This novella works best if you’ve read the main Starian Cycle series of novels, mostly for the identities and relationships between all of the secondary characters who make up the Starian royal family, their consorts, and their important officials. However, the narrators for this particular story are the palace guard captain and royal tailor, which provides a sort of “lower decks” perspective on the previous heroes and puts much more of the city’s full society on display.
The inciting incident and what I assumed the story would be about is a missing crown before Prince Adrien’s coronation. But this story is about so much more than just a missing crown, and Ferrin and Silver’s romance interweaves nicely into every multifaceted layer of this novella’s plot. The crown is just a crown, but it is also a metaphor for how Starian nobility should relate to the commoners. In their search for the crown, Ferrin and Silver also end up highlighting important issues within both the palace and city as a whole. Even a simple duel between Ferrin and an adversary ends up representing so much more than recompense for a single insult.
As much as I loved spending time with familiar characters, I quickly fell for Ferrin and Silver in their own rights. As usual, the power exchange element of this world is an equal facet of the worldbuilding rather than simply meant to add spice. Ferrin and Silver are perfect for each other not because one happens to be dominant and the other submissive, but also because each is capable of fulfilling the specific needs of the other.
The delightful ending tied all the elements of this story together and made me want to immediately go back and re-read the entire series. So, since I’m far from being bored with this intricate and unique fantasy world, I probably will.
Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author.