Since the beginning of time, tales have been told about Eden. But all the stories are wrong.
Running parallel alongside Earth, but never touching, there exists not just a garden, but an entire world of vivid colours and breathtaking beauty where the Seraph reside.
Jazmine has lived in ten different foster homes, in ten different towns and all her life she has felt like she doesn’t belong – not in the trailer park which happens to be foster home number ten, not anywhere on Earth.
After a universe shattering revelation, she discovers why. Far from being the nothing and no one, with no past and no future, that Jazmine had always believed herself to be, she discovers that she is in fact an heir to one of the seven remaining Seraph Dynasties.
She is Jazmine Evenstar, the last heir to the sovereign Evenstar Dynasty.
Thrust into the world of wealth and privilege in which the impossibly beautiful and equally cruel Dynasty heirs reside, Jazmine is forced to manoeuvre the tangled web that holds the Dynasties together.
Against the backdrop of breathtaking star filled nights, sweeping coastlines, grand marble halls and decadent palaces, Jazmine tries to find her place in this beautiful new world whilst fighting not to lose herself in the process.
But the fairy tale quickly unravels.
Half human and the illegitimate daughter of the late suicide King of Eden, the other Dynasty heirs make it clear that Jazmine does not belong in their world.
Raphael St. Tristan, heir to the rival sovereign St. Tristan Dynasty and next in line to the throne of Eden, the guy with the face of an angel but who is as wicked as the devil himself, promises to break her.
Jazmine quickly learns that the beauty of Eden is nothing but a deception as she uncovers the secrets festering at the heart of it. But can she disentangle herself from the web of deception and intrigue that the Dynasty heirs have spun? Can she stop herself from falling into Raphael St. Tristan’s trap before he can fulfil his promise to shatter her completely? Or are those stories about Eden true after all and will she be foolish enough to taste the forbidden fruit that is Eden itself?
This ARC was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
First of all, I cannot even express how happy and honoured I was that the author wanted to give me an ARC of their book. Unlike a lot of my fellow bloggers, this is the first time I’ve ever gotten an ARC and I’m just a teeny tiny blogger so it made me so excited. So I just want to again say thank you to MJ Prince for this. Now, let’s talk about the book itself. The synopsis made it sound really interesting and also like something I’d really enjoy so I was up for reading it. I liked the book well enough and it had a lot of elements I truly enjoyed, but a couple things turned me off. I’ll definitely get into all the specifics but even though there are a few negatives from this reading experience, I feel like the positives outweigh all of that and therefore I’m confidently giving it a solid 3 star rating.
- The thing that surprised me most of all about this book was the world building. When you first start the book you don’t really think there’d be any world building at all, let alone decent world building. But I truly feel like the world building in this book was really well done. Sometimes when I’m entering a new fantasy world, it can be overwhelming and like there’s too much in this world to make it different from other fantasy worlds, to make it stand out in the crowd. The world of Eden might seem simple but honestly I feel that it’s the simplicity that makes it so great. I love that it’s a world that’s essentially a parallel universe to Earth and there isn’t too much out of the ordinary. Sure, the Seraphs of Eden also have elemental powers, particularly the Dynasties, but it never feels like it’s over the top. There’s still “normal” things like entertainment, technology, and all the every day things found on Earth and it not only allows Jazmine to adjust well to this new world but to the reader as well. Even the education system is almost essentially the same, maybe other than the subject of history, but the Seraphs learn about Earth’s history too and I think that’s why it’s so easy to adjust to this new world. I think the world building works because it’s so simple and is constantly explained well by the author that it’s quick and easy to comprehend. I don’t think I would’ve liked Eden as much as I do if it had been too over the top and extravagant.
