Title: A DEAL WITH THE ELF KING
Series: MARRIED TO MAGIC #1
Author: ELISE KOVA
Publication Date: NOVEMBER 6, 2020
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.
Words aren’t enough to describe how much I loved this book. This is my first time reading Elise’s work and I have to admit that she is an amazing and a phenomenal author. Now I really get why many loves her Air Awakens series. I haven’t read the series yet but maybe one day.
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from this book at all other than I was hoping for it to be amazing. Thankfully, it ended up to be so much better and a lot more amazing. The whole story blew my mind. I was speechless and I’ve been trying to write my review for this book right after I was done reading it but my mind still processing things because it was that good. You couldn’t even believe it.
If you think the A Court of Thorns and Roses series are good, wait until you read this book. There are so many great Fantasy books coming out this year, and this one is up there along with Sisters of Sword and Song by Rebecca Ross, and God Storm by Coco Ma which are two of my top favorite 5-star Fantasy books so far this year.
A Deal with the Elf King is about a girl named Luella who was taken by King Eldas to save not only her world but also his world since both worlds are connected. The story is basically a Hades and Persephone and Beauty and the Beast crossover. I liked the new twist Elise did to those two well-known stories in this book, it made this new story so unique that I devoured it from the very first page until the end.
The storyline is definitely new and I’ve never read anything like it before but I can clearly see the connection it has to the myth of Hades and Persephone, and the story of Beauty and the Beast. There are so many references I automatically recognized. To me, that’s why this book is so unique because the story is an original story even though it has a few elements from both of those stories.
Not many can mix two different yet a very well-known stories into one book and still make it look so new. There are more references to Hades and Persephone than Beauty and the Beast actually but it is undeniable that a few elements from both of those are present in this book.
The storyline and the plot was really smooth and easy to understand even though it sounded complicated at first but in truth it wasn’t. You just have to clear whatever is in your thoughts and in your mind, and focus 100% on the story so that you can easily follow it. If you read the book while your mind or your thoughts are on something else, it can distract your concentration and your focus, then you will be confused.
The reason why I suggest you to pay attention to every informations and every details in the story is because this book have a massive world-building. It isn’t a typical Young Adult Fantasy world-building, this is more like a crossover between Epic Fantasy and High Fantasy world-buildings. There are so many important things to learn about this new world, and so many explanations are made to help the readers understand this big new world.
I liked the detailed explanation about the land of the humans (Capton) and the land of wild magic (Midscape). I liked learning about the history of these two worlds, how it was made, and why every hundred years there should be a Human Queen married to an Elf King to keep both worlds alive. I liked absorbing informations about the Fade and why it became the barrier that separate the mortal and immortal worlds, the Veil and what lurks beyond it and why it was called as the land of the dead, and then Quinnar and how big it is. Learning about these things and then understanding it only makes it easy for me to follow the whole story.
These places are beautiful even though it was all fictional, and yet it felt real like it really existed. There was also a mention of some festivals such as Midsummer, and Yule. There are so many differences in the tradition of the elves and humans that I’ve spotted. There are so many great information regarding the changes in the season which came from the power of the Human Queen and why it was important for the Human Queen to stay in Midscape and married to an Elf King.
The history about how the cycle of the Human Queen marrying an Elf King started surprised me. It was an endless cycle but I knew this book will somehow explain on how to end the cycle once and for all seeing how determined the heroine has been throughout the whole story to end it. The way the cycle ended was really satisfying to see because it was so easy. Usually, people overlook the simple and small things because they usually think the big and complicated things are the answer to end something bigger but turns out the simple and smaller ones are the actual answer.
Also, this book deserve a lot of praise for having many epic actions—be it fighting using weapons or magic, or just simply a training session using magic. My most favorite action part was the fight between the faes and the elves. It was very rare to see faes and elves in the same book, and the fact that these two creatures are in one book together was interesting to see.
I loved seeing the elves overpowered the faes because usually the faes has been depicted in many Fantasy stories as the most powerful creatures than the elves because the elves are not as powerful as them. I really loved that it wasn’t the case here, and it was so good to see the elves rising. Elves are so underrated actually, many people are fascinated by the faes but come on, give some love to the elves too, they deserve it.
Now moving on to the characters…
Luella is the heroine of the story. She is the center of attention, the humblest Human Queen. I really liked her character so much. She is the fiercest and the toughest female protagonist with good personality and excellent attitude. She is so likable from the start to the end and I’m glad that she is really unique for a female character and definitely is not like other female characters I’ve known from other books.
