Rating: 3.5 stars
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It’s been two years since Jace parted ways with his ex-boyfriend, yet Jace hasn’t seen the need to jump into another relationship. Now he focuses on his day job at the local coffee shop, his art, and his evenings at the art gallery he lives above. While showing his collection one night, Jace runs into Morgan, a mysterious man, and the first man Jace has felt a strong attraction to in the past couple of years. After a quick chat and a venture to the basement art room, Jace invites Morgan up to his apartment to spend the night. After a mind blowing night with the man, Jace is surprised to wake up alone, but when he hears Morgan’s retreating footsteps, he quickly follows after and accidentally ends up in a place he’d only ever heard of in stories.
Morgan is a Knight of Brynstoem in service to the fey Queen. He normally would have moved on after completing his mission, not staying long enough in one place to even let a mortal see him, but there was something about Jace, and Morgan had to have him if only for one night. But when Jace follows Morgan through the mirror into his realm, Amaranth, Morgan has no choice but to take him to the queen in hopes that she will send Jace back to his realm where he belongs. But when they run into a fellow knight, Morgan can’t shake the feeling that he needs to protect Jace from not only his own kind, but the queen as well.
When the queen promises to send Jace home, that’s enough for Morgan, but her plans are more nefarious than that. With the intent of trapping him and surely having him killed, the queen lures Jace to her gardens where she says he will have to await the time to return home. In the gardens, Jace meets a young boy who makes him aware of the queen’s lies and who becomes Jace’s only hope of surviving the monsters that haunt the queen’s garden.
Back at home, Morgan learns of the queen’s deceit and makes plans to save Jace while still protecting his sister. Getting in and out of the palace undetected is not easy, but having Jace and his new friend safe is worth it. But now the group is on the run from a queen so afraid of losing control she will stop at nothing to destroy everything and everyone that threatens her.
Remain is the first book in Alex Jones’s very promising series, Knights of Amaranth. You all know I’m a huge lover of all things fantasy, so of course, I had to read this high fantasy gem. Remain is the story of a man who didn’t know he was lonely until he found someone who made him feel whole, then he almost lost the guy. This story takes Jace on an adventure into a new world alongside Morgan and his family and friends. It’s a fast paced, multi-faceted story of lies, deceit, love, and honor.
Where this story is a romance, it leans more to the area of high fantasy and adventure. But what romance there is in this story is on fire. These guys have an immediate chemistry that is so hot. Jace is clearly on a journey of learning to trust again as well as trying to save his own ass. And Morgan is torn between duty to the crown and duty to his family and loved ones. It’s Morgan’s honor that wins out. I like these two characters so much. They’re both complex and conflicted, yet they fit together, heal one another so well.
The world created by this author is vast and imaginative. Dimensions stacked one on another. The fey realm both glorious and horrifying. The kingdom of Brynstoem and the outlying villages, the hidden villages. This fey realm is darker than those I’ve read before. We still have the Seelie and Unseelie. The fey being part of the Seelie and the things that go bump in the night—imps, wierwolves, eisdrakes, bocan, etc.—as part of the Unseelie. It’s both wondrous and frightening. But I loved it.
The one thing I’m rather disappointed with is the ending of the story and I’m hoping that it will be resolved in the next book, but there is so much that is left hanging in the balance at the conclusion of this one. While Jace and Morgan ride off in the proverbial sunset, they leave their friends and family to fight a battle they pretty much started, which is so disappointing. I don’t get it and hope that it will change with the next book, but as it stands, I really don’t approve of the ending.
Also there are a lot of POVs in this story, not only Jace and Morgan but pretty much every other secondary character and villain. I don’t mind multiple POVs when they have a purpose, which they did in this story. My problem comes when the author blends the POVs together and I’m not exactly sure which character I’m following. That happened towards the end of the book. It’s confusing and frustrating and took away even more from an ending I was already disappointed in.
Overall, the bulk of this story is very enjoyable. The characters and world are colorful and exciting, and the plot is captivating. But the ending and the confusion of POVs was just too much to overlook. So, yes, I liked the story, but I’m hoping some of my problems with this book are resolved in the next installment.
Cover: I usually don’t comment on covers that I don’t love, but this one is too much for me to pass up. I don’t hate it so much, but the guy on the front looks overly constipated. Obviously, this time it was not the cover that drew me in.