Review: Third Daughter (Dharian Affairs, Book One) by Susan Kaye Quinn

ThirdDaughter_CVR_MEDReviewed by Toni

Oh….I loathe this book for making me lose sleep. For days. Every night I told myself to just read for one hour, then right to sleep for I have to wake up really early.

Damn you book for being so full of action, thrills, romance, and overall awesome that I suffered from the JOMP…..otherwise known as “Just One More Paragraph”. Symptoms that plague every bookaholic out there. JOMP manifests during moments of reading novels that are packed with so much power that you cannot tear your eyes away.  No matter how dry they become or  how much cat hair is irritating the cornea. The best professional recommendation in treating JOMP is to just keep reading.

What really hooked me to reading this? The words Bollywood and Steampunk were used as taglines. Two of my (many) favorite modes of entertainment? Yes. Just hand it to me now.

“Third Daughter” was a definite splash of refreshment. I adore Steampunk but it can be a bit stale in terms of the same location, the same customs, the same outfit. Some are pretty magnificent and stand alone but most just get swept away in the same wave.

In addition, after having read a really horrible Eastern Asian Steampunk novel, I want to wave this novel at that author and yell “This! This is how you do it!”

The trilogy begins with Princess Aniri, third daughter of the Dharian royalty, climbing out of her balcony late evening. After a few sentences you can tell she’s done this before. It is all done so she can sneak a late night rendezvous with her fencing instructor (tee hee), Devesh. Their almost-sexy time is broken by the appearance of the Queen’s bodyguard who promptly escorts Aniri back to the Queen for a shocking  (Gasp!) turn of events: To protect her people, Aniri must marry the “barbaric” prince of the Jungali, Malik. By pretending to be married, Aniri is able to spy on the Jungalians for a glimpse of a possible airship that threatens the safety of Dharia.

As Aniri spends more time with Malik and the people of Jungali, perceptions begin to change. Loyalties are questioned. Corruption begins to sully the landscape.

Will Princess Aniri be able to go through the mission for the sake of the people? Has her heart switched sides? Or is she just a puppet controlled by her mother?


I pretty much envisioned this as a Bollywood version in my mind. Bollywood is a subset of Indian movie genre that is characterized by bright colors, catchy music, a romance, spectacular dances, delicious melodrama, and pure entertainment. A good starting place for a Bollywood movie is “Om Shanti OM” (It is about 3 hours long, a typical length. Be warned that the song may stick in your head. In fact it’s this song here). So I pictured Dharia as vibrant, with a sparkly golden palace and a stunning Queen. Jungali was bright green and blue. There were many moments that I kept think “Insert song/dance sequence here” or “I wonder what kind of action music would be playing”.

Background is amazing but how is the story? For a story that akins itself to Bollywood, it’s well done. The world that this book is set in, everything makes sense. The idea of a communication device and an airship makes sense. How it’s used, manipulated is simple but creative. The plot tinged on being corny but because I imagined it in such a Bollywood way, it was forgiven.

The romance between Aniri and Malik is very sweet. There is no smexy times in this book but it makes it up with its full force of action sequences. There is a scene where Aniri escapes after some crucial sabotage. It was so epic ( I know that’s an overused word but it truly was), it was the pinpoint of where Aniri begins to change. She did all of that, found out some ground shaking information, and made some crucial decisions.  She was not the same frivolous girl from before. Although that’s really being fair since I hardly call a hardcore fencer frivolous. It’s directed to her initial indifference to the political interactions around her.

If I had been in her shoes, I would feel the same. If I was her in shoes, I would be so happy to get out of them when I see Malik…

Steampunk is centered around two main elements: the airship and the communicators. Both have several details that make them unique and integral to this world. Both are crucial in several turning point. Both I can easily imagine as being tools in a videogame. I would love to see this book made into a video game (ahem, if this happens, I would love to beta test it…).

As I mentioned before, this story may have the potential to suffer from JOMP.  The power of this book is the change in Aniri. Her initial world view only extends to midnight visits to her lover and waiting until her birthday to be free from the shackles of her mother. Through all of her adventures and surroundings, her world pretty much expands. Now most of us aren’t princesses and have the fate of the whole kingdom resting on our shoulders. Most of us do suffer from being comfortable in our microcosm.  Some of you may hang out with the same people over and over. Some of you may  only travel a small radius. Or you just watch the same channel over and over. Or you just read the same type of books out there. This story may encourage you to try something new, see something else, taste something different. Anything you want since you’re not Aniri and have a scary Queen of a mother.

One thing I was sad for: I wish there was some smexy times. I hope there’s some smexy times in the next installment.

Enjoy the novel everyone. Everyone should enjoy a good adventure now and then.


Length: Novel
Genre: Bollywood Steampunk
Primary Book Format: print and e-format
Publisher/Imprint:  Amazon Digital Services
Blush Quotient: Soaring tinge of pink
Smart Girls Rating:  4 Stars

Order it here: Amazon

Find out more info about the author and series here.

(Disclaimer: This book was provided by the author to enjoy and review.)