Cover Image: Realm of Knights

Realm of Knights

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Member Reviews

This book is confused.

There’s nothing glaringly problematic with it, and the plot itself has some good ideas. Unfortunately, the execution proved terrible. In my opinion, the biggest contributing factor was the writing style: very matter-of-fact, with the rhythm of an essay but without personality, that made everything sound flat, emotionless. I felt disconnected from the protagonist the entire time; the stakes, though high, never hit me; and the poor imagery never charmed its way in my hand, creating then a bleak, dull adventure. Moreover, the narrative ditched logic about half-way through, relying on an inconsequential series of events rather than a bonding, thematic thread, eventually ending with a nonsense “cliffhanger”.

There’s not much to talk about for me because, overall, I felt like I’ve read the general idea of a story, not its final, polished draft. It wasn’t engaging, provocative, or even a nice way of passing time. I'm saddened for my disappointment because I was really looking forward to like this book, but I absolutely don't recommend this.

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I absolutely loved this binge-worthy tale with its original plot, wonderful characters, and strong, capable women. Familial duty, sexism, loyalty, trust, betrayal, intrigue, truth, friendship, moral questions, and survival are some of the underlying themes. Reid does a terrific job navigating the world as a man, but is still trying to find her place and comfort level as a woman while at the same time figuring out who her true friends are. This book unfortunately ends with an evil cliffhanger, and I’m already dying of curiosity to see what happens next.

I was given a free copy of Realm of Knights, but that did not affect my review.

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Thank you Netgalley for sending me and ARC in exchange of an honest review.
Since the day Reid was born, she has pretended to be a boy/man at her father’s direction. As the youngest daughter of one of the wealthiest landowners in the kingdom, the only way her father can pass on his land is to a son, so this was his solution. Unfortunately, they are now in a bit of a situation. Everyday Reid struggles with keeping her secret and when one of Marsden’s princes sees her sparring, she is forced into an agreement. In order to protect her father and family, she needs to lead her father’s troops to the border and work with the prince on a secret task. She eventually learns of the covert organization called the Knights of the Realm and finds herself right in the middle of Marsden’s secrets.
I thought that the characters in the book have a good relationship and Reid was a strong main character. I felt that Reid grew well in the book and the changes of her relations between other characters was done well too.

overall I really enjoyed the book and the ending was diffidently a great point for book two. I like the world building in this book too.

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3.5 stars

Realm of Knights by Jennifer Anne Davis is the first book in the Knights of the Realm series and when I came across this one, I immediately added it to my TBR. It had everything I typically look for in a book and I’m glad I picked it up.

This book centers on Reid Ellington. Since the day Reid was born, she has pretended to be a boy/man at her father’s direction. As the youngest daughter of one of the wealthiest landowners in the kingdom, the only way her father can pass on his land is to a son, so this was his solution. Unfortunately, they are now in a bit of a situation. Everyday Reid struggles with keeping her secret and when one of Marsden’s princes sees her sparring, she is forced into an agreement. In order to protect her father and family, she needs to lead her father’s troops to the border and work with the prince on a secret task. She eventually learns of the covert organization called the Knights of the Realm and finds herself right in the middle of Marsden’s secrets.

The story revolves around the kingdom of Marsden and the fact that the current king is being threatened by his uncle who happens to be king in another country. Reid needs to navigate the truth to figure out what really is going on and she doesn’t really start to learn what she needs to know until it’s almost too late to turn back. I can’t say too much here but there are some political secrets that could make things very dangerous.

As for characters, I thought Reid was a solid MC. There were times that she did something I had to shake my head at but overall, I thought she showed solid growth throughout the story. I liked how Davis reflected the changes in Reid’s relationships with Knox and Harlan when they find out who she really is, and I appreciate her attempt to make them realize she’s still the same person.

Reid’s relationships with the princes (Ackley and Gordon) were interesting. I thought I knew who her love interest was going to be, but all the twists made my guesses completely wrong. Adding the king’s agenda to the mix was an interesting challenge for Reid and it really showed how much she doesn’t know and needs to learn.

Secondary characters were great. I mentioned Knox and Harlan before along with the princes, but we also get introduced to the princess, Idina, who has a fairly important role, both in the Realm as well as the story. I like that we got a peek into Reid’s relationship with her family too.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. With the way this one ended I will definitely be picking up book two. I can’t wait to learn more about the other kingdom and its prince. I am also looking forward to seeing how Reid gets along. If you haven’t added this one to your TBR yet, definitely consider it. The story is interesting, the characters are well developed, and there are a number of twists and turns that will keep you wondering what will happen next.

