Third Daughter: First book of the Dharian Affairs Trilogy

Kindle (free!)
I have to admit, I read a review for this book on SBTB that simply raved about it. Those girls don't put up with much bull, so when they rave about something you know it's legit. It's a steampunk trilogy set in a proto-India - Not England or America? How refreshing! If I wasn't sold yet, I was when I learned that the first book is free on the Kindle (or any e-reader device, including smart phones.) You really can't say no to something like that!
Okay, it took me a good deal longer to read this than I'd have liked. (I guess I'm still adjusting to reading on my replacement Kindle) But you guys might not have ever known that if I hadn't said anything.
Third Daughter is about Princess Anari, who is as the title implys, the Queen's 3rd daughter which means that she isn't as special as the first or second daughter. But it does mean that, unlike her sisters, after she reaches a certain age she's allowed to marry whomever she chooses. But this is only after she reaches a certain age. Before that her mother could very easily make her marry whoever she chooses. Anari's birthday is in a few weeks and she knows exactly who she'll choose - a handsome courtesan. But, it just happens that her mom wants to introduce her to the prince of a foreign province which is known for it's supposed barbarism, a prince who her mother wants her to marry. There are conditions: Anari can say no outright, and she really wants to, but she shouldn't because her mother (who has often with-held a lot of affection for her daughter) promises that she can still marry who she chooses by her birthday, provided she says yes now and acts as a spy for their country. Rumor has it the prince has a secret flying machine that could be used as a weapon. Anari is a very head strong fire-brand. Maybe she doesn't always make the smart decisions - sometimes she let's her heart lead when she should really let her (actually, very sound) head do the talking. I don't always like characters like her, but then again she didn't make me want to throw things either. I like a character that knows when to shut up and butt out, which. Head strong fire-brands do not have a concept of this at all. I'm not saying it has to be a defining trait, just that, you know, sometimes it isn't always appropriate to jump down your body guard's throat for being straight up with you, even if he is unpleasant about it. That's all. But i'm getting ahead of myself.
Clearly, this is a good sci-fi with a tough female lead, romance, espionage and daring-do. It's smart and well versed. The world building is unique and really exciting, to me anyway. Anari is a bit exasperating, but she develops by the end of the book. It's a great start to the triology, which being that you're able to read the first book for free, it does entice me to pay for the next two books. Sometimes that kind of tactic doesn't always work, but it did this time. But if you'd rather not read any further it's okay too. The book has a satisfactory ending (with a small cliff-hanger). I have been advised, however, that the series does not end with "him putting a million babies inside her," which for a romance reader could be a problem.

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