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A Tale of Two Princes #1

To Target the Heart

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How can he win with the odds stacked against him?

Prince Hamish has no interest in fulfilling his duty of marrying. Not to a woman, at least. That doesn’t stop his mother, Queen Fiona, from presenting him with every eligible noblewoman that enters their castle. He’s certain it’ll be no different with the representative of the Udynea Empire.
So when they do arrive, Hamish is relieved the imperial prince, Darshan, is not the woman everyone expected. Until the man kisses him and Hamish is confronted by the very emotions he has been forced to conceal or be punished for. Emotions he is eager to explore.
But the kiss proves to be a little too public and leads his mother to take drastic measures to ensure Hamish adheres to her family vision. The contest of arms will force Hamish to make a choice: give up his happiness for convention’s sake or send the kingdom spiralling into civil war for the right to love his own way.

598 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 15, 2020

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About the author

Aldrea Alien

16 books165 followers
Mother. Animal lover. Vampire. Fangirl.

Aldrea Alien is a multi-award-winning, USA Today Bestselling, bisexual and genderfluid author from New Zealand. She writes fantasy romance of varying heat levels and sexualities.

She grew up on a small farm out the back blocks of a place known as Wainuiomata alongside a menagerie of animals, who are all convinced they're just as human as the next person (especially the cats). She spent a great deal of her childhood riding horses, whilst the rest of her time was consumed with reading every fantasy book she could get her hands on and concocting ideas about a little planet known as Thardrandia. This would prove to be the start of The Rogue King Saga as, come her twelfth year, she discovered there was a book inside her.

Aldrea now lives in Upper Hutt, on yet another small farm with a less hectic, but still egotistical, group of animals (cats will be cats). She still hasn't yet found an off switch to give her an ounce of peace from the characters plaguing her mind, a list that grows bigger every year with all of them clamouring for her to tell their story first. It's a lot of people for one head.

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5 stars
52 (38%)
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50 (36%)
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19 (13%)
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Displaying 1 - 29 of 29 reviews
Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 72 books2,480 followers
November 23, 2021
This was fun - a fantasy about noblemen from two kingdoms, both damaged by their cultures, though one far more than the other. Darshan is the crown prince of his wealthy (magic-using and decadent and slave-owning) realm, sent as ambassador/trade negotiator to Hamish's much rougher kingdom (as punishment for an ill-advised sexual escapade.) But when Darshan meets Hamish, his attention is distracted from trade with thoughts of another sexual connection.

Except that the Queen - Hamish's mother - is fanatically homophobic, and has done her worst (including imprisoning Hamish in his room, making him have constant guards, and killing off men he's attracted to) to keep her son heading toward a straight and fertile marriage. In an autocratic culture, no one, not even Hamish's father, seems able to head off her fanatic monomania, and Hamish at thirty-seven has been solitary and unhappy for a long time.

Darshan realizes quickly that this is no place for a quick fling or casual conquest, but Hamish really appeals to him, more every day. Hamish's oppression by his mother, along with his good nature, his kindness, and his lack of any real experience in bed, draw Darshan to him. And for Hamish, for the first time ever, he's finding out that a man can be more than a brief moment of pleasure-pain, to be allowed to have their way with him and then hidden in hope of preventing their death.

Darshan's rank makes him immune to the Queen's violent anger, but that doesn't make her accepting of the situation. And as the two men grow closer, they find themselves navigating risk, hostility, and a range of family attitudes.

The world-building is fun, and revealed fairly organically - no info-dumps here. There is magic, with constraints. Hamish's nation is modeled on a romantic version of medieval Scotland, with lots of additions and twists. His family are interesting characters, and the absolute monarchy and lethal nature of interclan violence is almost enough to excuse their passivity in the face of the queen's cruelty to more than one family member. There is some real pain here, especially for Hamish, which I came to feel, more than I at first expected.

This is a long novel, with a HFN, and I still dove into book 2 immediately.
Profile Image for Joyfully Jay.
7,288 reviews412 followers
April 15, 2020
A Joyfully Jay review.

5 stars

This well-paced fantasy is engaging and entertaining from page one. Hamish and Darshan are wonderfully rendered characters and really the strong point of the book. Both men are fully developed and vibrantly relatable. Hamish especially tugs at the heartstrings. His loneliness is painful to read and he’s been forced to live half a life, which I found heartbreaking. I found it impossible not to champion their love story and, despite the fact they only know one another a few weeks, their romance reads as believable. I will say the phrase “his lover” is used far too often, to the point of annoyance, but I suppose in the grand scheme that complaint is a minor one.