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Realm of Knights by Jennifer Anne Davis was my first book by her and I loved every last bit of it! It had a historical fiction feel to it while maintaining original story and the author’s creative spin. It reminded me of King Arthur and his knights with a loosely based Mulan twist. I devoured this book in two days flat. This is a plot where men oppress women until they need one to fix their mistakes. The main character sacrifices her fundamental being to masquerade as her father’s male heir and save generations of hard work her family’s done to keep their land. Along the way she discovers politics, court life and espionage. She realizes there are perks for both genders and her unique upbringing makes her the only one that can help the Royalty. It was an intense and addictive read with a fast paced plot and tons of curveball twists, the ending being the worst one of all. I am beyond excited to get my hands on the sequel. Absolutely stunning start to a brand new series!

I want to thank Netgalley and the publishers at Reign Publishing for this opportunity to review an early copy as well as introducing me to another great author! I look forward to more by her!

“Friends are rare. I’d rather not lose one over something so stupid. Don’t you agree?”

I absolutely loved Harlan and Reid’s relationship. After Reid’s identity is revealed, yes he acted weird because he always thought that Reid was a man but then he chose to embrace the truth rather than judge and leave her without a friend. He is a man of principles and throughout I kept relating him and his calming morality with Azriel from Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorn and Roses series (ACOTAR). They are very similar men in both demeanor and principle. Their friendship was adorable and he stuck with her through it all. Out of her four friends, he is hands down the only one who didn’t baby her because she was a woman. He treated her the same and respected decisions as if she were an equal.

“There’s nothing wrong with a woman who knows her place,’ said Gordon. The fork slipped through Reid’s fingers, clanking onto her plate. She hastily picked it up, hoping no one noticed her faux pas. She couldn’t believe Gordon had just said that. Anger coursed through her.”

My jaw pretty much fell through the floor after I read this. Gordon is the middle prince and his impending marriage would make you think that he wasn’t blinded by their society’s view of women. I was just as shocked as Reid and like her I expected more from him. He seemed wise for his 21 years and whether this was to appease his fiancée who definitely fits this subservient role, he shouldn’t have said something he didn’t believe. And Ackley mentions later how his brother’s type is the exact opposite of his bride. Now who’s being someone they aren’t? This was a shocking scene and I look forward to more grovelling from him to recover and fix this fundamental difference in opinions between him and Reid. Their attraction is undeniable and I’m hoping he ditches his new bride for Reid but only after he dissolves the marriage because Reid deserves that much.

“Ackley leaned in. ‘Control your eyes. If they could unleash fire, you’d have burnt my brother to a crisp by now.”

I loved Ackley’s character. He was dark and mysterious and full of wise cracks like this one. He could joke with Reid one minute and threaten her the next and it blossomed into a great friendship, as odd as that sounds. He became a friend who saw the value Reid could offer and extended an invitation to an elite post as one of Knights trained in combat and espionage. This whole concept made the story so much better and Ackley’s hilarious dialogues just leapt off the page. He reminds me a little of the trickster god, Loki and he certainly had the power and skill to back up all of his talk.

“You belong to me.’ Her spine straightened. She belonged to no one but herself.”

You go girl! This quote speaks for itself. Reid is definitely playing a dangerous game and threats are a dime a dozen for her. Even with everything on the line she does not compromise who she is or what she believes in and her feminist ways are so awesome to read! This is a world dominated by men and she knows it but she won’t let that get her down. She wants more for herself and she will not rest until she gets it!

“The cool, crisp air was refreshing. She reveled in the fact she was in public in pants and a tunic- the clothes she was most comfortable in—while being herself. A woman. She didn’t have to walk or talk like a man or cover her hair. She could be Reid. Just Reid. The thought brought tears to her eyes.”

The kingdom of Axian has me intrigued. I really want to see how Reid handles her new arrangement and how more time in Axian will change her opinion between its differences to her home in Marsden. Her brief time in this foreign kingdom gave her a glimpse into a future where she can be exactly who she wants to be and this is everything she dreamed of. I hope her duke’s ring from her father has the same sway in this place as it does

for Marsden or it won’t be much help. Axian’s royalty seemed to be more reasonable than those Reid’s already dealt with so I have high hopes she excels here but I won’t know until I have my hands on the sequel! I will impatiently wait and bide my time for it haha!

