I Don’t Like Being TOLD a Romance is Awesome

The AffiliateThe Affiliate by K.A. Linde
Series: Ascension #1
Published by: Self Published on September 15, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Romance
Pages: 339
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★

On the day of her Presenting, in front of the entire Byern Court, seventeen-year-old Cyrene Strohm's lifelong plans come to fruition when she's chosen for one of the most prestigious positions in her homeland—an Affiliate to the Queen.

Or so she thinks.

When Cyrene receives a mysterious letter and an unreadable book, she finds nothing is as it seems. Thrust into a world of dangerous political intrigue and deadly magic, Cyrene's position only grows more treacherous when she finds herself drawn to the one man she can never have...

King Edric himself.

Cyrene must decide if love is truly worth the price of freedom. Find out in this first book in USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde’s new Ascension series.

I love a hot, juicy, tension-filled romance.

But you know what I REALLY like?

Being there in that romance every step of the way.

I like being privy to all their “moments”, conversations, and “get to know you” steps. I like seeing the tension boil over. I like reading the first awkward conversations and seeing those transform into confident flirting and then possibly further.

What I DON’T like is being told that two people are getting to know each other… and not seeing any of it first hand.

That’s what happened in The Affiliate.

Don’t get me wrong—The Affiliate wasn’t a bad book. It’s a fantasy story and that part was definitely cool. I liked the world that K.A. Linde created, particularly the whole magical element.

But there’s also a forbidden romance between Cyrene—the main character—and King Edric.

Sadly, this romance was 100% told instead of shown.

We don’t even get to be part of their biggest “getting to know each other” period.

Cyrene and King Edric have a few awkward, public conversations together at the beginning. They’re all pretty formal and professional with a little bit of snark/flirt. But a little further on, they get to finally spend some alone time together and get to know each other. Four days of it. Guess what we saw of that…

…This paragraph:

She and Edric paced the deck, discussing everything from geographical formations to ancient history to gardening. Over meals, they found themselves contemplating various cultural differences between the cities of Byern, and at night, they practiced languages and read aloud late into the night. They listened to a minstrel on board, danced their favorite jigs, taught each other card games, and watched the sunset over the Taken Mountains.

We’re TOLD that they did all these things and we’re just supposed to BELIEVE that it was all awesome and romantic.

  • We saw ZERO dialogue from this period.
  • We didn’t get a play-by-play of any of those discussions, reading sessions, or minstrel performances.
  • We didn’t get to live or experience any of it.

Those four days set the foundation for their whole relationship and we didn’t see any of it.

This romance could have been so fantastic. There was chemistry between the characters and I was interested in both of them, but the actual implementation was SO SHALLOW. I hate it when something so potentially great is ruined because it’s too vague. I can’t be expected to love a romance if I don’t experience any of it.

Despite this shallow romance, I still recommend The Affiliate to fantasy lovers!

The romance is not so great—we’ve established that. But The Affiliate is still an interesting fantasy book.

  • I liked the story.
  • It has an interesting fantasy world and history.
  • It ended on a cool note—I’m excited to see what happens next!
  • It has magic. I freakin’ love magic.

If you ignore the romance and ignore the fact that all the “eligible bachelors” are OBSESSED with the main character (I hate that) then it’s a pretty darn good read!

Can you think of any other books that had a “shallow” romance that was more told than shown?

The Verdict


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I'm a 28 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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  1. I totally agree…sometimes when this happens in books I read I have to literally force myself to finish the book/series *cough cough* matched series *cough cough* selection series….

  2. I’ve never read anything by K.A. Linde, but I don’t think I would pick this one up, even if it’s fantasy (just because there’s so many better ones out there). I’m a huge romance junkie so I NEED the romance to be good! I don’t like it when authors summarize events like that, it’s too brief. I think it was more difficult to experience the romance because of the fact that it’s told in third person perspective? Thanks for your honest thoughts, Ashley, and fabulous review as always!

    Jen @ Books and Other Happy Ever Afters recently posted: 7 Spooky Reads for October
  3. True. It’s really very important to bring the reader in by showing them what happened instead of telling them. But, since it was still a good story, the author has potential. 🙂
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal – Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

  4. This is one of the things that annoys me the most. I usually give up on books that do this because I think it’s lazy. I really need writing that’s active and dialogue because I get bored with books that are overly descriptive or that tell me what the characters did instead of show me that.

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