Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
After being kidnapped by the Herran king as a young boy and spending more than half his life in captivity, Micah has finally been rescued and brought home. However, he still bears the physical and mental scars from his abuse at the hands of the Herrans. He was treated as a slave, beaten, and starved. Even though he is no longer captive, Micah has trouble seeing himself as anything other than a slave, despite being the favored son of the king. He is fearful and anxious and needs someone to guide and control him. The only thing holding him together is the love and care of his rescuer Eli.
When Micah arrives home in Alekia, he is unprepared for his new life and the expectations upon him. Not only is he royalty, but he learns that Eli is actually his slave, despite the fact that Micah thinks of him as his master. Micah also learns that he has inherited his late mother’s powers as a witch, powers that are great but that he has no idea how to control. His country of Alekia still battles with Herra, the war escalating now that Micah is free and his father no longer has to fear reprisals to Micah if Alekia fights back to defend itself. As the country prepares for battle, Micah learns that they want him to use his powers against Herra to end the war once and for all. But he is terrified about using power he can’t control and sure that there is no hope for him to ever have a future with Eli. As the war escalates and Micah is called upon to help defend his country, he must face his fears to save his people and be with the man he loves.
Plunder is the second novel featuring Eli and Micah. The first, Spoils of War, tells the tale of Micah’s rescue and their escape to freedom. This book picks up shortly after they return home. While most of the key backstory is provided, I think reading the first book (or at least the review) does flesh things out a lot and will help readers understand Micah’s anxieties and issues. He is a badly broken man and still barely functional. Although he is learning to be stronger and reassume his place in the world, he still vacillates between the prince and the slave inside himself. At times he is strong willed and determined, especially when it comes to protecting Eli and keeping him close. But many times he is still frightened and weak, barely able to care for himself and needing constant attention from Eli in order to function.
In the early parts of the story especially, Micah is still very broken. On one hand, I really appreciate that we see the ramifications of Micah’s abuse and captivity. Ten years of torture and mistreatment is not something one recovers from easily and I really liked that this book doesn’t go the instant cure route so common in romance novels. We see that there will be lasting mental and physical effects, even as Micah grows stronger. On the other hand, at times it was draining facing Micah’s constant anxieties and insecurities. I felt like every action was accompanied by the same reactions – certainty he would be punished for his behavior, belief that he is a slut deserving of his place as a slave (due to the repeated rape he suffered), and acceptance that he is sure to die at the end of all of this. I guess even though I understand why he feels this way, the frequent repetition was a little draining.
Once the action picks up, the book became much livelier. Micah begins to assert himself, gaining confidence to take action to protect his family and those he loves. He feels more than misery and shows the strength that we know has been there under the surface all along. I really liked the way Micah ends up being the agent to helping himself. After being a slave so long (and continuing to feel like one), it was great to have him take the lead in saving himself when it really counts. So I really appreciated his growth and the way the story resolves.
I once again enjoyed the relationship between Eli and Micah. They are loving and sweet (and like to have sex ALL THE TIME). It is such an interesting dynamic. Eli is the slave and Micah the prince. And Eli is completely committed to caring for and loving Micah. But at the same time, Micah still has a deep need to be subservient and often reverts back to his slave role, unwilling to assert himself and wanting to follow Eli. I enjoyed this interplay between them. At times things get a little too flowery – lots of dramatic prose, longing looks, deep emotions. I think the tone fits with the fantasy nature of the story, but some may find it a bit over the top.
So there were a few things that bothered me but I definitely found a lot to like with this story. Gregg builds a interesting fantasy world and characters I enjoyed and could root for. I was happy to see Eli and Micah take great steps forward, both personally and in their relationship and glad we got a nice resolution to their story.
P.S. What’s up with Micah feeling his man boobs on the cover? The rest of it is pretty, but that is weird.
Plundered will be released on August 14th by Loose Id.
Today we are very lucky because Kari has brought a copy of Spoils of War, the prequel to Plundered to give away to one lucky commenter. Be sure to leave a comment below for a chance to win! The contest will close on August 16th at 11;59 pm EST.
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