There are so many positive traits about her. She had no idea that she have magic and she certainly didn’t know her life will change so fast by marrying an Elf King. She didn’t know how to act in a land full of immortal creatures and let’s just say that she is really new to the whole magic thing. What really shocked me the most was seeing how calm she was about the whole thing and how she just went with the flow instead of being afraid about the immortal world. She just calmly absorbing any information she can get about the Elf King, the history of the immortal world, and the history of the previous Human Queens.
Not only is she smart but she’s also a very talented herbalist. She used her talent to search for answers on how to end the cycle and how to free herself from the Elf King and his kingdom. If you think she will do something really stupid that will put her in a very dangerous situation and eventually endanger other people’s lives, well then you thought wrong because Luella is not that kind of character. Many female characters tend to act like that when they are in a very unfamiliar world and try to escape, but not Luella. She has too many knowledge and too clever to do something like that.
Luella is also isn’t the type to just shut up and say very few things, she is the type to keep on asking questions to help her understand the situation she was in so that she can start looking for answers on her own. She is very sassy, daring, determine, and always up for a challenge. Whenever the Elf King told her not to do this or that, she was like, “Oh, you think I can’t do this? Well, watch me do it,” and then she ended up with a successful result. She loved proving others around her wrong. She really is a Queen, she was right all the time and always be the first to figured something out whenever there are enemies lurking around to destroy the Elf King because she is so smart.
Luella is on another level of the most intelligent heroine. I loved seeing a character who doesn’t need others or rely on others to help them, and definitely who isn’t a damsel-in-distress. Her character has been consistent from the start to the end with a small development later on, it was mostly developing her to use her magic more especially in battles. She mostly rely on her knowledge than her power since she had zero proper training on how to use it, but the more training she had with the Elf King the more she was confident enough to use her power to not only save herself but also save the Elf King from the faes and many other lives.
Overall, Luella is the most amazing female protagonist. She just doesn’t back down so easily in the story, and she even went toe-to-toe with the Elf King. Many are scared of him but Luella was just chill whenever she was around him. I also admired her for reading all the previous Queens’ journals to find an answer on how to end the cycle, she kept on reading those journals everyday, and in the end it was her own smart brain that help her find the answer. Her purpose is bigger and the things she had to do was very challenging, but she gladly took it without breaking a sweat.
Eldas on the other hand is the total opposite of Luella. The first time he appeared, he was this cold and cruel Elf King or should I just say Ice King??? Well, color me surprise as the story goes on that he wasn’t actually cold and cruel. That was only a mask he wears whenever he was in his ‘King’ mode. He was a sweet and broken Elf King who’d been through a lot and I felt sorry for him. Learning a lot about his past made me see him in a different light, it made me understand him on a much better level.
His past shaped him into the man he is in the present day. I can’t blame him for staying cold and reserved, and I can’t hate him for giving cruel punishments to those who deserved it, especially those who tried to harm his Human Queen. He was hurt in the past and he had to put his guard up so that no one can try to pretend to like him only to break him again.
Eldas is a really powerful Elf King, well he is the King after all so it make sense why he is the most powerful. His power, his magic, and everything related to it can be so terrifying after I’ve seen what he can do, but then again he wasn’t a villain. I was so fascinated by his magic, like I knew how fae magic works because I’ve seen it plenty of time in many books before, but elf magic is just so fabulous and so powerful like the fae magic too except the elf has a lot of unique magic. I don’t think I can ever shut up about Eldas’ magic, he really knew how to use it so well. The way he wields his magic wearing all black and his crown…*heart eyes everywhere.*
Overall, Eldas’ character is just as likable as Luella. He was so good at ruling his kingdom. He also has the best leadership skills and no wonder he is the Elf King and to me, he is the best Elf King compared to the previous Elf Kings. He has a lot of great traits and he was never selfish because he kept putting other people first before himself. I was shocked when I found out that he wasn’t entirely a bad person. This man never cease to amazed me or surprised me.
Never thought I would say this but Eldas is so much better than Rhysand. I loved Rhys don’t get me wrong, but Eldas surpassed him on so many levels. The reason why I brought up Rhys’ name is because there are some similarities between the two and Eldas just happens to be a lot better.
As for the romance, it was an enemies-to-lovers and slow-burn romance. When I said enemies-to-lovers, I meant two people who couldn’t stand each other slowly fall for one another. NOT the protagonist falling for the villain.