- As a character, Jazmine was phenomenal. I loved the fire she had in her and how no matter what was thrown at her by either Raphael or Layla, or the rest of the Dynasty kids in the beginning, she constantly held her ground, fought back, and never gave up. I feel like growing up in the foster system really helped strengthen her and it’s a strength that I really admire. I was also able to connect with her on some level, which is very hard for me to do with protagonists, so the fact that I did made me enjoy her character even more. I think especially where her relationship with Raphael is concerned, what I admired most is the fact that she never let him push her around. When he was horrible to her, she was horrible right back. When he showed interest in her but then shut her down, she never let him get away with it. She constantly stood up for herself and didn’t let these people, let alone a boy, push her around. If she’d been submissive and allowed Raphael to treat her the way he did and still fall for him I’d be annoyed and concerned. But she pushed back, sometimes even harder, and I loved it.
- I’m still a bit iffy on how I feel about the plot overall, because half the time I couldn’t help but feel like this was eerily similar to The Royals by Erin Watt, but there were a lot of moments that made this book different from that series so for that I’m placing it in the positives. I thought that the pacing of the story was good and I also thought that the romance had good pacing as well, which is what I feel differentiates this from The Royals so much. Majority of Paper Princess saw Ella and Reed at odds with some weird sexual chemistry, but I think here with Jazmine and Raphael they had their moments of pushing each other with the nice transition to a truce to friendship and ultimately to more than friendship. The connection between them felt nicely established and not at all rushed. I don’t think you ever feel like you’re thrown into the romance between the two and I think it’s a nice, gradual use of the enemies-to-lovers trope.
- Usually I’m annoyed at the predictability of plots that have to do with secret heirs, but this one was actually pleasantly surprising. I liked that Jazmine isn’t immediately the next ruler of Eden just because her father was the previous king and she’s his heir. I also liked that her sudden appearance in Eden didn’t force the other Dynasties to immediately throw her onto the throne. And the twist at the end concerning all of this was also nicely done and I’m excited and intrigued to see how it’s all going to play out.
- The writing was decent enough but for me, personally, it wasn’t great. Am I supposed to critique the grammar of an ARC? I’m going to anyways. Honest to god, I don’t think I’ve seen so many commas in my life, and that’s saying something because I use commas a lot. But it was like this was the book of the never ending run-on sentence. There were so many times where I wanted to go into this book with a giant red pen and circle where periods should be. And another weird thing was that there were like numerous paragraph breaks within dialogue being spoken by one person. The paragraph breaks don’t bother me, I couldn’t care less, but what I don’t understand is why we’re breaking up dialogue but continuously closing the quotation. It made every conversation confusing and pretty bizarre because you think that someone else is speaking, hence the closed quotations, but it was actually the same person and overall, most conversations were hard to follow. The conversations themselves made sense, that’s not the problem, it was just figuring out who was actually saying the words. I also felt like there was a lot of repetitiveness to the writing and sometimes you were getting the slight recaps you usually find in the second book of a series. I get it, Jazmine lived in 10 foster homes and Raphael has “impossibly blue eyes”; enough already. I think if these problems were solved, or at least minimized, my enjoyment level would’ve been much higher.
- I know I said that there’s a lot that makes this book different from The Royals, but oh my god, the end to this book was almost EXACTLY like the ending of Paper Princess and I’m super annoyed. I’m annoyed by that “trope” or plot twist in general but more annoyed with how it was basically the same thing that happened to Ella. I don’t have time for this again.
- It’s 2018, why are we still slut shaming? Seriously, there’s no need for Layla to constantly refer to Jazmine as a slut or a whore. This shouldn’t even be an insult anymore. It’s tiring, I’m so tired.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- While I have my issues on the technical side of this book, I think overall it’s a very promising start to what could be a really good series. The world building and plot are there, the characters are intriguing, and the romance is one that definitely makes you want more. I think if you like your New Adult with a side of fantasy, you’ll like this book a lot.
BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Secret Heir (Dynasty #1)
Author: MJ Prince
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Pages: 442 (eBook)
Until next time,
What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!