Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Cover Artist: Megan Derr
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 11/16/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Bisexual, Fantasy, Gay Romance
Prince Istari has spent his life reviled: his parents wish he had never been born, the royal court of Belemere avoids him for fear of angering the king, and everyone else is kept away by his notorious reputation as a deadly sharpshooter. Now a hostage of peace in Tallideth, he is subjected to their hatred as well—even that of Regent Vellem, who once considered him a comrade in arms.
Unexpected solace comes in the form of Lord Teverem, a sad, quiet lord who assumed the title when his brother was killed in the explosion for which Istari’s father is to blame. He is kind and sweet and a sorely needed bright spot in Istari’s life—until Istari meets his family and learns of a dangerous family secret with unexpected ties to Istari’s past, a secret that could drag Tallideth and Belemere right back into war…
You know those books that you sit down with before bed thinking, “I will read 1 chapter then go to sleep.” Then, the next thing you know, you are closing the book after the last words? Yeah, The Painted Crown was that kind of story for me.
You didn’t really get to know Istari or Teverem in the first installment in the Unbreakable Soldiers series, but you did get to know the world in which they live. You got to know the circumstances in which they find themselves. Building on that knowledge, you can’ help but fall for these two underappreciated and under loved characters. They are both unique and both in positions of circumstance. They are both broken in their own ways.
They meet and become friends first, which makes their journey together all that much sweeter. I can’t say that there was a lot doubt as to where they would end up, relationship-wise. However, there are many twists and turns on their way to their happy.
The Painted Crown is a fantasy. You get sucked into the world Derr has created. No there aren’t magical beings — such as dragons or the like — in this installment (the first installment has those). You see the political machinations a lot more this time. You also see a broken man who refuses to be defeated.
I have enjoyed both installments in the Unbreakable Soldiers series and am eagerly awaiting the third installment.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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