One of the best parts of To Target the Heart is the world building. It’s expansive and thorough without being overwhelming. The author does an excellent job of naturally blending information about the world around Hamish and Darshan. I never felt bogged down by info dumping or overly complex information that lacked purpose. Tirglas and Uydea are well described and I felt like there was just the right amount of world building to make these places feel real.

Read Sue’s review in its entirety here.
Profile Image for R.
1,657 reviews
March 30, 2020
Hamish is a prince. Because of his preference for men, his mother, the queen, keeps him under her thumb. The only outlet he has is hunting.

Darshan is a envoy from another country, also a prince, with the same preference for men.
Darshan’s country is much more open to his lifestyle. He doesn’t understand the rigidity of the people in Hamish’s home. Darshan is vibrant, outspoken, beautiful, a spellster, and very interested in Hamish.

Great book, excellent characters. Very complex storyline. Magic of one form or another dominates the book. Even the queen was a well written villain. Hamish and Darshan were so perfect together. I loved their love story.

Review Copy requested and reviewed on behalf of OMGReads.
Profile Image for PaperMoon.
1,324 reviews52 followers
March 1, 2022
There was fantasy and romance as promised ... but what this book needed was a massive pruning by about 170 pages - had to fast-forward a few sections to get to the end. MC Darshan was well developed but I struggled with the Hamish character who frequently alternated between being a milksop and one who had more backbone (a little more self-agency required here for a thirty plus year old please)!
Profile Image for Timi B.
837 reviews4 followers
November 24, 2021
Very uneven. Interesting for a bit, then forced or sappy or hokey, then another interesting bit. I finally got sick of it around 50% and just skimmed the rest but it got so stupid I DNFed it at 80%
Profile Image for Ida Umphers.
3,055 reviews13 followers
September 13, 2021
Loved the world building here and the struggles of the two Princes Hamish and Darshan to claim their royal rights along with the right to be themselves and love who they choose. Great secondary characters both in opposition (Hamish's mother) and in support make this a family story as well as one of political intrigue.
Profile Image for Dan.
Author 13 books32 followers
March 25, 2020
A follow up to In Pain and Blood, To Target the Heart takes place in the same fantasy world of spellsters, elves, and dwarves but has little to do with its predecessor. It shares no characters or plot threats, so it isn’t necessary to read In Pain and Blood first.
I feel about this book much the same way I felt about the first Spellster book. I liked the writing, I enjoyed the characters, I do not understand the insistence on having such intense homophobia in a fantasy setting, and I found the sex scenes too frequent.
Hamish and Darshan are great characters (despite Hamish’s phonetically Scottish accent). I really liked them, the way they interacted with each other and the other characters (especially Hamish’s niece and nephews), and how they navigated their foray into a new kind of relationship. They explored each other’s cultures openly and discussed the harder points of cultural differences, like slavery and religion.
The plot of the book held together relatively well, although with how badly Darshan screwed up his mission as a trade negotiator, I’m desperate to see how things play out when he arrives back at the palace in Udynea. I don’t know if we’ll get that answer since the books in the series seem to have little to do with each other so far.
I think I would have enjoyed this book much more thoroughly if almost all the plot hadn’t hinged on Hamish’s mother’s rabid and unique homophobia. While most everyone else in Tirglas takes the relationship between Hamish and Darshan in stride, Queen Fiona remains viciously homophobic to the end. I couldn’t tell how the author intended her to come across (a mother protecting a son who’d previously been raped as a young teen, a despotic control freak, a grandmother in deep and erratic mourning, an abusive religious fanatic, or some kind of bloodthirsty madwoman), but the overall result confused and discomforted me.
Fiona stood out as an antagonist for the sake of having an antagonist. Her insistence on Hamish’s marriage could have been done in a lot of ways that didn’t make her so rampantly and irrationally hateful. In a fantasy world with heightened political states, racial tension, and magic, conflict can come from anywhere and I understood that the author drew on a historical setting, but I would have liked the edges smoothed, or things explained and resolved better. If the target audience is queer people, I don’t think we need to read more vicious portrayals of people who hate us and never change.
No topic should be off-limits to an author. I’ve tackled homophobia in my own work. However, there’s writing about homophobia and then there’s writing a mother who has all her son’s known lovers murdered in cold blood.
That being said, I found this installment of the Spellster series well-written and interesting with strong characters who played well off each other and their setting. I’d like to see more from the author, however, if homophobia continues to be a major plot point in the series, I think I’ll have to set the books aside for reasons that have more to do with living under a president actively working to repeal LGBTQIA rights than with the author’s quality.
Profile Image for Littlebookterror.
1,563 reviews51 followers
April 28, 2021
Who knew I wanted fictional fantasy history of queer culture? Not me.

