The Duchess Quest – C. K. Brooke
*Warning – may contain spoilers*
First published: 2014
Blurb: (Taken from goodreads)
Love is destined to find her…
Dainy doesn’t know that she is the lost Duchess of Jordinia, believed to have been assassinated fifteen years ago. Nor does she know that her uncle has implemented an illegal contest ot seek her, offering her marriage hand as the reward!
Though at odds, three clashing rivals – including a noble giant, a forest dweller and a thieving rake – voyage together by woodland, prairie and sea to recover the lost roya, notwithstanding the assassins and spies at their tail. Soon, young Dainy is swept into a comically complex romantic quadrangle as each suitor competes to capture her heart.
Charmingly romantic and bursting with political intrigue, starling twists and vivid characters, readers of romance and fantasy alike will adore this original yet timeless take of swashbuckling adventure and unlikely love.
History of my copy: I received a free copy through YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
So I took longer than I was supposed to reading this book, but that in no way reflects my opinion! I LOVED The Duchess Quest! I can’t believe I haven’t read it before, I think I need to go buy the sequel and my own physical copy of the book.
There was only one scene that I disliked, and that was the really sick scene between Jon and Selu when they first meet. It really grossed me out, and felt entirely unnecessary and kinda ruined Jon’s character for me, so I just pretend that didn’t happen.
Plot: The Duchess Quest starts out as a bunch of men search for Eludaine, or Dainy. However, due to the assassins following them, only Bos, Jon, Mac and Selu remain. Whilst competing at first, they end up becoming a group and return the Duchess to her uncle. However, the quest is far from easy and Dainy suffers some great losses in the process.
Just when you think the story has reached its happy ending, Jon and Selu are kidnapped, Selu being mistaken for the Duchess and it turns out that Dainy’s uncle only wanted the inheritance money to wage a war on the New Republic. Honestly, that scene broke my heart!
However, all is rectified in the end and The Duchess Quest ends as the group prepare to leave and find Dainy’s inheritance.
On top of this plot, we have the romantic sub-plot as Dainy must decide who she wishes to wed. And then there is a fantastic scene where the heritage of both Jon and Mac is discovered, which was totally unexpected!
Setting: Brooke has created a wonderful fantasy world within The Duchess Quest and I would love to get lost there! It is a fantastic mix of swords and royalty, with the beautiful Heppestonian’s and the New Republic of Jordinia. There is a map included in the book, which makes picturing their journey just a little easier. Plus, I’m a sucker for maps of beautiful fantasy lands!
Characters: Something I really loved about The Duchess Quest was how unique the characters felt! Dainy herself was not your typical Duchess, and whilst innocent, once she came out of her shell she was a strong woman. A fantastic lead character, and entirely believable!
I’ve mentioned above one of my issues with Jon, but apart from that he is your typical handsome, rogue thief who softens up when he falls in love with Dainy. But he messes up, and their relationship doesn’t feel at all forced.
Mac is another great companion for Dainy. A complete opposite to Jon, he is a true gentleman and you can see how much he adores Dainy and how frustrated he feels as he tries to do what is right for her, yet she always seems drawn to Jon.
Bos is different again, as he is a huge man and only competing due to his allegiance to the royals. He was often the voice of reason between Jon and Mac and clearly the only one stopping them from killing each other.
To read or not to read: Read. I adored The Duchess Quest so much! It’s a fantastic young adult fantasy novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Full with many twists that took me entirely by surprise, it’s a real page-turner that will leave you craving for more once you reach the end.
Find my spot on the book tour here