Book Review – The Golden Dynasty by Kristen Ashley

by Maryse on December 22, 2013 · 39 comments

in Kristen Ashley, My Book Reviews

The Golden Dynasty (Fantasyland Series)
What a FANTASTIC fantastic story. To think I missed out on this beauty, intensity and heartbreak over the word “fantasy” for a year or two, when all along, every bit of the “Kristen Ashley fervent alpha-male love story” I was craving was right there, ready and waiting for me. *sigh* Blasted me and my genre-bias!!

And the worst part is I probably won’t learn my lesson. I’ll still shy away from the “fantasy” genre. Except for anything “fantasy” from this author. I. Am. Sold.

Claudia: I’m into Fantasy but definitely going to try the Fantasyland series by one my favorite authors (Kristen Ashley) Thank you Maryse!!

Ashley: I have never been super into fantasy, but I started reading Wildest Dreams and it’s so…..KA with fantasy mixed in. It’s writing like I can’t explain. Loving it!

Marissa: I’m half way through Wildest Dreams and loving it. I’m not one for paranormal/fantasy (if that’s what you’d call this) but I should’ve known…it’s Kristen Ashley; of course it’s fantastic!

Kristin: You will feel everything down to your bones! This book…for me…was the Fantasy version of Sweet Dreams. I felt it that deeply! Enjoy!!!

Yep… she said “Sweet Dreams“! My all-time FAVORITE Kristen Ashley book. Whoa. That is some comparison! And I’m going to say I agree. ;)

So I cheated going into this. Not to say I won’t be backtracking and reading the rest “in order” but I skipped right to book #2 simply on the spirited adoration of this book by my fellow readers. (P.S. Here’s the The Fantasyland Series Reading Order). That many enthusiastic comments, and adamant recommendations couldn’t be wrong. And like I know Kristen Ashley’s stories, I knew this wasn’t just going to be a “new fantasy world” for me to experience.

Now wait… I know to fantasy-lovers, my claim of “just” a new fantasy world sounds blasphemous and silly. After all, even I have connected to a few a true “fantasy” stories. And while I can appreciate them and even reflect fondly upon the few I have enjoyed, I tend to not gravitate to to the effort needed (from me) to learn, adapt and connect to them. They’re intricate, deep, detailed and kind of… at first, unrelatable.

But the comments for this one? I knew there was going to be that something about this that was going to be pure Kristen Ashley. Pure “modern” woman. Pure girly-girl. Pure me, that I could relate to in every way.

And that, I did.

Oh sure, there was plenty to learn, and deal with. Languages, customs, living arrangements. But ALL of that was done through the eyes of a 30-something, modern day Seattle woman. Because you see… this one had a touch of that “time-travel” by accident thing going on. Mind you we have no clue, what, why and how this all happened. But it was HUGE. Powerful. Painful. And… phenomenal.

What’s it about?

Circe (yeah… that name had me on alert from the start ’cause it had that “mythology” feel to it) is a 30-something woman amidst a sea of men. Her family. Brothers, loving father… raised in a happy, loving (albeit a a little sad without her mother) environment. Stable, steady, strong and secure. Maybe not deliriously happy and loving life, but content and maybe not realizing that she was.

Until she is startled out of a dead sleep, finding herself in a cage of strangely dressed women.

I didn’t know where I was or how I got there. I wasn’t certain what was happening. I went to bed in my bed in a world I understood and I woke up here in a world that was entirely foreign to me, everything about it, and not one thing about it was good.

Some of the women were excited. Some scared out of their mind. On her way to a “hunt”. Where warriors (think “Khal Drogo“) from “Game of Thrones” choose their wives from a parade of women. Some women raised… trained to be the wife of a warrior, and some simply kidnapped from other lands and brought against their will.

“Do not fight the claiming. Don’t. It is their tradition. They don’t see anything wrong with it and look at the Korwahk women. Circe, look at them. They can’t wait.”

I looked at the Korwahk women. It was true. It was insane, but it was true.

They obviously couldn’t wait.

