Forbidden Ties

Enemy's Keeper Book 1

Young Adult - Adventure
248 Pages
Reviewed on 04/02/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Heather is an orphan, an outcast. Living in constant fear in a world torn by violence, hatred and the endless need to seek revenge, the young orphan finds herself between opposing forces in an England that is fraught with tribal violence, conquering Normans and Anglo Saxons. The year is 1075 and William the Conqueror has been England’s king for nine years. Will England ever enjoy the peace they so desire? Will the land ever be free from strife and discord? Will Heather find her way when her heart is torn between survival, revenge, and the desire to do the right thing?

Kyrie Wang’s historical fiction novel, Forbidden Ties, is the first book in the Enemy’s Keeper series. The author has chosen a turbulent era in English history and written a compelling story that will both entertain and educate young adult and adult readers. Her choice of theme, taking the growing number of orphaned children in this era, is an interesting one, which echoes the epic historical adventures of Evan H. Rhodes’ Army of Children. After a brief Prelude which outlines the history of this era, the plot is action-driven and captures the reader’s interest right from the beginning. The characters are well developed, the scenes are described with attention to detail, and the history is well researched. Interspersed between the battles and the growing need to find clarity between what is good and what is evil, romance blossoms with a subtlety that will have readers sitting on edge, wanting to learn more. Well, there will be more, as this is only the first book in the series. A great read.

K.C. Finn

Forbidden Ties: Enemy's Keeper Book 1 is a work of fiction in the historical fiction and adventure subgenres and serves as the opening installment of the series. It is aimed at young adult readers and was penned by author Kyrie Wang. The book follows a young woman named Heather, an Anglo-Saxon living in the aftermath of a rebellion against the Norman conquest of England. As she gets embroiled in the growing movement toward a new rebellion, Heather’s involvement with passionate fighters on both sides of the conflict will force her to question her understanding of right and wrong.

I immediately admire historical novels that dive into periods of history that can easily be overlooked, and the years of strife following the Norman conquests – the start of the history of England as we know it – is rife with tales waiting to be told. Kyrie Wang has done a lot of research into this period, and her understanding of it all is evidenced on the pages as the gorgeous prose whisks readers away and into the world of England in 1075. Heather is an excellent protagonist for this tale, a relatable character in the position of trying to make a stand and deciding what is right for her and the future of her people. The looming threat of the revolt and its consequences provides a remarkable backdrop for the gradual romance that develops throughout the story, creating a nuanced and emotionally charged tale of survival, identity, and longing. Overall, Forbidden Ties is an excellent story that will appeal to a broad audience, and I recommend it to one and all.

Pikasho Deka

Forbidden Ties is the first book of the Enemy's Keeper Series by Kyrie Wang. The year is 1075 A.D., England. It's been nine years since William the Conqueror successfully invaded England after the Battle of Hastings. However, strong resistance remains through Ransley Buckner's men, who continue to defy the king's authority. Eighteen-year-old Heather eagerly awaits the return of her childhood crush, Spencer, when Buckner's men, led by his son Toby, invade her home. Narrowly avoiding death, Heather unwittingly finds herself saving Toby's life multiple times from the king's men and the Vasfian warriors and runs for her life alongside the unlikeliest of allies. Now a captive to the rebels and chased and hated by her own, Heather struggles with her conflicting loyalties and finds herself in a precarious position. To her horror, she develops feelings for Toby.

A swirling mix of political intrigue, vivid action sequences, and light-hearted romance makes Forbidden Ties a delight for medieval fiction lovers. Author Kyrie Wang's tale of two people from opposing factions finding themselves forced to work together under extraordinary circumstances is captivating from start to finish. Filled with betrayal, switched alliances, reveals, and numerous twists and turns, the plot keeps its hooks in you throughout the pages and will have readers on the edge of their seats. The characters are well-developed, with realistic motives and background stories that make them all the more relatable. Wang's story also touches upon an interesting yet significant aspect of war; that no matter who wins, all factions end up suffering losses. Recommended to readers who love historical fiction.