierceness rather than looking down his nose at her because of it. Totally not your typical military man, especially in a dystopian society.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read. Ms. Lewandowski is a skilled writer, a beautiful world builder, and a strong story teller. I’m looking forward to seeing what else she has up her sleeve!
Until next time,