As Prince of Akiak, Jorvik has been raised to put the needs of his people before his own. His father worked hard to protect Akiak from encroaching political factors outside the planet. Jorvik expects to follow in his father’s footsteps and keep outsiders out of Akiak, not just for the safety of his people, but also to protect Akiak’s natural resources from exploitation. When an unexpected betrayal ends with the King’s assassination, Jorvik is forced to flee Akiak, but is determined to save his planet, no matter the cost.
Taken in by a pair of unlikely rogues, Jorvik finds a measure of peace and a relationship unlike any he has ever known. With Van and Tayn at his side, Jorvik works to find a way to free Akiak. But even if they manage to survive, Jorvik may still be forced to sacrifice everything for the planet he loves.
Consorts of the Red King is certainly original and the world building is extensive, if somewhat jumbled. But the book tends to get tangled in its own story at times and I think portions were excessively long.
Jorvik, Van, and Tayn are all fairly strong characters, defined and with enough backstory to make each man feel believable. Despite the unique confines of their relationship (which I won’t go into because I consider it a significant spoiler), they manage to make it work. I’m not sure I’m as happy with the end result of their ménage, simply because it feels as though Jorvik is somehow lessened or at least unable to fully participate (again, spoilers). But I supposed under the circumstances, it is something of a happy medium.
The world building is good here and despite being a standalone novel in a wider, already established universe, I was able to make sense of most everything. There were times when dealing with Akiak’s relationship to its people and their genetic heritage that things got confusing. But I won’t fault the uniqueness of the concepts in Consorts of the Red King.
The book is overly long. It tends to have some pacing issues and there are sections of the novel that felt either repetitive or simply unneeded. This makes the book feel laggy at times and it took some patience on my part to finish it. Additionally, I don’t feel like the book ever does a good job really establishing a villain. There are multiple characters who fit the role certainly, but they read as nebulous and ill-defined.
That said, I do think Consorts of the Red King is a good book and, while there are issues, the original world building and a compelling threesome outweigh the negatives. I think most sci-fi fans are going to enjoy this one.