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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
Brown Buzzard Village is under attack. What’s worse, the Dagger of Protection, which is kept in the village’s ancient temple, has been stolen. Haethowine, the village leader, instructs sixteen-year-old Aldora Leoma to go to the royals to seek help and tell them about the missing dagger. However, aid for her village is delayed, and the King and Queen order Aldora to find the dagger instead.
It’s the only way to protect her village. A cat prince and a law enforcer named Raneth Bayre join her on the mission. The Royal Gift by Drae Box is the first installment in The Common Kingdoms series. Initially, I was a bit baffled by the world building, particularly when jeans are mentioned as part of the attire of the characters. The royals, King Cray and Queen Louise, are more akin to town mayors than nobility. That being said, I find it charmingly quirky. For YA readers who also happen to be cat lovers, Prince Pedibastet (the Prince of the Cats) will definitely delight you.
There’s a little bit of everything in this YA fantasy; magic, action, romance, adventure and mystery. The ‘zero to hero’ theme is well-executed without being over the top. The plot is paced well and the characterization has enough depth. Aldora and Rayne are easy to root for, but Prince Pedibastet is my favorite. On the whole, The Royal Gift is a solid Book 1 for the series. It’s enjoyable and will garner loyal fans as it continues to Book 2. Kudos to Drae Box for this imaginative tale.