It is time for the annual Soldati Summer Solstice Festival, an event that brings guests from many realms. However, this year, the festival falls on the full moon and that means King Khalon is vulnerable, as he cannot shift into his tiger warrior form during that time. When rumors surface about a plot by disgruntled Orso citizens to kill the king, his court knows they have to find the culprits, while keeping the secret of Khalon’s vulnerability.
Segreti is a former Orso general and now good friend to the Soldati realm. He has arrived at the festival early and had a chance to spend some time with Ezra, who is one of Khalon’s advisors, as well as the keeper of the Soldati Eye, which gives Ezra visions of the future. The men are both shy and uncertain around each other, neither man believing the other might be interested. But as they spend more time together, it is clear they have a connection and possibly even a future as mates.
However, as the plot to kill the king becomes clearer, there is no question that everyone faces grave danger. Drawing out the traitors won’t be easy, but Segreti and Ezra are determined to do all they can to protect their king — and hopefully find a way to have a future together.
The Soldati General is the third book in Charlie Cochet’s Soldati Hearts series. This is a fun, fantasy-like series that takes place in an alternate realm led by tiger shifters who protect the human realm from demons. It’s been more than three years since the second book was released, so I was excited to see Cochet releasing a new installment. From a plot standpoint, you can read this as a standalone, but the overall world building is more developed in the first book, so having read that will help here.
Ezra and Segreti are sweet together, both somewhat shy and uncertain around each other. Ezra is connected to the Eye, and his power often scares away potential suitors. Segreti is a battle-scarred warrior missing an eye and having seen untold traumas. He worries Ezra will be turned off by his past and his appearance. So there is a lot of insecurity between them, and it is sweet to see their forays into getting to know one another better. The language is a bit flowery at times, but it fits the fantasy tone of the story. The courtship moves pretty quickly, but these men have known each other for years, so it didn’t feel too fast for me. I found the men kind of adorable together as they both delight in discovering the other’s interest and I enjoyed them as a couple.
The larger plot focuses on the attempt to kill the king. We get to reconnect with many of the characters from earlier in the series, which I enjoyed. This part wasn’t quite as tight as it could have been in the sense that the investigation and the threats feel somewhat vague until they all come to a head. I also wish I had a better sense of Ezra’s power, as that plays into this part of the story. I got that the Eye allows him to see visions, but it also seems to give him some sort of physical power (of the trees shaking, people being thrown against the wall variety) and it is not really well explained just what he can do or why. I also found it sort of confusing that he has this power, and Riley (Khalon’s prince and consort) also has some sort of vision-like power and when both are using them at once in different ways, it felt a bit tangled. But overall, I found this attempted murder plot played nicely with the relationship development, especially as the climax highlights the connection between the men.
So I am happy to see Cochet returning to this series with the third installment. We get a peek at characters I am assuming will be up next for their story, so I am really looking forward to more.