“The elves come for two things: war and wives. In both cases, they come for death.”
A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova is a 338-page fantasy/romance inspired by the tales of Hades and Persephone. It is considered a stand-alone book, however, it is technically part of the ‘Married to Magic’ series which currently includes two other titles; A Dance with the Fae Prince and A Duel with the Vampire Lord (now available for pre-order). The author has confirmed that each book can be read individually, although they are set in the same universe.
“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.”
A Deal with the Elf King is mostly set in the mystical land of Midscape. As we journey with our reluctant heroine, Luella, into a foreign land of magic, deadly beasts (“Mer, vampir, fae, dryads, and more”), and ancient spirits we get more and more slivers of information about the world as a whole. There is a brief map at the beginning of the book which doesn’t give too much away but we do know that the world is divided by the Veil.
On one side of the Veil lies ‘The Relm of Mortals’ and on the other, a mysterious territory known as’ The Beyond’, a place inhabited by deadly creatures and shrouded in darkness. The Elves created the Veil in order to “give order to the living and dead”. In doing so they protected the mortals from the creatures lurking in The Beyond, however, this came at a cost – the Elves lost their immortality.
If I’m understanding this correctly, The Relm of Mortals was then divided again resulting in The Natural World (inhabited by humans who do not wield magic) and Midscape (the land of the Elves); the result of an ancient peace treaty between the humans and elves signed three millennia ago. The two lands are separated by what is known as ‘The Fade’ and the Elf King was proclaimed ruler of all mortals to honor their great sacrifice.
So, essentially the world is slipt into three. Midscape (the land of the elves and other magical creatures) lies in between The Natural World and The Beyond. In order to bridge the gap between Midscape and The Natural World, the ancient treaty proclaims that every hundred years the Elf King must select one human, that is magically inclined, to wed. She is known as the Human Queen. It is her power that connects the two lands. She is required to sit on the redwood thrown so nature can flow between lands. However, the Human Queen is missing. None of the women in the town of Capton are showing any inkling of having magical abilities. Without her presence on the throne, the magic of Midscape will fade, The Weakness, an illness plaguing the human population, will spread and humanity will be doomed. When a furious Elf King crosses the fade in order to find his queen we discover the truth, someone was concealing the queen’s magic and preventing her from fulfilling her destiny. The seemingly ‘normal’ Lulella, the local herbalist and the town’s beloved healer, has possessed magic all along. She must now be unexpectantly ripped from her family and live with the Elves to restore balance to the world.
I was completely engrossed throughout and finished this book in a single day. As it serves as a stand-alone story as well as an introduction to an entire magical universe, you can appreciate that there is a lot to unpack, however, I personally loved how fast-paced it was. Although, I would have appreciated a more detailed map in order to get a clearer representation of how the world is divided.
I’d say that this book breaches the gap between YA and adult fiction. The enemies-to-lovers romance burns slowly with very little spice, however, the language is so beautiful and luscious that it will have you swooning over every lingering look and accidental brush of hands. The chemistry between our firey heroine Luella and the devastatingly handsome, yet cold and standoffish, Elf King is incredibly well written and I was hooked from their first meeting.
I would have appreciated more character development in terms of the side characters and I also wouldn’t say no to a touch more passion and time with the couple once they reunited, however, I’m just being greedy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book – I just want more! I will definitely read Book 2, A Dance with the Fae Prince, as I’m looking forward to exploring more of the magical world A Deal with the Elf King has so carefully crafted.
Note: Fans of ACOTAR and The Cruel Prince are sure to love this. Also, the series is currently available on Kindle Unlimited.
A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova is available HERE.
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