When you make a reader get riled up over scenes and characters as much as I was, you know that it was a success. This book is hands down a 10/10! Well done!

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This book is full of twists and turns.Reid ,the main character in this book is a girl that dresses like a boy and is her fathers heir.She is recruited by the kings brothers as a spy and eventually a knight.There are a lot of little sub plots throughout the book.
It is a fast paced read centered around the main character.#netgalley#realmofknights#jenniferannedavis

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Sometimes, YA books are complex and filled with compelling, deep characters who are just waiting to be explored. Sometimes, YA books are completely set at the surface level and filled with tropes. Even more rarely, we find a book that is somewhere in the middle. Tropes abound, but the concept is interesting enough that you can forgive them and hope that the next book bridges the gap.

Realm of Knights falls into the last category. Reid Ellington is the fifth daughter of a duke (named Duke Ellington - can we talk about how distracting that is for somebody who is musically aware??) and has been raised as a boy to keep the line of inheritance intact. She is quickly found out by an astute princely observer and is blackmailed into using her unique skills in service to the kingdom. In the meantime, a dash of romance and a fair shake of feminism are thrown into the mix.

One of the themes that I hope is explored more is the role of women in the world of Marsden and its cousin country, Axian. Accepting your role in society and pushing the boundaries have to be deeply important to Reid and I'd love to see this explored more in the future.

I found myself caring about Reid, but only at a high level. She was a somewhat flat affect, and never seemed to explore what it means that she has had to bend her entire life to represent something she is not. The idea of exploring her identity and how being raised as a boy might have impacted that identity is very serious and is almost entirely unexplored. Maybe this will be there in book 2 (there is clearly a book 2, even perhaps a book 3 in mind here).

The romantic interest was even more of a flat affect. As a reader, I often find myself wanting to understand attraction, even if I find the person neutral or even unattractive. If I can see why the person attracted is attracted, I'm in for the ride either way. For a half a second at the beginning of the book, it felt like we might be in a love triangle. This is resolved by the author several times over the course of the book by her literally saying, with no context, that one option is a friend and the other is attractive. No reasons are cited, I'm not led there at all - we just have to take it because the author (not even really Reid) says so.

Ultimately, I'm quasi-neutral on this book. I'd read the second one if it is readily available to me, but is this one I'll dash out and pre-order the second book? Nope. Quick, easy read but there is so much more that could be done here and I hope that will be the goal if the next installment.

**My thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.**

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I enjoyed following Reid on her adventures throughout the story. The book was full of suspense, plot twists, and adventure. Reid is the main character in the book, having grown up her whole life acting, dress, being a man in every possible way she gets sent on an adventure that requires her to step out of her comfort zone and actually portray herself as a woman which she has never done and is not comfortable with. In her time of living women are to be seen not heard. They must be escorted at all times and do other "boring" things. She is outspoken and never had to follow these rules in society. She meets two princes who change her world by bringing her on these quests and you never quit know who to trust or who is really helping who. She meets a secret society of a realm of knights who want her a part of their team since she can play both male and female roles which could help them infiltrate things. However, things are never as they seem and she quickly starts to realize it is getting harder to determine what is the truth and what someone wants you to think or know just to get their way. I want to thank Netgalley for the chance to read this book before it hits the shelves. I enjoyed this book so much I read it in a day. I couldn't not put it down. I look forward to following Reid on her journey especially after that cliffhanger ending!

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I'm a fan of the gender swapping trope, so I enjoyed the parts where Reid, the MC, dealt with the social injustices she suffered as a woman. The plot itself, while a bit confusing due to it's complexity, was also intriguing.

This book had a lot of potential, between its plot and characters and all, but it really could've been executed better. Some of the writing felt a bit off - it didn't flow properly at times. Worse than that, Reid was more of a pawn than an active participant. She needed to be coerced into taking on her role, and every action she took was the result of others' cunning plots. I could feel her being pushed around the chess board, but she's pretty naive and just follows orders. I blame her upbringing. Even though she's been raised as a man, she's never been out among society, and is completely out of her depths when she's taken to court and faces all the political maneuvering. She's unprepared, and doesn't even know she is.

I also think all the fuss everyone makes about her ability to use swords in a man's world was overdone. Even if she is a good fighter, she's nowhere near ready for the tasks she was given. You'd think they would've trained her a bit. Plus, even though her neighbors and friends grew up thinking her a man, I don't see how she can pass as one the rest of the time. Especially since she's hardly an ugly woman.