Eldas and Luella has proven that they are a match made in heaven. These two was hilarious together at first because they just couldn’t stand each other, especially Luella. She’s a woman full of sass and the way she annoyed Eldas was really funny to me. It was a fun sight to see when Eldas was so irritated by Luella’s questions because she couldn’t shut up. Well, I can’t blame her for asking, after all Eldas’ world is totally foreign to her and she wasn’t prepared to be a Human Queen either.
I loved these two so much, I can definitely see Eldas rolling his eyes every time Luella asked him questions about him, his family, and his kingdom. He reminded me of when Tony Stark first met Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War and how Tony rolled his eyes at Peter when Peter told him he have homework. I imagined Eldas rolled his eyes the way Tony did and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing.
Luella is just so pure and Eldas is well…he is very gentlemanly whenever he was with her. I liked seeing their feelings for each other slowly developed into something more. First, they couldn’t stand one another. Next, they started to get to know each other a lot better and the feelings of caring for each other slowly climbing up high. After that, they started to be intimate with one another after all the undeniably strong sexual tension. The development of their romance was done right. I can’t stop being amazed by how Elise handled Eldas and Luella’s romance. She is one of the few authors who knew how to do it right.
There are so many good and sweet moments that Eldas and Luella shared in this book. I loved seeing the two of them being so open to each other, how they started reading the past Queens’ journals together to find answers on how to end the cycle, how Eldas helped Luella achieved her goals, how Luella helped Eldas to move on from his bitter past, how these two motivated each other to be stronger, how these two helped each other become the best version of themselves, and how Eldas took care of Luella when they are in the cottage. The cottage scene is my most favorite, Eldas be like, “I do the cooking, I do the cleaning.” It was so good to see that side of him that he rarely showed to anyone except for Luella. She is his favorite person and vice versa.
There are some challenges they had to face together, but it wasn’t something they can’t handle. They aced it, not just together but also individually too. These two together are so powerful, and I can’t help but mention how talented they are. There are so many angst too and I thought I cannot handle it, but I survived until the end. I’ve cried a lot in the final few chapters, my heart was broken during that moment. With all those strong sexual tension, off-the-charts chemistry, and deep connection…you think they won’t end up together? Well then you’re wrong if you think it that way because they did end up together and I’m so happy for them. They are meant to be together after all.
Aside from Eldas and Luella’s beautiful romance, there are a few great relationships in this book too. I liked seeing the friendship between Willow and Luella. Willow was the first person who genuinely is kind to Luella when she first came to live in the castle. He was like a big brother to her and since both of them are herbalists, they instantly became friends. I enjoyed seeing the two of them just talking about plants, flowers, and herbs. Their friendship grew a lot from the first time they met each other.
I can’t forget the most iconic friendship, which is Luella and her pet wolf named Hook. Hook suddenly showed up and found Luella in the middle of the dark forest and basically saved her life that one time. Seeing these two melts my heart. At one point I was afraid something might happen to Hook seeing all the dangers that slowly tried to harm Eldas and everyone he cares about, but thankfully it didn’t come to that. Hook is so adorable and it is the most fiercest wolf in the story.
I also want to mention about Eldas and his relationship with his younger brother, Harrow. There wasn’t any bad blood between these two siblings, just that one of them is loved more by their mother than the other so that put a strain on their brotherly relationship. I disliked Harrow at first after seeing the prank he did to Luella which was really bad, but truly he was just a misunderstood young prince. He wasn’t that bad actually, it was just a bad influence from his friends that made him acted like a bad person. It was good to see Eldas and Harrow made an effort to mend their broken brotherly bond at the end. And in the final chapter, it warms my heart to see Harrow back to his health and looking fine. I was really worried about what happened to him, and I hope he won’t try to trust and befriend just anybody that are not part of his family. His friends in the story are all shady people with hidden agenda, and I don’t even like them at all.
This book itself is great and the story is really nice and very enjoyable. There isn’t a single bad thing I can think of about this book. If you love to read a new and unique take on the Hades and Persephone and Beauty and the Beast stories, then pick this book up. If you love a sweet enemies-to-lovers and slow-burn romance, then pick this book up. If you love reading about a strong female protagonist and a powerful male protagonist who loves boost up each other’s confidence and help each other become the best, then pick this book up. This was a phenomenal read to me and this book took me to an epic adventure full of magical and wonderful moments. Eldas and Luella’s story will make you swoon, and even though their story is part of a new series, you can read it as a standalone. I just hope many of you would read this book, I highly recommend it.