Then Narinda went on to advise, “Take your warrior and endure the claiming and hope, hope my lovely, with all your heart, that you get a warrior who is soft under all the hardness.”

I was trembling from head to toe and I wanted to bolt. I wanted to run.

But it was too late.

Doesn’t matter. If a warrior chooses you, chains himself to you… you are his.

“They will hunt us and they will claim us.” Her fingers gripped my forearm and she pressed closer. “They will claim us like any husband claims his wife on their wedding night.”

Oh sh!t. Oh God. Oh Sh!t.

And the claiming is brutal.

Circe is claimed by none other than the King of this land himself.

“He is savage. Tales of his exploits have spread wide. Very cruel. Heartless.”

Having waited out years of “wife” parades, not claiming any of the beauties and “fangirls” (yep, it was full on “groupie” mode during the parade when they passed his throne – each woman hoping to get his attention). He ignored all of them, awaiting his perfect chosen one. And he spots her (the golden one) right here in this very parade.

“He saw me,” I whispered.

Maybe he didn’t see her…

She gripped my arm. “Maybe he didn’t.”

I nodded. “Maybe he didn’t,” I said softly.

But he did.

Lucky Circe (or unlucky… at first). ‘Cause she’s the one.

And this is the INCREDIBLE love story of Circe and Dax Lahn (King Lahn). Fear and hate at first, while Lahn does what he will, for he is a warrior. And worst of all, he is KING. Never to be denied.

Maryse’s Book Blog: In the meantime… I’m still in Golden Dynasty world and all I can say is… *Oooooooooooh THAT MAN!!!!!!!!!* ROAR!!!!!!!! *fumes*

Paula: I’m thinking you got to “that part.”

Alyssa: There are many of “those parts!” Which one?????

Maryse’s Book Blog: OMG this is INTENSE!!!! That speech she gave him. I just want to cry… About her amazing protective father… in response to Lahn’s *ahem* (ROAR!!!!!!) actions… “But you should know this, my king… if he knew you, he would not like you.” I am devastated.

Crystal: One of my KA top 3

Jacque: Oh its better….. keep reading, don’t sleep.

Jennifer: Love it, love it, love it!

Sam: Omg, I’m at the exact same spot as you Maryse!! I’m furious!! I don’t know if I can get past that, I just can’t believe it!! Grrrrr!!!

Sarah: So many good book feels! This book makes you feel everything.

Rhonda: Me too!!! The translations are killing me!!!!!

Destini: I LOVED this book!!!!!!

Debra: You guys just made me “click” it

Erin: LAHN is MY MAN!!!

Karla Sierra Vazquez Me too I’m at 47% I love it

Michele: Lahn is on my top 5 KA ALPHA LIST!!!! ;D

Brandie: My favorite in that series for sure! My emotions were all over the place but in such a good way. He pissed me off so many times but she did too near the end. Loved it, loved the way it ended. Just perfect.

Britton Copeland Epps Lahn is my favorite alpha male ever!!!!

Natalie: This is one of my top 6 Favorite books EVER. I have read it at least 5 times!

Hang: Maryse, you’re making me want to re-read!!! Dax was so intense and the end…OMG!

Bettý: I’m also reading golden dynasty and OMG that man

Alyssa: Did you stay up all night and have your heart broken, mended, laugh and cry?????

Oh Alyssa… if you only knew the half of it. But you probably do, don’t you? Tears NUMEROUS times, heartache, fear… (oh the fear!)

I didn’t want to be stuck in this world. It frightened me. Not only the culture I’d been thrown into but whatever power might be out there that took me to it. I had to admit some parts of it were interesting and some parts even cool. But the rest scared the sh!t out of me.

And I worried about my Pop. I worried that he was frantic, wondering where I was.

… hatred, and pure unadulterated happiness… mixed throughout. I felt it ALL.

But no worries. Circe is a strong woman. Circe’s will to live, and desire to be happy despite her circumstances (after all … she has NO choice in the matter) has her fighting, reasoning and showing the King how a woman of today, of our world, likes to be treated. As do all women of the worlds. Ours… and others.

