A Kingdom of Stars and Shadows by Holly Renee Book Review

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Destiny or desire?

Where does your allegiance lie?

I am told my union to the crowned prince will determine the fate of the kingdom, but it isn’t my betrothed who haunts my dreams. It’s the half-breed prince who stands at his side.

He is darkness and sin, and when he whispers promises of wickedness in my ear, I crave a man who I can’t have.

Every thought I have is treasonous. The way my hands ache to touch him deceitful.

Even my dreams make me a traitor to the kingdom I am sworn to protect.

But when the kingdom is attacked, I am forced to make choices I’m not prepared for. Our lies and deception are entangled in the shadows and stars, and as they unravel so shall my fate. Betray a kingdom or betray my heart.

A Kingdom of Stars and Shadows is book one in the Stars and Shadows Series. It contains mature language, themes, and content that may not be suitable for all readers. Reader discretion is advised.


Here is the sensitive content I observed while reading:

  • Abusive Relationship
  • Alcohol
  • Blood
  • Death
  • Profanity
  • Sexually Explicit Scenes
  • Violence


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There are possible **SPOILERS** beyond this point!

Overall Rating

3.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

A Kingdom of Stars and Shadows is SPICY! This story is about Adara who has been chosen by fate to be the next queen and ultimately the savior of the land she lives in. We follow her from her home to a new land with a kingdom she has never been a part of. She’s forced to make a choice between two cute princes that couldn’t be more different. It’s forbidden, angsty and HOT what goes down in this castle. As Adara tries to survive the cutthroat Citlali kingdom, she must figure out which Prince is right for her.

It’s really good smut, people! I enjoyed it and spicy scenes do play a majority role in the content of this book. The magic is pretty cool in here too! I hope to learn more about the magic system.

My biggest concern with this book were the MCs. The main characters felt flat and it was difficult to connect to them. This made the romance feel like instalove which isn’t my favorite. Evren was hot, he said lots of hot things which I enjoyed tremendously. I just never really understood why he was willing risk everything for Adara. I didn’t really know anything about her and he knew less than me. So it was hard to believe he would say the big declarations of love as he does after know her for such a short period of time. I didn’t agree or understand the conflicts between the two of them. The turmoil between read very miscommunication trope to me because there’s real substance from the FMC POV to have such strong stances on anything.

Physically, the connection was very, very clear. Their smells, tastes, voices and appearances all apparently made the connection strong enough between them. They were willing to risk their lives time and time again for the other person. They couldn’t keep their hands to theirselves at any point even when it would behoove them to show some restraint. Their instant attraction to each other is really what causes most of the events of this book to transpire. It’s about lust and sex more than love and connections. I know that will appeal to many who have recommended this book to me!

Emotionally, I don’t know what makes these two people connect. Often, Adara would just “know” things that she couldn’t possibly know or be making an accurate guess for about. She doesn’t know these people. Just looking into his eyes she could tell his true intentions or feeling and I just really doubt that since you know nothing about this man. Evren said many beautiful things to Adara all the time (see quotes) and I’m still not sure why. There was a lot of telling from Adara and not anything to show for it. Adara was impulsive (dare I say compulsive) about Evren. She never actually asked any of the right questions but she would tell us all this information about what she “knows” though she know nothing and is still willing to act with no reasoning or logic. She didn’t think about her actions until she was already in trouble. Sometimes it worked out for her, most times it didn’t. It drove my anxiety absolutely crazy.

Holly ends this book with a cliffhanger. It’s pretty brutal considering all the questions I had previously. I got some explanations in the last chapter but I am still confused by everyone’s intentions more than I should be. If you’re looking for some hot smut, this is definitely the way to go. Give it a shot if you’re interested in the series! I will be continuing to the next book, so I enjoyed this book enough find out what happens to these characters.

Spice Rating

4/5 🌶🌶🌶🌶

This book is primarily about the explicit sex scenes. They are the meat and potatoes of this story. Evren’s dirty mouth.

Genre & Tropes


Fantasy Romance


  • Arranged Marriage
  • Forbidden Romance
  • Enemies to Lovers
  • One Bed
  • He Falls First
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