Rating: 4.75 stars
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“Who you are in difficult time is who you really are.” – Loren
Lord James Dupree has been searching for his family’s Luck – a talisman gifted to his family by the elven king centuries ago – since it was stolen five years ago when his father was murdered. Now that he knows who took it and where it is, James has to find a way into the Lands Between, the home of the elven people. His plan: to win the elf slave from a local merchant and have the elf take him to the Lands Between. But after winning Loren, guilt and shame weigh heavily on James for not freeing the elf. His plan isn’t perfect, mostly because James is against owning slaves, but he will do anything to protect his family and the people that rely on him.
Loren has been a slave to an evil man for the past seven years. When James wins him in a card game, Loren expects more of the same treatment, but is surprised to find that the man is gentler, more sincere, and has one goal in mind. Loren is not sure whether to believe James or not, but he doesn’t have much of a choice. Loren’s former master is determined to get him back, and James promises to never let that happen. Not fully trusting the man, Loren follows James with the intention of helping return the Luck in hopes of gaining his freedom.
With brigands on their trail, deceitful friends at their side, and the unknown surrounding them, James and Loren set out on a journey to find the Dupree Luck. As trust grows between them so does affection, but fear, trust issues, and family responsibilities and secrets keep them apart. With their lives on the line, James and Loren have to figure out if men from two completely different worlds, both literally and figuratively, can make it together.
I love the fantasy genre and I’m picky when it comes to reading fantasy works by authors I don’t know because when I read a fantasy, I get so deeply entrenched in a new world and I don’t want to be disappointed. Shawna Reppert is a new author to me, and I’m so happy to have stumbled upon her debut novel, The Stolen Luck. It’s a beautifully written, adventurous story with wonderful and endearing characters set in a world that is lovely, riddled with darkness and deceit at the same time. I seriously loved this book.
I’m impressed with the characters in this story. They are two vastly complex, very different men. James is conflicted and ashamed of himself. He knows the right thing to do would be to free Loren, but he feels like he has no other choice. He’s honorable and duty-bound. He’s a great man who I absolutely adore. Loren is our broken hero. He’s jaded and doesn’t trust easily. He’s outspoken and scared. And despite everything he’s been through he has a big heart; he’s compassionate almost to a fault. Even their relationship is complicated. The development– from master/slave to friendship to more – is tension-filled, yet beautiful. And I loved every second of the confusion and frustration and angst that came before the sweetness.
This is a world of elves and elven magic, of lords and ladies, of friends and foes. It’s a beautiful world that is aesthetically pleasing, but also has evil and danger lurking in the shadows. I have to say, the world building in this book is exceptional. A history that goes back centuries, a hidden kingdom of elves, the rules of the world, the magic, the bonding – it’s all perfectly detailed. I was drew in immediately, and by the end I was sad that I had to leave this world.
This is a well written piece full of adventure, tension, and a slow-burn romance. It full of twists, turns, and surprises. I was glued to this book from beginning to end. The plot is exciting and heartbreaking. It’s a fantastic read. If I were to judge by this debut novel, I would say that Shawna Reppert is an author to keep your eyes on. I look forward to seeing what she has coming up next. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that maybe, hopefully Ashe might get a story someday. Highly recommended.