Ok. I had a lot of issues with this book, but ignoring those, this book ended on a sort of cliffhanger, with a lot of unanswered mysteries. I'd be interested in reading the next book, if only to satisfy my curiosity on those points.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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A super-interesting plot with heaps of potential, which was unfortunately suppressed by mediocre execution, cut-out characters, and semi-odd pacing.

Due to legal and social issues preventing women from inheriting land and titles in the kingdom of Marsden, Reid has spent her entire life pretending to be a man. I had high expectations for her, but unfortunately she became an unrealistic Mary-Sue of sorts. She becomes a spy, uncovers (and stops) an assassination attempt, goes on a super-secret mission, etc, and everybody is so impressed with her. She’s boyish when her hair is up, but when it’s down everybody can’t stop staring. You know those movies where the nerdy girl takes off her glasses and suddenly the coolest guy in her school falls in love with her at first sight? That’s what this reminded me of. And while she’s supposed to be exceptionally skilled and smart, she often proves herself to be naive and whiney. The male characters suffer the same fate: set up to be tough and complex, we see nothing that actually portrays them that way.

The writing is pretty choppy at times, which annoyed me more than I could convey in words.

“Reid removed her cape.
She hated when people called her Ellington.
It reminded her of her father.
A few of the men standing around slapped her back as she climbed over the fence.
Since everyone knew her as the duke’s male heir, they expected certain things from her.
Like knowing how to fight so she could lead Ellington’s soldiers if needed.”

There is also a whole bunch of things “going through her”:

“An ominous feeling spread within her.”
“Fear shot through her.”
“Relief flooded through Reid.“
“A tingly sensation brushed along Reid’s spine.”

The pacing is quite detrimental to the story, as well. Readers have no clue how much time has passed, and everything goes so quickly. At one point a character asks something, and shortly after Reid refers to that interaction as something that happened weeks ago. It’s extremely fast-paced, which generally isn’t something I’d ever have an issue with, but this application reminds me of something I’d read on Wattpad, not a published novel.

Despite the fact that I didn't love the first instalment, this trilogy is something I wouldn't mind continuing just so I could find out what happens to Reid. I’d also really love to stick around to see how the author grows in her craft— I just know there's potential for something absolutely amazing here.

And just because it’d be basically criminal of me to finish this review without talking about that cover: it’s GORGEOUS. Have you ever seen something so pretty?

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I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Reid has grown up pretending to be a man, so that her father the Duke can pass his land to his son aka Reid. Because in this kingdom women aren't allowed to hold tiles, or even leave the house without the protection of a man by their side. But living as a guy has given Reid her freedom, and even allowed her to learn to fight with swords which she would have not even touched if it wasn't for her disguise.

But when two princes(Ackley: the friendly brother and Gordon: The brooding prince who is clearly attracted to her) arrive they recruit her, to serve their kingdom. As she can be both a man and a women, depending on the situation. In return they offer her father the freedom to make her his heir if he wishes.

It was really great to see her struggle at becoming a lady, as it came with restrictions she wasn't used to. She is given tasks which she isn't shy to back down from. But obviously things are not exactly the way they seem, and the enemy of the kingdom isn't what it seemed either.

This was a fast paced story, with a hint of romance but the main focus was on the treatment of women. Even though I really enjoyed the book overall at times it felt like I was reading a novella because of the pacing, as a lot happened in a very short amount of time.

I also feel like the relationships that developed between the characters seemed rushed, even though there was little romance. But the way the book ended, I am looking forward to see what happens and get to know the new character that we briefly got to see in this book.

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I received a free copy of this book in an exchange for an honest review.

This book really struck me as a more complex Mulan. This book represents the fight for equality, and the moral struggles of blindly following society.

This book really hit home for me as I have also experienced the feeling of not belonging anywhere, and that drove my connection to this main character! I absolutely can not wait for the next book, and you can bet I'll be keeping tabs on that!

The main character of this book, Reid, is a strong willed and opinionated woman living within an oppressed kingdom disguised as a Lord. In order to secure her families land and position Reid was pronounced a male at birth, and groomed to behave as a man. Within this kingdom land may only be passed to other male family members as women are not granted those rights. Women are expected to dress as a stereotypical lady and be subservient to men.
On this fast wild ride Reids world is shattered as her secret is exposed to royalty, and if she wishes to save her family and their land she'll be expected to follow the crown blindly. Only time will tell the fate of her families lives as she struggles to prove her worth.

