Wow, this was fun! Looking back having gotten to the end, I realized this was all simmering just below the surface, waiting. It’s like a bloom or newly rooted plant, ever so slowly growing before exploding with all of the unexpected brightness, drama, heartache, imperfection and love.
Author: Derek Bishop
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
Prince Edwin knows how to put on a mask and do his duty, but everything from his witty banter in the banquet hall to his doting attendance on the princess, his bride-to-be, are false and empty. And so is Edwin’s heart. At least until he meets a mysterious and unfamiliar nobleman in his private gardens one night. Incendium may be the answer to his deepest and most secret desires, but he also might be the key to Edwin’s undoing, for his duties to the throne are clear: marry, produce heirs, and succeed his father as king. As Edwin struggles with duty and desire, a vicious dragon approaches the palace itself, and the kingdom prepares for war. The prince must ride to battle, not only with the legendary beast, but with his own inner demons as well.
The mask he wears hides not just the truth within…
By the end of chapter one, I was intrigued. Just like Edwin, our prince and one of the leads, I wanted to know more about his mysterious man who saw right through him.
Since this is a relatively short book, around 100 pages, there are time jumps but they’re mostly clearly marked. They usually work, are not large and didn’t make me feel like I was missing anything. I didn’t feel frustrated by them and they are necessary to help with pacing and impact.
The language is sometimes bordering on flowery for my tastes, during the first half of the story especially. However, it completely fits the settings and the tones at the same time. And let me tell you, one of those tones is hot. Hot enough that I overlooked some of the slightly unfortunate choices for terms about body parts. 😉
You know how you meet someone and, without really knowing much about them, you jump right in? Yeah, that, here. I found myself hoping for happiness for Edwin with his Golden Eyed Fey, but I also sensed this unknown being may be hiding something that could hurt Edwin. Then again it could just be that he doesn’t want to be alone anymore. Edwin wants that, too.
We have a theme. And we have dark, uncertain times. We have hand holding and desires. We have friendship and death. We have unrestrained passion and sex. I just have to say, we have a good story here and it’s told pretty darn well. The writing style wouldn’t really fit with a different type of story, which means it’s so right for this one. Be aware that many “knightly” and probably typical fantasy story type terms are used. So if you’re an infrequent fantasy reader like me, just read and enjoy and know that they are all mostly decipherable within the context they are used.
I rather saw the large twist coming but this story does have some clever bits, unexpected developments, and Edwin and his Fey have palpable chemistry. The story is at its best when they are together, but the rest of it is very creative and definitely more than held my interest. I may have guessed the twist early on but could not have anticipated the ending. I have mixed feelings, which in my book, is a good thing. Don’t give me cookie cutter.
There are some standard fantasy elements but there are twists on some of them, too. This and everything else I’ve mentioned make this a truly enjoyable, relaxing and engaging read. It’s accessible while still including some complex ideas that are difficult to resolve. So when you’re looking for a blend of that accessible fantasy, hot action between two very different men, a gentle writing style, battling dragons, and a fast read, this should definitely be on your list.
Mr. Bishop is a new author for me and I would definitely read something else by him. No doubt.
I would like to thank Storm Moon Press 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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