Author: Charlotte Ashe
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: C.B. Messer
Rating: 4.75 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 12/08/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance
What happens when the fairytale ends but the journey continues?
Book II of the Heart of All Worlds series finds Sehrys and Brieden living peacefully in Khryslee until King Firae must cross The Border in pursuit of a convicted criminal, one who has violated a magical doctrine and so threatened the stability of their world. When Firae’s plan goes awry and he becomes trapped in Villalu, he is faced with a choice between allegiance to the Council or allegiance to Brissa, the fierce young human queen who is determined to bring justice to Villalu. Firae discovers he must rely on the very criminal he was seeking to help him get home alive—a man he exiled long ago, but who awakens something in his heart more potent than his sworn duties as king.
Meanwhile, Sehrys is forced to ascend the throne in Firae’s absence, thus taking a role he was once groomed for, but one that Brieden fears could destroy their life together.
As each man struggles to understand his own destiny, devotion, and legacy, deeper and more urgent truths confront them all: Their world is in far greater danger than they realized, and each of them plays an integral part in its fate.
Literally the only reason I didn’t give this 5 whole stars is that there’s one more book yet to come, and I want it to have room to grow. Otherwise? The King and The Criminal is essentially the perfect queer fantasy sequel you’ve always dreamed of.
While shifting the focus in a second book to a different set of already-introduced characters is not an uncommon thing for an author to do, it’s not something I personally often enjoy. For me, a big part of the draw of a series is the familiarity and the chance to continue the journey with your favorite fictional people or places. That said, I think Ms. Ashe absolutely nailed the switch to Tash/Firae here. I felt engaged with each of them almost right away, and didn’t feel as though Sehryrs and Brieden (who do, of course, appear in a lesser extent) were ~missing or like the story was in any way lacking.
Creatively, the world-building is both lush and consistent, and I found the dialogue refreshingly wry. Firae’s inner voice is particularly amusing; he’s a guy with a ton of power both literally and figuratively, but he gets dumped on his naked a** in a foreign land straight off the bat, and his struggle to deal with it seemed quite realistic. Add in Tash – the total sweetheart – and Brissa, as fearsome a queen as there ever was, and you’ve got another big winner from Interlude Press.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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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