Circe, the modern woman that she is, is adept at adapting, accepting and making the best of her new life. I know the strong-willed women in us wants to resist, and deny, and not accept this kind of “love”. Their way of life, the man demanding, the woman succumbing.

“He’s a husband, he’s a king, he’s a man but above all, my queen, always remember, above all, he… is… a warrior.”

But Circe’s strength shines through all of the King’s (and his warrior’s) tyrant tendencies. Her will, her strength, her compassion, and her savvy ability to communicate, convince in such a subtle yet undeniable manner (and at a times, debate, even) slowly breaks through. She’s convincing. She’s right. And the connections made are profound. Even with concessions on her part. And concessions on theirs.

I… pretty much highlighted the WHOLE book. Even the darn baby-tiger. Hehe.

Maryse’s Book Blog: OMG! The baby tiger in the pen is Kristen Ashley’s “The Golden Dynasty” is killing me in awwwwwwww-ness. I am loving this book so far! I can’t stop giggling with gleeeeee. This book is so intense, and yet hilarious in Kristen Ashley’s perfect way. She freaking yippee’d!!!

Dee: No way! I’m reading this right now! God I love this book!

Lori: It started so intense, you we’re right in! I love the language barrier!

Mariel: Oh Maryse… I know you… You’re gonna have the… OH NO! HE DID NOT! Moment lol I love me some Lahn!

Jessica: OMG! Yes I loved that book!!!!! I can’t say it enough!

Maryse’s Book Blog: “Mayoo!” ”I can’t “Mayoo” Lahn, you’re like six foot seven. You’ve got a whole foot on me.” LOL! Damn she’s funny. I can’t stop giggling. This is the most endearing relatable character in such an unrelatable world. I. Am. Loving! You guys weren’t kidding when u said this was one of her best.

Molly: Loved loved loved this series! Cannot wait until December 27th for the next installment! Was in a book slump until I read these!

Sarah: I’m so excited that you’re reading this Maryse! Can’t wait to hear what you think of the rest of the book!

Maryse’s Book Blog: Okay u guys are gonna hold my hand. Right now I’m in awwww-mode ’cause of the sweetness of learning each other. But I’m scared (and excited for) the OH NO HE DIDNT moment. Eeeeep!!! When it comes to books (see how I put that in there ) there is NOTHING better than winning the heart and smile of that angry, hulking, brooding, scowling warrior. NOTHING better.

Maryse’s Book Blog: OMG I’m IN LOVE!!! I’m so silly!!! It’s just the “Gingoo” drink scene and Im giggling like a schoolgirl. THIS feeling is why I read.

Erin: You get a good dose of “the feels” with this one!!

Violy: I love dax Lahn! Golden Dynasty is my fave KA book.

Meagan: This book couple also reminds me a whole lot of Kahleesi and Kahl Drogo on Game of Thrones and I love them!!

Maryse’s Book Blog: She says that was her inspiration in an interview with me a year ago…

Maryse’s Book Blog: “Rayloo, Circe.”
I glared into his eyes as his hand glided up the skin of my side.
Sh!t, that felt nice.
“All right, rayloo. I’ll rayloo, whatever the hell that means,” I grumbled.

Okay… I just SO cackled in glee again.

Ashley: I’m reading Wildest Dreams right now. I can’t not read her books in order no matter what I do. I’m not sure why I held off on this for so long, but it’s perfect fantasy + KA!

Sarah: You so have to post when you get to the oh $&@: moment. I’d love to see your reaction…if you can even pull your eyes away from it of course. Its so bad yet so good. Pure KA gold.

Alyssa: You haven’t read it???????? Love the fantastical series!!!! Wait. You’ll be laughing and sobbing alternately!

Have you EVER seen so much love for one book? I could make an entire “book review” just on the reader comments and subsequent discussions for this book alone. And there’s a reason for this.

