For King and Country by Karen Gray

*I really liked this book*

29851398Mòrag’s world is one of proud magical creatures and fierce armies bristling with steel and sorcery.

Welcome to twenty-seventh century post-apocalyptic Scotland. A land changed by nuclear war, where the only technology in the land is medically orientated — as decreed by the new leaders in the emergence, during the immediate aftermath of near-global destruction of the human race — all in order to kill just one ruler. Now, more than six-hundred years later, immortal beasts once again roam wild in the countryside; mighty princes battle for power and the common folk do their best to avoid being trampled in their wake.

Born of a forbidden coupling between the Albannach and Sasannach royal houses; Mòrag is destined to rule. But her birth right has been kept secret – even from her, and discovery of her royal blood could cost her life.

Mòrag is no ordinary girl. Her royal blood’s hidden talents begin to reveal themselves during her military training at Sruighlea Castle, and she is suddenly in a lot more trouble than she ever dreamed of.

Mòrag is about to enter a brutal world of conflict and turmoil which will challenge everything she knows and believes in.

Right, where do I begin? Before I list all the things I liked about this book, I have to say that I found the beginning of the book a bit difficult. It took me a while to get used to the unicorn idea and there was quite a lot going down in the first 20%. So, I read a couple of the other reviews and got some feedback  and I was dreading the 15%-20% mark because that’s when things fell apart for some readers… I had the sweats thinking, I don’t want this book to go to shits, I don’t want this book to go to shits. 20% mark hit and I started to have trouble putting the book down. In fact, I finished the rest in one go. Last night.

I liked:

  • the idea of ‘familiars’. Animals, some more mythical than others, being bonded to their human and being able to communicate and protect each other was a really nice touch.
  • Mórag… that girl… If I could marry her I would. She was kick-ass and kind, fair and witty. In fact, she is my favorite female character of all time. What about Mia from Nevernight, I hear you ask? Mia comes second. Mórag is just more my kind of girl. I love her. Proper ❤ her! And I’m kind of sad to see that Mórag isn’t the MC in the second book in the series? Oh noes… 😦
  • Generals Steele, Marcs and Rozzen… Again- they’re in the ‘I Liked’ pile. While Steele has his faults, (hey, we’re all human) I think in the end he has a chance to redeem a lot of his misgivings and Rozzen- wow… She’s a woman that other women want to be! And all men want to do! Marcs… Has been through a lot and I ‘hear’ he ‘turns’ in the second book… I look forward to reading about that…
  • I loved all the Scottish references… The bits of accents here and there. Gave the book a really cool, authentic feel to it. Minor issue here for me though- I would have loved to have had the ‘index’ of translations of words, phrases and place names at the beginning of the book. Would have helped get into the story a lot easier I think, especially in the case of an ebook.
  • The fact that we’re in 27th centruy. The book wasn’t totally overblown with references to ‘modern yet post-apocalyptic’ items. Yes, there’s modern medicine but there’ also the healing power. Yes, there’s locomotive which gave me more of a steampunk feel… but the timeline of the story isn’t that much focused on these areas and that was alright with me.
  • And finally… the romance. Yep, close your mouth or your heart will get cold. I said romance. I thought it was beautiful. Maybe it was the alignment of the stars or the Moon being in certain position to my constellation or something but I was rooting for Mórag and Brax from the very beginning… I just knew those two were on the road to becoming more. What made their relationship so lovely for me was the fact that Brax hasn’t been dealt the best hand in life. In fact, he’s been dealt a pretty darned shit hand in life and Mórag with her inner determination and principles compliments him so well. I loved that this wasn’t a case of ‘insta-love’ and that the two were fighting their own demons along the way as their friendship blossomed.
  • The writing was brilliant by Karen Gray. Every character was easily distinguishable with their own voice, their own personality. I loved the bits of witty banter in some dialogue and I really have no complaints.

Overall, I loved this book. It was adventurous, interesting and entertaining. I will give it a nice shiny 5 stars and will spend the rest of my day reading Book #2. That’s right, last night when I finished book 1 I went to Amazon without wasting time and got the next ones in the series. This means… Sorry, Other Books in the review queue… You’ll have to give me a break for a couple of days while I read the ‘Yours Truly’ choice… But you know how it goes… I just need to know what happens… If I don’t then you as the Other Book, won’t get my undivided attention… It’s like your husband or wife making love to you in a half arsed way  because they’re thinking of the neighbor next door or the ‘wet dream’ they met on a bus, and later on say- “Yeah, you did great, dahlin'” rather than feeling mindblown. So, hang in there while my brain skips around in the very wonderful Scotland!

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  1. YAAAAY! I’m so glad you liked it! I might have to do a re-read of this one sometime. Maybe I just wasn’t in the proper mindset or it back then or something :). That, or…CATFIGHT!!! *peers at Koeur* ;).
    Mòrag and Rozzen *sighs*, I loved them as well. I even created a character of Mòrag in World of Warcraft a few weeks back. Because if I want to kick some ass in the game (at some point, when I actually have enough time to play it again) I want to do it as a feisty redhead fo sho! Marcs…yes, I hope I didn’t give away too many spoilers in my review of the 2nd book! :O
    I got the 3rd one on Amazon a few days back and am very curious about it because it’s Karen’s favourite so far, plus it’s narrated by Rannoch if I’m correct.
    Bloody nice review and I LOLed my way through it (that last paragraph :’). I know exactly what you mean! (sadly :D)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, it was a really nice book and a very strong Book # 1 for a trilogy. Sometimes nr 1s can be too heavy on information to start of a series but this one was perfect!

