Because of how much I enjoyed each installment of The Horse Mistress, my first experience with the world of the Eburosi Chronicles, I went ahead and bought the full collection of the next adventure as one book. I have no regrets about that decision. This world gave me one of the most intense book hangovers of my life, and I now consider myself a solid fan of the author.
Kathrael, Favian, and Ithric’s story continues the saga of the city of Rhyth, with interesting tie-ins to events in previous tales. Each character experiences a complete character arc, against the backdrop of an epic quest. Magic, politics, and religion combine to create a fantastic female-driven epic fantasy that is not to be missed for fans of epic fantasy who are bored with the typical treatment of female characters.
Steffan does an amazing job balancing the world-building with the smaller moments between the characters. The sex, when it does occur, is quite steamy, but the focus always remains on the connections between the characters rather than erotica for erotica’s sake.
Though it’s possible to read this without reading The Horse Mistress first, I think you’d miss out on some great details because Carivel, Senovo, and Andoc make more than token appearances. Instead, be prepared for a deep dive into some fantastic epic fantasy that breaks all the molds.
Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.
Now that our three heroes are in a solid relationship, it was time to shake things up a bit. It would have been easy for the author to focus on a more character-driven story, but I love how they don’t let the readers forget that war is coming. Times are changing, and our heroes have to grow up and adapt along with them.
Family is a major theme in this installment, and Carival travels to her old home to face her mother. This reunion was equally painful and poignant. Steffan balances it wonderfully with the introduction to Andoc’s mother.
The handfasting ceremony in this book felt a little self-indulgent on the part of the author, but in retrospect, that’s an issue on my part and stems from what is traditionally “normalized” in fiction. Steffan does excellent work in breaking the mold, both in the world of the Eburosi Chronicles and our own.
The shapeshifter plotline culminates with the political plotline, and both are resolved to my great satisfaction. I’m completely in love with this world, and while I know Carival, Andoc, and Senovo’s story is over, I’m looking forward to exploring more Steffan has to offer. Continue reading
Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I read a much earlier draft of this story, but it was just as much of a pleasure to read the final product a second time around. Bauer features the best of both worlds here: despite this being a short story that manages to feature two explicit sex scenes, the tone is still that of a swoon-worthy slow-burn romance.
Lord John Morgan starts off as kind of a jerk, but it becomes obvious that a traditional courtship with Lord Harrison Price is not possible. Both men are not your typical heroes, and they fit together anyway. Neither man could ever be called adorable, but the way they combine makes for an adorable story.
And finally, I love the short and sweet explanation of why a same-sex marriage is acceptable in this time period. This is the best type of alternate history storytelling. Continue reading
When their rock shatters, Carivel and Senovo have to work together to put Andoc back together again. Their relationship arc goes through another set of trials, just enough to make a reader worried while also keeping faith that everything will work out for the best.
The world of Eburosi grows again when the characters travel south to conduct political meetings in a bid to protect themselves from foreign invasion. In addition, more fantasy elements are introduced in this world that I occasionally forget isn’t just ancient Britain with the names changed. Steffan has obviously done her research, so the intentional changes she does make are both seamless and pleasantly surprising. Continue reading
Though the initial attraction I had to the Reluctant Royals series was the royalty aspect, I quickly fell in love with Cole’s writing and amazing characters. Even though no royals even appear onscreen in this supplemental novella, the story still packed an amazing combination of love and heartbreak into a limited number of pages.
The intertwining timelines of Likotsi and Fabiola’s first and second meetings told the story in an intriguing manner. I generally dislike when point-of-view characters hide information from the reader, but Cole chooses her reveal moments perfectly, and to great affect.
Everyone deserves a happy ending, not just those who wear the crown. Continue reading
The downside to growing as a reader is realizing how much epic fantasy is problematic in terms of representation. Therefore, I thoroughly enjoyed discovering this series, which features queer characters, including a gender-fluid character. Carivel is a delight to read, and her relationship(s) with Andoc and Senovo are just the right mix of emotional and sexy.
This book can be read as a stand-alone, but the relationship arc doesn’t quick work by itself. Carivel falls into Andoc and Senovo’s arms without much conflict, as if it was inevitable once everyone’s secrets were revealed. Continue reading
Family has been a running theme in this series, and things come to a head in this installment of the Whyborne & Griffin books. Whyborne’s father has had a major shift in attitude, which causes Whyborne to be suspicious of the man’s motives.
In the grander scheme of things, Whyborne’s own position in the town of Widdershins appears to be changing, which affects the external plot of this book. As usual, magic and creepy cults play a role, but the twists at the end are particularly enjoyable since the story occurs so close to home. Continue reading