Buy Link: The Fifth Son
Author: Blaine Arden
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Length: Novella

Rating: 4.5

Llyskel lives in a world where magic is everywhere, but unlike everybody else, he has no magical powers. As the fifth son of the king, Llyskel is sheltered and protected, unable to serve in the military or go out unguarded, his family worrying that he is unable to protect himself in the face of others with magical abilities. Although Llyskel’s passions lie in his artwork, part of him still chafes at the restrictions he faces and wishes for more independence and freedom.

Along with his passion for art, Llyskel’s other love is the handsome Captain Ariv of his father’s army.  Llyskel is thrilled when the handsome man returns his interest.  Ariv alone seems to understand Llyskel’s secret sexual need and is able to satisfy him perfectly.

Although Llyskel has no magical abilities, he one day realizes that he is not without power. His first clue is when Ariv is unable to immobilize him with a magical stunner.  Soon Llyskel’s world opens up, as he is finally able to train in combat like others his age and he’s given more independence.  And through his training he realizes he is a stronger fighter than he knew.  But when a queen from a neighboring land begins to express interest in Llyskel, he learns that he may be in more danger than he realized.

I really loved this story and was caught up in Llyskel’s world.  Arden does a wonderful job of letting us see things through his artist’s eyes, and the colors and light and images are all so beautifully explained. The world of magic the story creates is richly detailed, but not overwhelming in its world building for such a short book.  I could really understand Llyskel’s pain at being the lone person without power in a world where magic is everywhere. Especially since as a member of the royal family, everyone knows about his lack of magic and it is a source of embarrassment, not to mention placing great restrictions on his activities.

I also really liked Llyskel and Ariv together.  They had a great combination of a sweet, traditional courtship, combined with hot (and kinky) sex.  Ariv alone understands what Llyskel really wants and is able to provide it.  My only quibble with this part is that until we first see them having sex, I found myself confused about what the deal was with the stunner and I felt like I needed a bit more information to totally follow the early parts of the story.  However, I loved the way it all comes together and the perfect way the men’s sexual interests align.

As the book continues, we move into more action and suspense as Llyskel faces threats from the neighboring country.  It was quite exciting and fast paced and Arden does a great job moving from the romance to the action. I really appreciated that we see Llyskel as able to help himself and not totally dependent on rescue.  Although he is at a disadvantage without magic, he manages to use the power that he does have to help himself  get out of trouble.  I would have liked to see the resolution to this rounded out a bit more though. I felt the plot was wrapped up with the bad guys a bit too quickly and neatly, but I did really enjoy this section.

Overall I thought The Fifth Son was a great story. It had a wonderful combination of sweet romance, hot sex, and exciting action.  I would definitely recommend it.

Cover Review: Just gorgeous, isn’t it? Totally captures Ariv and Llyskel and evokes the feel of the story

P.S. Blaine Arden will be joining us today at Joyfully Jay to chat a bit about the book, so be sure to stop back by!