To Make the World Beautiful For You is a fantasy-romance about an orphan named Martia, set in the make-believe Kingdom of Absyleous.
Martia has been trained “as a lethal assassin” by anti-royalist rebel-leader Promanthae, head of the dissident village Promapple, which stands in direct opposition to Absyleous’s ruling monarchy, favoring a more egalitarian approach to governance. Following an expository opening in which Absyleous’s various political factions and the roles of the players are explained, the novel’s romantic narrative commences in earnest.
After impressing Promanthae with her daring, youthful exploits, Martia is marked for succession as Promapple’s leader. However, when she’s older, Martia encounters a prince of Absyleous during a visit to the city. The prince is the brother of Absyleous’ ruling monarch, King Coaleme.
Martia falls in love with the prince (who she refers to as “the Prince” throughout), an idealistic doctor with a penchant for swooning adoration. Ditching her responsibilities as Promapple’s future leader, Martia elopes with him. However, she’s subsequently discovered by former acquaintances, who take a dim view of her fraternizing with the enemy.
This is a romantic-fantasy that’s big on melodrama, monologues, and forbidden love, sacrificing humor for a sober narrative focused on Martia’s romantic journey and the resulting socio-political disruption that occurs from her ill-advised relationship with the prince.
The decision to depict Martia as an independent, empowered woman determined to orchestrate peace between Absyleous’ squabbling denizens is to be commended. Martia is a complex, conflicted protagonist endeavoring to overcome a lifetime of trauma via love’s healing power.
Unfortunately, supporting characters, such as Martia’s adoring prince and Promanthae, aren’t as fleshed out. Similarly, Absyleous’ geography is featureless, and the puritanical villagers of Promapple and inhabitants of those cities allied with the king are the only real populations afforded an identifiable culture.
Despite its imperfections, Kalyani Singh’s novel is largely entertaining and will appeal to fans of emotionally weighty fantasy-romance.
Also available as an ebook.