Prince Vasili Caville never wanted to be a prince and he never wanted the life he was given. He certainly never wanted to be held prisoner by elves for eight years and bled for the flame that surges through his veins. The scars Vasili wears run deep, but his life is still not his own and he is doomed to be forever cursed. The flame calls to people to gain power and control and as long as the flame lives, Vasili will be hunted. He doesn’t want to give in to the flame, for then surely he will be lost to it, and one of the only things keeping him grounded and keeping him fighting is Nikolas Yazdan.
Niko was a reluctant soldier and then was Vasili’s reluctant assassin. When he learned of the Yazdan legacy, his world view shifted. Niko has come to terms with his love and need for Vasili and he knows Vasili feels the same, even if the stoic prince won’t admit it. The elves are not the only ones hunting them and Niko will not let any more harm come to Vasili. His only goal is to save Vasili, even if the price is his own life.
Niko and Vasili are back for the conclusion of The Prince’s Assassin trilogy. The series is intended to be read in order, as it is one epic journey for Niko and Vasili. Ariana Nash is a skilled fantasy writer and the worlds she creates are breathtaking. The characters are visual and the scenery is vivid and each scene plays out in full color and those are absolutely the reasons that you should be reading this author.
Curse of the Dark Prince picks up where Reign of Darkness left off and Niko is determined to keep Vasili safe. He cannot let himself fail, but as fierce as Niko is, he is only one man. There were a lot of revelations made in the last book and there are many more revelations here as the Caville curse and the Yazdan legacy collide.
This book is dark and heavy in scenery, content, and voice. The atrocities that Vasili has been subjected to his entire life are really felt here as Vasili’s life has never been his own and that life has been one of torment and devastating abuse. We finally get POV from Vasili and also from Yasar, their traveling companion turned friend, and it really helps to pull together different facets of this story.
The story focuses on their journey to ultimately live at peace, but Vasili doesn’t think that is at all possible for him as long as the flame runs through his blood and there is no way to get rid of it and still keep him alive. There are many enemies to defeat and curses to be broken for the men to be able to live and love together. While Vasili is the perfect, beautiful, broken character, he is sharp and cunning and only tempered and loved by Niko, who Vasili knows is both “his killer and savior,” which perfectly describes their relationship.
The flame burns through both men at different frequencies and since there is only one way for them to be together, I found it a little too clear how it would all play out and I was rooting for this book to be a little more twisty than it was for me. I would have also liked to see the men a little further into their lives than we were shown after all they had been through.
Ariana Nash is truly a gifted fantasy writer where her words create an evocative journey of treachery and sacrifice to ultimately send these battle weary men on their way to forever.