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Reid has spent her whole life pretending to be a man so she can inherit her father’s estate, but when a chance encounter threatens to expose her lie, she is forced to risk everything.

In the kingdom of Marsden, women are subservient to men and land can only pass from father to son. So when Reid Ellington is born, the fifth daughter to one of the wealthiest landholders in the kingdom, it’s announced that Reid is a boy.

Eighteen years later, Reid struggles to conceal the fact she’s actually a young woman. Every day, her secret becomes harder to keep. When one of Marsden’s princes sees her sparring with a sword, she is forced to accept his offer and lead her father’s soldiers to the border. Along the way, she discovers a covert organization within the army known as the Knights of the Realm. If Reid wants to save her family from being arrested for treason and robbed of their inheritance, she will have to join the Knights and become a weapon for the crown.

To protect her family, Reid must fight like a man. To do that, she’ll need the courage of a woman.- Goodreads

Jumping right into this. Reid was a horrible character that only knew how to fight but did nothing else to deserve to become part of the Knights of the Realm. I would like to also add that she only became Knights of the Realm because SHE WAS A WOMAN and can be used as a spy. If she was a man they would have ate her alive and disregarded her bones for the dogs. 

The author takes this book to focus more on that fact that in Reid's kindgom, women are second class citizens and should know their place. There is less focus on actually developing Reid's personality, internal conflict and morals. The author constantly brings up in words not actions that Reid is a woman and the frustrating part of this is the fact that Reid is outspoken (because she has played the role of a man) and this is going to be looked at how progressive she is when in actuality Reid does nothing but get caught, pass out and get upset she can't have what see wants, when she really doesn't know what she wants. 

I know this is an extreme rant but I didn't enjoy the book as it didn't provide the intensity, adventure, betrayals or even a good enough romance (completely forced, came out of no where, didn't fit or make sense in the book/felt like an after thought).

The thing about this book is that I know there are readers that will enjoy this and that is fine. I just didn't like it. 

I wanted so much more from this. I wanted Reid to become brutal, use the fact that she was playing two roles to reach crazy heights but she didn't deliver. How I finished the book not sure because that ending.... -_-

1 Pickle

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#RealmOfKnights #NetGalley

publisher description: Reid has spent her whole life pretending to be a man so she can inherit her father’s estate, but when a chance encounter threatens to expose her lie, she is forced to risk everything.
In the kingdom of Marsden, women are subservient to men and land can only pass from father to son. So when Reid Ellington is born, the fifth daughter to one of the wealthiest landholders in the kingdom, it’s announced that Reid is a boy.

Eighteen years later, Reid struggles to conceal the fact she’s actually a young woman. Every day, her secret becomes harder to keep. When one of Marsden’s princes sees her sparring with a sword, she is forced to accept his offer and lead her father’s soldiers to the border. Along the way, she discovers a covert organization within the army known as the Knights of the Realm. If Reid wants to save her family from being arrested for treason and robbed of their inheritance, she will have to join the Knights and become a weapon for the crown.

To protect her family, Reid must fight like a man. To do that, she’ll need the courage of a woman.

I love this author and with that said I had high exceptions for this book. But I am pleased to let you know Davis did not disappoint!! This novel is so phenomenal that I have read it more than twice already! I love Reid's character and how smart and adaptive she is to any situation she is in. The plot has a lot of twists and turns and the ending was.... Wow! I can't even put it into words without a spoiler, but lets just say I read and re read it and I have a lot of theories. I CANNOT wait for the next book!! So GOOD!!!

Thank you to NetGalley and Reign Publishing for an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. The ideas and thoughts are my own.

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Realm of Knights is the first entry in the Knights of the Realm series, and my first foray into the works of Jennifer Anne Davis. The cover and blurb are what originally caught my attention, and I went into this book with high expectations for a solid YA tale of female empowerment and one wild adventure. This is a story of equality, and fighting for what you believe in, regardless of how futile it may seem. It’s of doing what’s right for the safety and betterment of your friends and family, and of true acceptance. This book has tons of potential, but unfortunately falls short on execution.