My GOODNESS I LOVED THIS!!!!!! There is SO much to experience here. From misunderstandings to mistreatments, pure and beautiful “falling in love” to intense jealousy, injustices and concessions. It’s heartwarming, inspiring and so romantic I was a puddle of golden mush the entire way through. Ahhhhh to be loved by an unassailable King, an invincible warrior… and best yet, just a beautiful man (although frequently brooding and growly <— just the way I like ‘em ;) ), named Lahn.

Any “Circe’s” out there? Watch out when you go to sleep tonight… you never know. ;) Lucky girl!

Pure Kristen Ashley perfection. Treat yourself to the kind of romance you read for. This is it.

5 stars

P.S. Here’s the The Fantasyland Series Reading Order <— All “standalones” and Lori has read them all so far and suggests:

“I think Golden Dynasty is probably the best book KA has ever written, loved it – this is a steal! They are standalones if you just want to read Golden Dynasty. If you want to read the whole series, start with Wildest Dreams…then GD, Fantastical, Broken Dove should be out soon. Well worth the read!! but GD is a must!”

    

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Jodie December 22, 2013 at 10:18 PM

I love KA!! Does this series have to be read in order?

pamelia December 22, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Love this book. This was my second ever KA book I read (after Knight) and it was so freaking awesome. I read the 1st in the series and it was good, but not to this level. The 3rd book is another of my favorite KA books and I can hardly wait for book 4!

Sarah Theisen December 22, 2013 at 10:36 PM

So happy that you loved this…..not that I really had any doubt! :) And I so agree with the Sweet Dreams comparison. It makes sense, since SD and GD are two of my favorite KA books. I also held back on reading this until about 6 months ago. Just didn’t think it was my thing. I ended up loving this entire series, and I will never doubt KA again! :)

Linh December 22, 2013 at 10:36 PM

U sold me. I one clicked it. U haven’t gushed like this for awhile.

Erin M December 22, 2013 at 10:37 PM

I like you Maryse shied away from this book because it is a fantasy…..but seeing how much you love it I am going to give it a chane. I just bought it…I do love all KA books.

Maryse December 22, 2013 at 10:41 PM

I’m in ecstasy right now, digging through all of my highlights trying to find some awesome quotes to add into this review. It’s like I’m re-reading it in short form. i want to post ALL of my highlights. LOL!!! :P

Mariel December 23, 2013 at 12:03 AM

Well did you Maryse?! Have the OH NO moment?!? I talked in depth to KA about this book… (At book bash, where I also met you!!!) she said this story pressed her sooooo much, she’s wrote it in three weeks with language and everything!!!! It was “golden” from the start!!! ( like my corny joke? Hehe ;p)

Maryse December 23, 2013 at 12:06 AM

I sure did!! I posted that moment above where I was GROWLING in fury. ;)

Unless you mean that second OH NO moment. Gah!!! That one killed me…

Georgia Nikolaros December 23, 2013 at 12:15 AM

Maryse, I’m so glad you finally read Golden Dynasty. I knew you would love it. It encompasses you entirely.,Thete is just soo much there. Your granted with everything. Kristen Ashley by far is one of my favorite authors, and I have you to thank for. I started with ” The Gamble” and have read evrything she has written ! It’s a ride I don’t ever want to get off. I’m just soo glad she writes soo many books within one year to keep me completely entertained and enthraled ! Thank you again! Rock On!

Marta December 23, 2013 at 4:50 AM

OMG Maryse I have been tryig to find the right moment to start this series as I also feel the exactly the same about “fantasy” as you do. But this review totally sold me on starting it and it is a super bargain at the moment on Amazon UK.
Now only problem i:s do I start reading it today when there’s so much Xmas stuff to do? ‘Cause when I start a KA book nothing else matters LOL
Happy holidays and thanks for all your fab reviews this year and to many many many more next year!!! xxx

V. December 23, 2013 at 6:22 AM

I’ve read all of her contemporary novels but I don’t do paranormal books. Maybe it is time I gave this a shot. Thanks for the review.

Nancy Parken December 23, 2013 at 7:58 AM

Reading this one now, & so read your review carefully, so I wouldn’t get ahead of myself with the story, but lately I seem to be reading the same books at the same time as you.

