With the unexpected death of the king, Prince Luca has to step up fast. On the council’s advice, he picks a candidate for an arranged marriage and flies Eirian to the manor home in Montreal and rushes both his coronation and his marriage. Luca and Eirian both want what’s best for the Golden Kingdom, but they differ on the ways they think it should be accomplished. The physical attraction between them is instant, but they butt heads. Eirian is idealistic and independent, and Luca is much more traditional.
Every time they take one step closer to each other, something happens that has them both questioning things. Luca and Eirian both want to rule together as partners, but they are having trouble finding common ground. They both speak without thinking things through, and it takes some deep conversations to fix it. But when Eirian does something Luca can only see as betrayal, Luca needs space. However, in their few days apart, Eirian is taken. Now it’s a race against the clock as Luca desperately tries to get his mate back and make amends, before it’s too late.
I’ve been interested in this story ever since I saw the author talking about it on social media, so when it came up for review, I was quick to grab it. I love the world she’s created here where multiple mythical creatures live alongside humans. What I particularly enjoyed here was the effortless way the author gave the reader all the info needed for this complex and layered world, while still grounding it in reality.
Gryphons are elected kings of the mythos kingdom and Luca has been prince for hundreds of years. When the king suddenly dies, Luca has to step up. He’s a traditionalist at heart, and having lived for over 200 years, he has reasons for thinking the way he does. What I really loved about him was that there was nothing he wanted more than the health and safety of his people. And he didn’t waver in what he thought was best to achieve it. But he also keeps things close to his vest. He’s been hurt before, and he protects himself accordingly. Luca is a strong and stalwart character, a little stubborn and narrow at times, but fully realized and fleshed out.
Eirian is his perfect match, though neither man really thinks that at first. Eirian, too, wants what’s best for the kingdom, but he has a much more modern view of what that entails. Eirian has serious backbone, and even though he’s young, he’s not going to back down when he believes strongly enough. I loved the way their wants and desires played off each other, and even when they spoke before thinking and argued instead of talking, they were working toward more. Though one thing that bugged me a little bit was I never really understood exactly what Eirian’s motivation was for applying to be the king’s consort in the first place. I would have liked to see that explicitly stated.
The connection between them was fantastic and the chemistry sparked and sizzled. I loved their interplay, and really enjoyed the moments when they actually listened to each other. When they make it into the bedroom, the sparks flew. And it really gave the last quarter of the book, when things go bad and then when they finally get to the good place, a weight and tension that drove the ending. The characters, and their romance, were amazingly well done.
I will say that the bad guys were a bit predictable for me. Both in who they were and what the actually did. Given that this is a Dreamspun Beyond title, I didn’t expect anything dark or too heavy, but I would have liked to see just a little more with the whole resolution. I can’t say too much here without giving it away, but one of the characters irritated me from the start, I knew they’d end up being a bad guy, and I would have liked something a extra in regards to that character’s motivation and punishment. But overall, the mystery aspect was woven in throughout the story, complete with a wonderful red herring, and was done very well.
So yeah, I definitely enjoyed this story. It’s a wonderfully drawn and fleshed out world, unique and different while also feeling familiar. I really enjoyed the author’s style, and her characterizations just jump off the page. This book is an easy recommendation from me.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.