We have such a great, wild world of different countries, spellsters, elves, and dwarves; and in the middle of all that we have two unlikely people coming together. It's woven into the plot to make me want more and show there is more happening beyond Tirglas that I am excited to explore without taking the focus away.

I was not expecting a deep, personal exploration of what it is like for Hamish to be gay. It is so clear to see how his mother, his nobility, their religion, and the country have made him into who is. What was so lighthearted and maybe a bit sad in the beginning turned into the harrowing depiction of what decades-long abuse can turn you into.
His relationship to his brother Gordon was just as complicated. While the love between runs deeply, some of Gordon's helpful actions are detrimental and cause serious harm - and we explore how that constant fear makes Hamish weary while Gordon simply doesn't understand.
Darshan also a rich past that informs his actions.

We have a few discussions on the general population's views homosexuality in comparison to Queen Fiona, and later on a talk about children. No nonbinary people were mentioned but the author is very clear in their choice of words to not assign genitals to genders or exclude genders from the discussion.

We also have some incredible conversations on consent and sex. With both a small language barrier and grown up in different cultures, Hamish has a unique experience. No positive role models, few sexual encounters and having not experienced any romance, he is very much new to all of this. Darshan has more sexual experience but is on the same virgin territory when it comes to feelings. Watching these two slowly discover what they want out of this without risking discovery? I loved it.

Will update this as more thoughts come to me.
Profile Image for CCReadsBooks.
165 reviews1 follower
April 24, 2020
I love the imagination of this book. Rich landscapes and diverse characters are a strong point. The MC are wonderful. You can practically feel their attraction jump off the page. The mother however, well you can feel her too but she’s awful. The story is great. I felt fully immersed in this world. I am definitely going back to read book 1 and will continue the series
Profile Image for The Quille and Lampe.
205 reviews26 followers
June 24, 2020
What I Think: First, I simply adore world-building. I’m a fantasy, magic, and paranormal addict through and through, so without further ado (and crossing all crossable limbs that I’ll be unbiased) Ladies, Gentlemen and those of you yet to make up their mind, I bid you welcome to Mullhind where the Queen is desperately trying to marry off her 37-year-old son who seems to be a confirmed bachelor. Only for him to be sent a different gender from the mother’s latest schemes. The Queen is mad for which I’m glad but Prince Hamish is disturbed which does not stop the meet-cute from being as sweet as Darshan. Then, the Authoress just dropped a serious size difference that ensures that this tale currently has my utmost attention. Hamish is a hulking, fiery-haired, fierce man of the land, while Darshan could pass for an elf. The Queen’s firstborn, Gordon, heir to the throne and Hamish’s older brother though is enjoying this too much and I’m on his side all the way. Women’s lib definitely gets glorious mentions. An entire ship crew of only women? All my childhood fantasies of piracy came tumbling back with that one. Darshan’s home might be luxurious and magical but I think he’s falling in love with its rugged, more natural beauty and I can’t wait to see how he develops away from home. Or how he copes with his instant crush on Hamish as a fantastic, merry chase begins. But, of course, there will always be haters and the Queen’s mistreatment of Hamish is making me clench my teeth. Goddess save us from Royal Idiots including Hamish who bears it all so admirably, partly due to the guilt he’s been made to bear and the punishments that have been imposed on him. There’s this line from the Lion King that kept rolling around my head, especially during the times when the Queen is being a hater. ‘I can see what’s happening… But they don’t have a clue.’ If I can predict the future, I hereby predict she’s about to have a fight on her hands, which I intend to gleefully enjoy. Oh goddess, can you imagine almost dying in your own home because you have to hide your sexual preference? The most painful part of this tale is that Mish doesn’t even know how amazing a man he is. Darshan will have to fight for his freedom, then prove the man’s worth to him. But Darshan is my boy right now and I know he can do this even though he’s got a mountainous job ahead of him. It’s actually a pleasant surprise that he’s more caring and intuitive than his upbringing would allow. He’s sweet though laced with the perfect kind of magical danger and background that makes him a worthy adversary to the Queen. Yet, the Queen has more trouble in her hands, a gay grandson, more magical talent in her home than she would ever want and it sets me cackling with glee again. If Hamish is a rustic, ruddy teddy bear, Gordon is an act of God and would do a better job of ruling than his mum which irritates the hell out of me (the part that believes women should naturally be good at things like leading and still being able to love. I know, biased, but I’m working on it. Promise). She has embarrassed, humiliated and demeaned Hamish for so long that he finally couldn’t take it anymore and fright beat in my chest for fear of what he would do when he reached his breaking point. And when he reacted, my heart stuttered, so shocked that I couldn’t even cry, seeing something so close to my own reaction to anxiety and panic attacks. I had to take a break and breathe real deep for a while but when I came back to the tale, I was mad and ready to hurt something. If Gordon hadn’t shown more reason to love him, or Dar hadn’t earned even more of my trust, I might have run away from this tale. But I had to stand by Dar as he went into the battle of his life, for what body can survive without its heart? Not even a royal magician can live like that. The most delightful part was knowing things the queen did not know that would make her never sleep again. Ha! Evil cackle ensued again. At this point, I couldn’t put the book down anymore. How anyone can still be as optimistic as this group of people baffles me and I’m pacing my room restlessly as I wait for Civil War to break out. But the tenderness between Dar and Mish, as frail as finely spun silk and as dazzling as the sun makes the erotic moments even more significant as it leads us to the depths of these two men, showing that there is so much more to them than meets the eyes. And like all good things, it left me hungry for more (I have mentioned I’m greedy but only for sweet things, I assure you). The 3d image Mme. Aldrea gives to each of her characters are the hallmarks of a true puppeteer!

