I wanted a lighter read after A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas, since I ended up reading the entire series multiple times after finishing that. And I couldn’t bring myself to jump back into the book I had been reading before I switched to that one. So, I ended up picking up A Deal With the Elf King by Elisa Kova. Which is a novel part of series called Married to Magic. These tales are not connected in a sense of characters, but they do exist in the same world. A Deal With the Elf King is the first (and currently only) book released in this series.
The elves come for two things: war and wives. In both cases, they come for death.
Three-thousand years ago, humans were hunted by powerful races with wild magic until the treaty was formed. Now, for centuries, the elves have taken a young woman from Luella’s village to be their Human Queen.
To be chosen is seen as a mark of death by the townsfolk. A mark nineteen-year-old Luella is grateful to have escaped as a girl. Instead, she’s dedicated her life to studying herbology and becoming the town’s only healer.
That is, until the Elf King unexpectedly arrives… for her.
Everything Luella had thought she’d known about her life, and herself, was a lie. Taken to a land filled with wild magic, Luella is forced to be the new queen to a cold yet blisteringly handsome Elf King. Once there, she learns about a dying world that only she can save.
The magical land of Midscape pulls on one corner of her heart, her home and people tug on another… but what will truly break her is a passion she never wanted.
- Published: November 6, 2020
- Page Count: 338
- Genre: YA Fantasy Fiction
The world of A Deal With the Elf King is interesting. The supernatural beings and humans live in separate realms that co-exist through the marriage of the Human Queen and the Elf King. A thing that must occur every one hundred years. The Elves have lost their immortality due to this arrangement as their connection was severed from what they call the Veil. The Human Queen is forced to be the life force that keeps Midscape alive by sitting on a throne regularly to be drained of power. However, the power has been weakening over the thousands of years since the treaty was created.
Luella is the latest queen, who was unaware of her true nature due to a childhood friend shielding her from the Keepers and Elves. It wasn’t until the Elf King, Eldas, arrives that this is discovered. Normally, the Human Queens has several years to prepare before the marriage occurs but Luella doesn’t get that. She is married on sight then whisked away where she learns the true fate of the Human Queens. There she decides things need to change especially after learning that the power of the queens has been waning to a point where Eldas fears she’s the last one in the cycle.
She becomes resolved to end the cycle completely, and Eldas agrees with a deadline of three months. After that she can no longer return to the human realm. So, Luella with her limited knowledge sets out with journals of the past queens to figure out how the Fade (the separation between Midscape and human realm) was formed and figure out a way to create a balance. One where Midscape doesn’t require the use of a Human Queen to feed it life regularly into the earth/seasons.
It’s interesting to watch her journey to discover how to find a balance between the realms, navigate her relationship with Eldas, and the politics of what’s happening in Midscape. There’s definitely a Beauty and the Beast element to the tale as Luella is stolen away to be the bride of a man she doesn’t know. One she comes to love after a time as the two work together. He is also like the beast in a way where he’s cold and distant at first but changes over time due to Luella’s influence. There’s tension there if you like the enemy-to-lover trope with a “there’s only one-bed” moment, but it also has that fated/mated relationship element as Eldas and Luella are mirrors of each other. His magic is dark while hers is life.
I couldn’t put this book down, while I read it. I don’t think it’s one I’ll read a hundred times over but I thoroughly enjoyed it and plan on reading more books from this author in the future. Including the next book in the series A Dance with the Fae Rogue when it’s released.
I would give this book a 3.75 star rating out of 5.
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