LucyM December 23, 2013 at 8:00 AM

13% into Wildest Dream – OMG! It’s like my two favourite worlds colliding Kristen Ashley’s alpha males and PNR. I am in my happy place, thanks for the tip Maryse!

Tracie December 23, 2013 at 8:52 AM

Excellent review!! When I read this I had my kindle open to the book and my iPad open to the glossary at the back. I even had paper and pen so I could write out the phrases. I LOVED this book so much… That KA punch was so intense in this one. I’m like you and out this one off for months thinking alternate universe? Nah. But whoa was I wrong. GD is my all time fave KA book and Lahn is my all time fave alpha. This whole series is perfection.

Jean December 23, 2013 at 9:51 AM

This is my first book in the “fantasy” genre also..I was hesitant….but wanted to read along with everyone….(HOW DID YOU FINISH SO QUICKLY MARYSE?…THIS BOOK IS LONG!!!)….I am at 60% but with all the Xmas stuff this weekend didn’t have much time (and had to put it down for the Eagles game last night..haha!) But I am loving it…scrolled through your review to the bottom just to see your rating!! Great book! Don’t know how KA does it….never thought I would catch on to the other language…how does she do that….what an imagination! Thanks for introducing me to yet another genre which I never thought I would like (the first one being the dark reads….yay!)

Belle December 23, 2013 at 10:15 AM

I always shy away from “fantasy” as well, but seeing as I loooove KA and had read all her other books, decided to give it a shot. Love all 3 books in series. The “Three ” series is also good. Oh who am I kidding, everything KA is good.

Jean December 23, 2013 at 11:48 AM

My husband kept looking over at me as I was reading it and asked why I was grinning…..I just loved their attempts at communicating in the beginning…..:)

Tricia C December 23, 2013 at 12:50 PM

So glad you read & reviewed this. I have the 2 books in the series because I love Kristen Ashley, but just hadn’t read them. Thank you!

Missy December 23, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Maryse…FINALLY!!! So glad you reviewed this book! I’ve been dying to see if you fell as hard for Lahn as I did! I feel like I’ve been a KA stalker since I finished this series and have been waiting NOT so patiently for Broken Dove. I’ve read and reread this series so many times, I’m embarrassed to even admit it. Not my genre either, but I’m a believer! Happy holidays!!!

Nikki December 23, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Reading now….and agree, this may be my favorite KA book. And my first thought was of Game of Thrones….knew immediately where the inspiration came from and loving every minute of it.

Michelle December 23, 2013 at 6:37 PM

Don’t shy away from this book because of the “fantasy” element. Kristen Ashley knows how to write. Period. And this is her very best, so you are seriously missing out on a whole-lotta-fun if you don’t pick it up. It will grab you from page one. No joke. Just like Kresley Cole’s style, it starts out in the middle of the action. And she’s such a great heroine. And he’s…. he’s…. he’s…. so dang BAD… bad bad bad…. and you love him anyway. ACK! Be prepared to stay up late, and don’t be surprised if a few days later you want to reread it because you miss them all so much and everything else is just so meh after that experience.

LisaB December 23, 2013 at 8:16 PM

I loved reading your review and experiencing it again through someone else. Such a great book.

Joy December 23, 2013 at 9:44 PM

I LOVE.LOVE.LOVE. Kristen Ashley. She is my favorite!!! All that to say, I also shied away from this series, but I started this book yesterday, I’m in love!!! Can’t wait to finish!!!

Amy December 24, 2013 at 3:09 PM

This was my first Kristen Ashley book, and I now have a new author to add to my favorites list. I’ll sum up my reaction to TGD by stealing an Elizabeth Banks line and say “I’m gonna have to freshen up a little down town!” *hee hee*

linh December 24, 2013 at 3:49 PM

It was perfect. I loved it so much. It’s in my top three of this year. Amazing book. Glad u sold me Maryse!

Maryse December 24, 2013 at 8:40 PM

I’m glad I sold me too, Linh!! ;)

Maryse December 24, 2013 at 8:41 PM

Amy. LOL!!!!!!!! I am dying here!! :P

Maryse December 24, 2013 at 8:41 PM

Joy, I’d love for you to let us know what you thought.

