An Improvement: The Alliance of Isian | Review

The Alliance of Isian: The Isian Series, Book 2 - Serena Clarke, Carolyn Kashner, Red Mountain Shadows Publishing

A pleasant, clean, YA/NA fantasy romance.


War is coming and all the kingdoms must choose a side. Isian decides to make an alliance with their long-time enemies in order to defeat a common enemy. So Isian sends a proposal, offering their daughter to the prince, in order to ensure an alliance. Princess Gabrielle and her new husband, Prince Alec must learn to work together and trust each other in order to triumph in the approaching war. With a mysterious beast attacking the kingdom, their lives in danger, and overcoming their vast cultural differences, will love grow despite their trials?


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Source: I received this book for free from the publisher. My opinions are my own.



The Alliance of Isian by Serena Clarke, read by Carolyn Kashner, published by Red Mountain Shadows (2016) / Length: 7 hrs 30 min



This is Book #2 of 3 in the "Isian" series, but could easily be read as a standalone. Number 3 is not yet available on audio.



In my review for Book #1, I wrote how that book didn't really appeal to me until the final third of the story. Thankfully, this book was more enjoyable almost from the start. I still feel that there isn't anything outstanding here, and that the dialog often seems too contemporary, but it was a sweet fantasy romance.


I have tagged the book with diversity, as Gabrielle and her family are POC and their country has different customs & culture.



Gabrielle: Once we got past the beginning, she was a sympathetic character caught in a difficult situation.


Alec: I think the book would have benefited from some chapters from his POV. I never quite felt as if the present day Alec & the Alec from the first time they met were the same person. In fact, despite the flashback and what it implied, I connected more with him for the first couple of chapters.


Gabrielle & Alec: An alternating POV would have benefited the development of the romance as well. I like that they grew closer when they made the effort to spend time together & talk about things and struggled when they forgot to do that. My favorite aspect of the romance was that such things were important, rather than only how blue his eyes are or how beautiful she is.



This book gives us another country, in the less magical portion of this world. I would have liked a deeper exploration of the difference in culture and how that would impact things. I would also have liked more details on the magic.



As I stated above, not having Alec's POV meant that the beginning was a bit rocky. Trying to connect how they were in the past to how they are now wasn't as easy as I would have liked. Also, although I disapprove of drunkenness & infidelity, Gabrielle's initial judgmental attitude was off putting.


I think it would have been better if the flashback to their first meeting had been held for later. Then, even without his POV, we would have had a firmer grasp of who they were (or appeared to be) now.


The pacing was better in this one. There was a reveal towards the end that didn't surprise me at all, since I had guessed it from the minute something happened.


The ending, wrapped things up for this portion of the story quite well. But the overall arc of the impending war was left open for next book.



  • The get-away cottage
  • Alec buys her a gift



The narration was better in this one, although still not above average. I still like the Isian accent and the speed was good.



The Alliance of Isian (Isian #2) by Serena Clarke, read by Carolyn Kashner, published by Red Mountain Shadows (2016) / Length: 7 hrs 30 min Buy Now | +Goodreads

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