Remy Marchand is used to being the black sheep. As the only member of his royal family to lack superpowers, Remy knows he must be a disappointment to his parents, especially his mother. It doesn’t help that his desire to be an artist doesn’t align with the business aspirations his parents would prefer he pursue. And while Remy knows his parents love him, he finds himself somewhat adrift. And then Hugo Legrand returns to his life.
Once a boyhood tormenter, Hugo has grown into a well-respected contractor and getting a job from the Marchand family will be a huge boost to his company. He isn’t all that sure how Remy will feel about seeing him again, though. Luckily, Remy is the forgiving type and he and Hugo become quickly besotted with one another. But Hugo and Remy are from different worlds and there are plenty of folks who would like to see them fail. And one of them would like to see Remy dead. Their love may conquer all, but it will have to survive a dangerous enemy first.
Marquis of Hidden Doors is a part of the Royal Powers collection, a multi-author universe. Aside from a few common themes, it appears that these books can be read independently of one another. The world building on offer is pretty minimal and there were times it felt kind of pointless because it added so little to the story. The characters and the story aren’t particularly original and lack the depth to make Marquis of Secret Doors truly unique.
When Remy and Hugo reunite after years apart, their romance is less of a “wow” and more of an “eh.” The entire relationship plays out in a highly predictable fashion and without much passion or real emotion to give it real relatability. They read as predictable and uninspired. And given that this book takes place in a world where super powers are relatively common, I assumed this would play a bigger part in the overall storyline. But in reality, it’s one of those things that gets tossed in occasionally and then without any great exploration of how and why it exists. I wanted to like Hugo and Remy more than I did and they certainly aren’t terrible, but I didn’t feel particularly connected to either of them.
The villain of the book is basically a caricature and often seems more like a set piece than an active participant in the story. He is essentially a purposeless foil and one that does a bit of mischief, but fails to add anything meaningful to the plot.
Ultimately, I couldn’t decide if Marquis of Secret Doors wanted to be light and fluffy, or wanted to achieve something more meaningful, and maybe that was the biggest issue. The book doesn’t seem to know who or what it actually is and because of this, nothing works quite like it should. This isn’t a terrible story, it’s just one that failed to reach its full potential and, as a result, it didn’t really work for me.