Maryse December 24, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Jean… it took me THREE nights to finish. I made the excuse of “Christmas shopping” was getting in the way, but now that you said this one was so LONG (I didn’t even realize), then I think three evenings is about right. ;)

Ashley December 25, 2013 at 4:28 PM

Over the past year I have been working my way through most of KA’s books and absolutely loving them, but this book is by far and above my favorite!!! I am like Maryse avoiding the fantasy aspect and thinking nothing could beat Sweet Dreams or Motorcycle Man but I was clearly wrong. I am now going back and reading the first in the series and hoping that it can live up to The Golden Dynasty but somehow I don’t see how it could so I hope I am not ruined for all other KA books since I love them so much!

teri December 28, 2013 at 8:45 AM

I like some fantasy but have read the synopsis of this series several times when desparately searching for all things Kristen Ashley and just didn’t think I would be interested. But you have me convinced so I just purchased all three that are on sale for $ .99.

Cindy December 30, 2013 at 8:16 PM

I am loving this book so far!! It’s just what I needed and can’t wait to get to my reading as I mostly read at night. Wow it’s soo different and yet the writing is smooth and I feel like I’m right there along for the ride. Would not have picked this one out on my own so thanks for the enthusiastic review!!

Jennifer December 30, 2013 at 8:43 PM

Let me say…I was totally against starting this series because of the “fantasy” part but going on your “tip” I decided to give it a try. I started with Wildest Dreams and went from there…and girl; YOU WERE RIGHT! Dax Lahn IS the man! I really enjoyed all the stories. I won’t say they all rated a total 5 but for the most part they hit 4 to 4.5 but I’ve never read ANYTHING I could compare to The Golden Dynasty, just WOW! But alas, Apollo in Broken Dove was THE man for me. The story moves forward and though KA says just one more book in this series I am hoping her “fans” encouragement help her see the error of her ways. There are SO many people in Book 4 deserving of a HEA! As usual, KA blew me out of the water with all her alpha maleness. NOBODY does alpha quite like she does…. THANK YOU THANK YOU for forcing me to choose a book that was so far off my radar (even if it was a KA book) it wasn’t even funny. Now I’m off to start her Ghost series…hmmmm I’ll let you know.

Maryse December 31, 2013 at 10:04 AM

YAY Jennifer!! And the fact that you LOVED Apollo the way you do makes me so excited to read it!!! :D

Amanda January 1, 2014 at 11:53 PM

Excuse me…did you say think Drogo from the game of thrones? SOLD!

Dana January 2, 2014 at 10:35 PM

I am only about 10% in but am enthralled. I’m totally thinking Drogo ( hubba hubba!) and am in my ether….

Dana January 6, 2014 at 10:01 AM

That was amazing. I loved it! 75% in I started panicking about the fact that it was going to end…
As soon as I finished I dug back in to re-read my favourite parts. Lahn was totally Drogo and it was totally awesome.
I was tempted to get into her other Fantastyland ones but think I’m going to break and read Surviving Raine first.
Loved your best of the year post. Will probably read most of them!

Adrianna April 9, 2014 at 6:48 AM

I just finished reading Golden Dynasty, and have the biggest book hangover I have ever had. I LOOOOOVED IT! It is now in my top 5 Kristen Ashley books. It might have got to number 2! I can’t put it in at no1 as Sweet Dreams was the first KA book I read and will always have a special place in my heart! This book was so well written, so beautifully conceived, everything worked so well from the pace to the language, I couldn’t bloody put it down! I was furious, I laughed, cried buckets and swooned. I can’t BELIEVE I put off this series for so long. I really enjoyed Wildest Dreams too, but Golden Dynasty is just a cut about. Loved it, loved it, loved it!! Brutal, savage and beautiful story, just like the hero, Lahn…

Tina September 28, 2015 at 9:02 PM

I know I’ve seen a “What to read after Golden Dynasty” list but can’t seem to find it. Help!

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