Title: ‘King of Durabia’
Author: Naleighna Kai
Rating: 4/5
Publication Date: 28 Jul 2020

“Nine days for me to show you Durabia, to answer any questions you may have. To let you explore the place, the people, the culture. Then you decide.”

On a holiday to Durabia, Ellena Kiley saves Sheikh’s grandson and as a reward, the Sheikh offers Ellena a place in Durabia and his eldest son, Kamran, as her husband. Kamran and Ellena fall in love but Ellena refuses to stay in Durabia because of the cultural differences and the deeply rooted social issues. After the King grants Ellena liberties that common Arabian women don’t get, she decides to make Durabia her home. Ellena is the sister of the Kings of the Castle, right-hand woman to Dro Reyes, and so her mere presence in Durabia brings significant changes in various aspects of the Kingdom. In fear of losing the crown, several members of the Sheikh’s royal family make schemes to eradicate the unlikely couple. Will they succeed?

“He stepped over the threshold and moved from the foyer and into the throne room and an uncertain future. One where he would not be with the woman he had come to love.”

The main characters are worlds apart and the plot seemed quite far-fetched but brilliantly executed. Ellena Kiley is the heart of this novel. She is feisty, tough, and wise. Ellena stands up for what she believes in. Her badass nature is conveyed through her responses to the attacks put forth by the ruling family. Kamran Ali Khan, also the royal advisor to the ruling Sheikh of Durabia is calm, humble, and loyal. He is far from the typical, arrogant, spoiled prince portrayed in pop culture. Ellena and Kamran complimented each other and communicated well. They had subtle chemistry. Ellena’s huge powerful American family was intriguing. The ethnic diversity in the characters is praiseworthy as well. Amir, Salman, Karman’s half-brothers, and their wives felt repetitive. A smaller ensemble cast that contains thorough characters with vivid shades would’ve worked better for this story. 

The author conveys themes of gender, racial discrimination through different third-person perspectives. The story was quick-paced with no unnecessary details. It was straight to the point. There was comedy in grave situations. Witty, dark humor with simple diction. 

“Tears are orgasms for the eyes.”

Naleighna Kai flabbergasted me as much as Ellena Kiley had to the people of Durabia. A brave attempt to tell a story with an unconventional plotline. A unique, refreshing read. ‘King of Durabia’ is recommended to all open-minded readers. Do give this novel a chance, it is to be read in one sitting. 

Triggers: Human Trafficking, violence. 
 ARC provided by the Marco Publishing Group and NetGalley. Thank you. #KingofDurabia#NetGalley

During My Read:
(every time Ellena was a badass)

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