Of Last Resort was my first Megan Derr experience and let me tell you she grabbed me by the throat and shoved my face in this book. And I loved it. Every minute of it. I really did try to stop reading it-I have a kazillion other things to read, but I simply could not put it down. It went a little something like, ‘Just one more chapter and then that’s it! Well, I can’t stop now I’m a 90%! That would just be silly.’ And… here we are.
Title: Of Last Resort
Author: Megan Durr
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
From the Publisher
In a kingdom ravaged by the beasts and terrors of an ancient war, the only hope against them is the army of mixed-blood beings known as the King’s Legion: dragoons, shadowmarch, sorcerers, titans … and the Princes of the Blood, nigh-invincible warriors of fearsome magic and strength, their only weakness a need for pure human blood.
When his brother runs away, Raffé agrees to undergo the Blooding, but he is a pale imitation of his strong, capable brother. No one expects him to survive and become a Prince, merely to die to save the rest of his family and preserve honor.
But runaways and weaklings are the least of the kingdom’s concerns when an ancient evil returns with new tricks, and their only hope lies with knowledge long lost and a fierce bond forged in darkness…
There is too much to like and discuss about Of Last Resort that I cannot possibly do it justice. It’s an epic opening salvo to a series. Ms. Derr intersperses sociopolitical messages and commentary on current social mores into a fantasy adventure that’s sure to keep anyone entertained. I wouldn’t necessarily characterize Of Last Resort as a horror, but there are certainly some grisly moments and creatures which will continue to give me the heebeegeebees. Then again, I am a delicate flower; just look at my avatar. Primarily, Of Last Resort is a fantasy tale with a little romance on the side.
Raffé is the second, and largely ignored, son. Even after he volunteers to sacrifice himself in the Blooding ceremony to save his family from being labeled as traitors in place of his brother who’s absconded, he’s still shown no affection. Nothing. That is heartbreaking in and of itself but what twisted the knife was the fact that no one expects Raffé to survive the ceremony. This brings me to the first message in Of Last Resort which is family doesn’t have to include blood. Raffé is wholly accepted by not only the other princes, but by all that comprise the king’s legion. His transformation is noticeable throughout the course of the book. He thrives. Evolving from meek son and ‘Princeling’ to leader of men and ‘Highness’ within a few months under the expert tutelage of his fellow princes to be sure, but also he’s encouraged to allow his demon half to flourish thereby giving him untold powers and a modicum of respect.
Through the Blooding Raffé becomes half demon and along with that he acquires powers. I won’t give all of that away because it’s fun to let it unfold, suffice to say he can do some really interesting things; I’m pretty sure we’ve not seen the extent of his powers. There are a plethora of magical or mystical creatures from mermaids, dead walkers, dragon shifters, sirens, mermaids, griffons, necromancers to shadowmarch, just to name a few. Ms. Derr’s take on traditionally “good” vs. “evil” creatures is… unorthodox; she flips them which could possibly be a dig at religion and the church or perhaps a caution to be wary of black and white labels. I’m not sure but it certainly made for a somewhat dichotomous read-emotionally speaking.
As for the side of romance in Of Last Resort… well, let me back up a bit. That night Raffé volunteered for the Blooding he wends up wandering through a maze after having been denied a fond farewell, if you will, by his fiancé. He finds himself pushed into a wall by a man named “Cambord”-bearing in mind Raffé’s not expected to live 24 hrs-and it’s pitch black, so other than smell and touch it’s anonymous. Raffé does live though. Of course he does. So, who is Cambord then? Will they ever meet again? Was it just a pity fuck? Add to that this big, strong, muscular Dragoon, Alrin, who Raffé is drawn to, feels comfortable with and also seems familiar… somehow and it’s not hard to discern who Cambord really is. But those pesky fraternization rules are apparently alive and well in King Waldemar’s land, so they’re left with mostly friendship and one spectacular stolen moment.
I want to keep you. I want to lock you up and hide you away and not let anyone else near you. I don’t want others touching you, I don’t want them able to smell you. I want you hidden and safe. I want to hoard you and never share you with anyone again. I would shape my entire life around your every want and desire, around pleasing you and satisfying you, keeping you where I am not just the center of your world but all of it.
So, Alrin’s a little possessive and, thus, they must be separated. They also have a lunatic who insists on breaking seals, summoning demons and generally wreaking havoc throughout the kingdom that must be stopped.
Of Last Resort is divided into three sections, two of which are Raffé’s perspective, the other Alrin’s. There isn’t a moment’s peace in Of Last Resort. Seriously, it wrung me out emotionally. I needed a martini and a nap when it was all said and done. The story arc is highly satisfying and riddled with possibilities. There are a lot of characters. A Lot. Raffé is well developed; as I said before his progression is very gratifying. Many of the other princes are still somewhat enigmatic, but what Ms. Derr excels at is world building coupled with her ability to convey visceral images. Some of the images were so gruesome they won’t soon be forgotten, yet I think what made it so satisfying for me was her ability to create everything from the ground up. Not only did she give each creature and land its due visually and even olfactorly but, the character’s emotional reactions to the creatures or the different lands as well.
Last, but certainly not the least of the messages contained within Of Last Resort, Ms. Derr weaves in a undercurrent of equality and non-discrimination in this kingdom she’s created. Marriage in any permutation is commonplace, even polyamorous ones.
“No one should be punished for what they are. You have as much right to be you as any of us.”
I literally can NOT wait until the next installment. Hoping for more dragons.
Where to Buy
An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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