The story is led by a cast of generally archetypal characters that have the building blocks to become exceptional. Reid, fifth daughter of the Duke of Ellington, is secretly raised as a boy in order to allow her family to retain their lands and titles. Necessary in a country with backward ideals regarding gender equality, Reid isn’t made completely aware of what it’s truly like for a woman in the Kingdom of Marsden. Regrettably, a character that should have been a strong female lead ended up becoming a naive, and oftentimes whiny, child. Princes Gordon and Ackley, warrior and rogue, respectively, first appear to be carefully crafted, notable characters with more to them than meets the eye. Again, they fall into the same category as our lead, and their established qualities begin to degrade at a rapid pace. They do have their shining moments, but for me, it wasn’t enough. While the characters seem to fall flat, the one saving grace is it becomes increasingly difficult to discern true intentions, having you constantly guessing who is friend and who is foe.

One of the biggest issue I had with this book is how everything felt rushed. It’s a fast-paced book, spanning months in little over 250 pages, and while I appreciate not having to travel every step of the way alongside Reid as she ventures across the Kingdom and beyond, this is really detrimental to many worldbuilding aspects. Reid arrives in the City of Buckley, uncovers and thwarts an assassination attempt, dives deep into the intrigue throughout the land, and is promptly sent into enemy territory on a super secret mission in what feels like the span of only a few days. Everything is rather anticlimactic, and I was often questioning the unrealistic decisions that had been made. While we travel by foot and horseback throughout the counties, environments are not vividly constructed around us, leaving too much to the imagination. I felt as though I was swimming in a shallow pool, wishing I’d eventually reach the deep end, only to never arrive.

As I mentioned, I expected this story to be one of empowerment, and I was sadly met with repetitious and exaggerated instances of extreme sexism and no resolve. In the Kingdom of Marsden, all women are weak and need to know their place, and all men, with the exception of maybe one or two characters, are pigheaded and condescending fools. With echoed “you belong to me” and “being a woman”, and all the variants in between, it became not only tiresome, but actually quite offensive. Reid’s constant astonishment of the lay of the land seems completely unrealistic, as she’s an adult that has resided with and witnessed the lives and struggles of her four older sisters. It’s one thing to use inequality to set the stage, but it’s not something to be used in almost every occurrence of character interaction.

Realm of Knights, while flawed, is built around an incredibly interesting plot of political intrigue and conspiracy. Each new facet introduced continues to weave a web that snags readers and holds fast. Its twists and turns keep you on your toes and champing at the bit to finally uncover the truth. Additionally, an enigmatic brotherhood with a plethora of shadowed secrets adds another layer to the the tale’s underlying machinations, definitely piquing my interest. The final pages leave readers at an unexpected cliffhanger, and although I wasn’t necessarily a fan of this book in its entirety, I admit I need to know what happens next.

Realm of Knights is available via Reign Publishing on September 10, 2019.

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WOW, this book, i just have no words.
First of I've been a massive book Rut for over 4 months, i have not been able to finish anything. EXCEPT this book. I think this is what i was waiting for.
Reid is so awesome and such a bad ass. I Need book 2 Now.

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I was excited to read this book based on the synopsis, and I enjoyed it, but it was by no means the greatest novel I’ve read. The first quarter of this book was a bit hard to get into. It felt like it focused too much on sexism issues, and not enough on the story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to see issues like this addressed in novels. That’s what makes them relatable. However, I felt like it did more talking about sexism than showing the sexism our main character Reid faced.

Once you get past the first quarter of the novel, things start to get interesting. It seems everybody in the royal family has a different scheme going on and multiple people are vying for control. The reader is unsure of whom Reid should trust, and that makes it intriguing. There is a dash of romance thrown in which mixed things up a bit and added to the story.

However, there were a few scenes where I felt more description was needed. Near the beginning of the story, it didn’t feel like the world was described well enough. By this I mean physical description. It felt like it told the reader what things were instead of using adjectives to show what they were. This made it difficult to imagine in my head what the character’s surroundings looked like.

There were also one or two scenes where I was confused about timing. It wasn’t very clear how much time had passed. This threw me off a bit, but eventually it became clear as I read on further.

Despite these issues, the ending to this novel was brilliant. You are left reaching for a book two. If political schemes or strong female characters are of an interest to somebody, I would probably recommend this novel to them.

