The human’s struggle against their self, against their inner demons, can significantly amplify the dread of an external threat in a story. After all, the only thing worse than facing an existential threat is facing it while also fighting with oneself. Or perhaps even more alarming, dealing with somebody else’s inner demons while dealing with your own and an existential threat.
This is the scenario posited by L.S. Patel in her novel The Lycan’s Queen the story of an ordinary young woman named Aarya thrust into a world of court intrigue in a werewolf kingdom on the verge of collapse. Fated to be the mate of King Dimitri Adonis Grey, a man half mad with the very real struggle against his ferocious Lycan self, it falls to her to help him regain control of himself while navigating the intrigues of court life, assassination attempts, and battling a few inner demons of her own. It’s a pretty tall order for anyone.
But this is what elevates The Lycan’s Queen. L.S. Patel uses the qualities of both known and unknown inner darkness to heighten the tension of a romantic thriller by injecting the dreadful possibility of doubt into the narrative—doubt in one’s self. Suspicion in the people one thought they could trust. Even as Aarya copes with her volatile mate and the attendant difficulties of being wed to a king, the betrayal of those close to her undercuts her struggle to adapt and survive. Realizing that even people she cares about may have succumbed to their inner demons haunts her.
The specter of human (or werewolf) frailty is woven throughout the story to paint a picture of a world in which nothing is certain, and conflicts come from within as well without. The simple inclusion of this element takes what could be a simple romantic adventure story that hits all the right beats (adventure, hot guys, and lots of steamy sex) while introducing a real sense of terror into the narrative. It’s an effective strategy for engaging your reader in a gripping read. And if you haven’t checked it out, you should read The Lycan’s Queen to see this trope in action!
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