stubborn accomplice coverRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Jack and Sebastian had barely settled in after their last quest when once again adventure has come calling. This time, someone has stolen a powerful artifact from a neighboring kingdom and Jack and Sebastian have been recruited to find it. Unfortunately, when the men arrive in Osagezia, they learn that no one knows much of anything about the artifact — including what it looks like or even what it is. But Jack and Sebastian are undeterred, and with the promise of much gold should they succeed, the men head north to the icy land of Askophai where it is rumored the artifact may have been taken.

The trip is arduous and filled with danger, which is no surprise with Sebastian involved. Much to Jack’s dismay, Sebastian seems like a lure for trouble — and what doesn’t find him, he tends to seek out. The men must face a ravenous griffin, dangerous orcs, rough terrain, and far too many of Sebastian’s exes for Jack’s liking. It doesn’t help that Jack isn’t really sure where he stands with Sebastian, not to mention that it is clear that Sebastian is hiding something. But despite the overwhelming odds, Jack and Sebastian are a perfect team, and working together, they may just find the artifact they seek and make it back alive.

The Stubborn Accomplice is the second book in H.L. Day’s 13 Kingdoms series, following The Reluctant Companion. The book picks up pretty much where the first one left off, with Jack and Sebastian on the way to the capitol of Osagezia to help them find their missing artifact, so these books are best read in order. The story has a similar road trip feel as the first book, as Jack and Sebastian face countless obstacles in the attempt to complete their quest. They still bicker and banter along the way, but it is clear at this point that these men are totally in love with one another, even as they occasionally find the other exasperating. The journey is fun and exciting, with a nice dose of thrills and danger, along with a lot of humor. The pacing is good, revealing new information at the right time to keep the tension of the adventure, as well as to give time for the men to further bond and deepen their relationship. I liked how it all came together, and it was interesting to see some different kingdoms than in the first book.

As I said, things are much more solid for Jack and Sebastian here, though they do both still have some insecurities, particularly Jack. He isn’t always sure about Sebastian’s feelings, worried about Sebastian’s tendency to always be looking for the next adventure. It is also clear that Sebastian is hiding something (and it is finally revealed here), which makes Jack even more uncertain. I love the dynamic between them, as there is a playful bickering as they give one another a hard time, yet clearly they are totally in love with one another. The humor here is fun, and not quite as over-the-top as it sometimes was in the first book, which I appreciated. It adds a nice balance to the more intense dynamic of the adventure side of things.

We end with Jack and Sebastian in a good place together, but there is a big reveal at the end that leads into what I’d call a soft cliffhanger. I am really enjoying this series and excited to see where the next adventure takes Jack and Sebastian.

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