      Hahaha, feisty redhead… I know right? I wish I was Mórag as well… I don’t play games, at all, so maybe I can dream of being her some times.. that would be awesome! 😀

      And don’t worry, I don’t really mind spoilers plus you mentioning Marcs really just made me more intrigued!

      Ugh, it sounds like my weekend is going to be totally useless… I’ll be reading like a maniac and all them bloody dustbunnies get to be a happy bunch outside of a vacuum cleaner! 😀
      Ooh.. Rannoch’s POV? Blimey… sounds good!

      Hahaha, glad I made you laugh… yeah, real life is just a bitch and none of that romance novel fairytale like smoocywoochy ‘I only have eyes for you, baby’ stuff 😀

      Liked by 3 people

      • *nods* Karen wanted to spread out the info over the entire series I believe. Keep ya guessing a little as well.
        Just think hard of her before hitting the pillow! 😀 (not too hard though 😉 ). Phew, that’s good then! Pfff, it’s still summer. Let those bunnies accumulate and then go for a massive extermination process later on. I believe the same thing happened in Australia. Just not with dust bunnies obviously :D. Yeah, no. Maybe another reason why I don’t read romance. I won’t be getting my expectations up then for real life ^^.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Aye, and she’s doing a mighty fine job at spreading out the info because the surprises and twists are landing like freaking frankenhail! Nearly finished with Book 3 now as well and bloody hell… what a ride! Book 3 is definitely the most grim of them but jaysus! the woman can write!

          Australia- are you referring to the spiders? ugh! ‘shudders’…

          BTW thanks for the hookup with Craig \m/… I’m definitely having a go at it! 😉

          Liked by 2 people

          • LOL, you always come up with the most interesting word combos XD. Frankenhail :’). Oooh, awesome! I believe I’m 9 books away from being able to start it. Which is actually not too bad :D. Noooo, woman, don’t get me going on spiders :/. I meant the rabbits! They set out rabbits in Australia, thinking it would be good and then they ruined everything.

            Fantastic! 😀 He’s been bugging me about it for years now but I keep telling him I don’t have enough knowledge on the vast spectrum of metal to do it. You, on the other hand! Plus, free new albums to discover \m/

            Liked by 1 person

            • Rabbits… what the hell!? Is there anything in this world you don’t know something weird about? 🙂 Interesting though…

              And sorry, got his name wrong.. it’s Craig not Chris.. pffft… yeah… we kicked a convo off anyway and my next step is to choose a band for review… I feel a bit scared now… XD

              Liked by 1 person

              • I’m married to a walking encyclopedia 😀 something occasionally rubs off on me. Yeah, I saw it but didn’t want to correct you on it xD. I mean, I call him Ricky, so whatevs right XD. Awesome!! He said he’s getting about 20 albums a day that are being sent to him. Maybe I read it wrong and it was per week, but then still, plenty of stuff to choose from! 😀 Hahaha, you’ll do great!! ❤

                Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 🙂
      Yeah, the glossary was at the end in this case and it would have been better to go into the book having the knowledge before hand… and I was too lazy to Google 😀 but it was still great! 🙂 Hope you enjoy when you do get a chance to read it 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hmmm. I might do a wee switcheroo there then, though I remember someone mentioning that it wasn’t great to have so much front matter between the start of the book and the start of the story. In fact that may even have been Anne. 🤔 it certainly needs thinking about to make the reader experience better in any case.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting.. I started thinking myself that this needs some real thinking through on delivering on the experience… on one hand it was nice to finish the book and find out what all the words meant, it gave an extra surprise element, on the other… I guess everyone has a different taste so go with whatever you think i best and no need to necessarily try and please every reader 🙂 that’ just not realistic… mind, I had no major issue with the glossary being at the back, didn’t take away from the story really… so, you have some differing feedback to ponder on 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, yes, it was I! 😉 The thing is, I believe you already sent me a glossary separately, so I had no problems in figuring out what the words meant :). (apart from that, I’ve watched a lot of Scottish series/movies :D). I still think you should leave it in the end, but putting up a note in front would be very helpful, especially for the ebooks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 No problem with having a preference… I hope as the book progresses for you, it will still remain enjoyable 🙂 I will be publishing the reviews for Books2&3 either late this evening or tomorrow- it has been pure enjoyment for me though I do enjoy ‘straight’ historicals as well.. The Leopards of Normandy trilogy by David Churchill for example is a brilliant read!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Geeeeeze, ladies, I feel like I’m in a cafe’ with you! Karen, you know I absolutely LOVED this book when I read it a couple (a few??) months ago.

    I remember I was going to start it of an evening, then wound up staying up til sunrise to finish it! I’m glad you liked it as much as I did, ladies…and Liz, awesome review! And, btw, t’anks for the follow on the Old Fossil Writes 😀

    Later, girls!

    Liked by 3 people

    • 😀 hahaha… plenty chatter! sign of a happy community 🙂
      I know- these books are so hard to put down.. I’m nearly ready to publish reviews for books 2&3 as well.. what a ride it has been!

      Thanks for stopping by and look forward to connecting with you more in the future! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    • Really glad you loved it Pearl 😄 means a lot to me when people enjoy my writing. It’s one of the 2 reasons I write in the first place. 1 – for the joy of telling someone a damn good story that they enjoy. 2- a vent and outlet (I think i’d go mad if I didn’t write and have my graphic design stuff!)

      I look forward to entertaining you guys for years to come 😉

      Liked by 2 people

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