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Holy cow friends. This book was absolutely stunning. It is so complex and wonderful and I am still buzzing after reading it. The kingdom of Marsden doesn't allow women to work or to own land. They have very few rights, so when Reid is the fifth daughter born to her father the Duke, her family is put in a precarious situation. Reid poses as her father's male heir for 18 years. Then all of a sudden she is drafted into a complex royal scheme where she uncovers secret after secret about her own kingdom as well as the enemy. She does all this while discovering parts of herself as both a woman and the man she has pretended to be for so long.

Reid is wonderful. I talk a lot about believable strong female leads, and Reid totally represents one. She has confidence and strength she's learned from being a man, and she also is learning what it means to be a woman while still enjoying the freedoms men have. She seeks a balance between her two selves which I really enjoyed exploring with her.

The complexity of the court and its secrets and rules is so well done. As more was uncovered in the plot, the truth got more and more clouded. I was enthralled the entire time, not knowing what could possibly happen next. Books focused on kingdoms and court life really intrigue me, and this is a very well done one.

I am absolutely here for female knights. What a dream come true for me. I am so happy for more androgynous female representation in the literary world. I really connected to Reid and her desires for her life, and I think that other readers will as well. I am so eager for the next book and to see how she continues to grow as a woman and a warrior.

Finally, I should touch on the princes. There are a lot of them, and I fell a little in love with each of them. Each has a lot of depth that I appreciated since there are so many of them, and oftentimes that many boys will only receive one or more defining characteristic.

I HIGHLY recommend this book, and I hope to have it on my sheld ASAP. If you like Ruined by Amy Tintera and Cruel Prince by Holly Black, I think you'll really enjoy this book.

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First and foremost, thank you to NetGalley and Reign Publishing for providing me with the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

When I first read the description, I immediately thought, hmm, is this a Mulan retelling of sorts? And to be honest, there was a Mulan vibe throughout when it came to our heroine Lord/Lady Reid Ellington. She's intelligent and brave and I wanted to be her.

I'm only just realizing as I write my review that there wasn't any magic, at least not that I can recall. And yet, it felt so magical. I am sure it had to do with the medieval-like setting in which the plot unfolds.

There were so many twists and turns in the story, it seemed like a neverending mystery. Even now, having finished the first book, I think I have an idea of what direction the plot is going in, and yet at the same time, I cannot wait for the second book so I can find out. Davis has created an interesting world -- the Kingdom of Marsden -- that is heavily sexist, and I'm sure readers will find that Axian is just as interesting a place. I've seen some reviews that complain about the sexism, however, I found that it's simply part of the society Reid lives in, despite it not being fair in the least. Frankly, this aspect of the story made me feel an abundance of emotions: anger, disappointment, resentment to name a few; all feelings that Reid shares, as well. At the end of the day, it worked for me as a reader.

While the faults weren't enough for me to warrant this story anything less than 4.5/5 stars, I understand other readers who may be bummed that the story wasn't longer or that the plot was a bit slow in the beginning. Seeing that this was the first book, I personally was alright with it since it was finding its footing and providing some background information for the books to follow. I hope to see Reid continuing to develop as a fighter and figure out her identity. I also hope readers get more insight into the Knights since we didn't learn much about them either---what's their history, for example?

All in all, this was an exciting read and stopped at one heck of a cliffhanger! Hopefully, we won't have to wait too long to find out what happens next.

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I give this book 3.5-4 stars. This book is an interesting read, not one that I am used to at all. The story follows Reid Ellington an 18-year-old who is the heir to her father's estate. The only problem with this is that the rest of the world knows her as Lord Reid Ellington. Desperate to save his land from being taken by the king after his death, Lord Ellington says that his fifth daughter is his son when his wife dies in childbirth. Everything is going well with the scheme until two of the King's brothers arrive in Ellington and command Lord Ellington to provide soldiers and that Reid must go with them. It is discovered that the princes know of the lies that Lord Ellington has been telling and he has no choice to listen. It is this command that sends Reid on an adventure she would never have imagined, an adventure full of secrecy, sword fights, and the question of who is really the antagonist of the story.

While this is a decent read, there are a few things that I have found to be annoying or that drew me out of the story. The first is that there is a pacing/plot issue about 30% of the way through the book. At one point it seems like there is one thing happening but then you're thrown a curveball that doesn't 100% make sense. Both the first 30% and the last 70% make sense, but they don't fit together all the way. A few of the background and secondary characters don't feel real either, such as an older sister that acts much more like a 2D younger sister and a childhood friend whose reaction to things don't always make sense.

All this being said, it's still a book that has an engaging plot, interesting premise, and makes one think about everything they believe about society.

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