Verdict? A keeper of a comfort tale to remind you that while love can start as a surprise and in the midst of despair, it can blaze bright enough to rival the sun.
219 reviews5 followers
September 2, 2022

This book had me on an emotional rollercoaster. I laughed, cried, and threw my phone so many times. This book really resonated with me and I could see similarities in the struggles I’ve faced and those faced by Darshan and Hamish. Overall, I’d rate the book 3/5 but personally I’m giving it 4/5. I liked it and probably will read it again. The book is pretty light on the smut so if that’s what you’re looking for just know you’re gonna get like maybe 2/3 scenes within the 500+ pages. There is a lot of emotional intimacy though and that’s really hot in its own way.

Plot: 3/5
I thought the plot was ok! It was pretty easy to guess what would happen and there weren’t a lot of plants and payoffs. Also, the pacing was a bit slow and I really do hate conflict/plots that are based on homophobia. I wish I got more character development or backstory to explain why the queen is a raging homophobe. The whole religion thing is tired and played out. The plot was a lot better than some of the other MM romances I’ve read and there was a solid act 2 that helped with making the romance between the Darshan and Hamish more believable.

Character: 3/5
I liked the character development between Darshan and Hamish. Especially love a 6’6” bottom 😈, which was a nice lil bonus. While I enjoyed the bourgeoning romance between our leads, it really feels like the other characters were ignored. Like there wasn’t much character building with the other characters like Gordon and Nora or even the nephews/niece. The other characters really didn’t have a story and were more just spices to Darsh & Mish’s story. I didn’t like that at all.

Worldbuilding/setting: 3/5
The setting is your typical medieval time period but with magic. The locations really pull from European history like Scottish and Russian. Kinda wish it wasn’t the same old game of thrones kinda world but still pretty fun.

Writing: 3/5
The writing was good. It didn’t blow me away but the declarations of love were incredible and oh so sweet. Like Darshan really put his whole bussy into saying “I love you.”

Diversity: 2/5
We saw diversity in sexuality, gender, but didn’t really see other classes or disabled people. The diverse representation was weak for me because the other characters didn’t really have lives outside of Darsh and Mish. Two women never had a conversation that wasn’t centered around men (Bechdel test) because every conversation was focused on Darsh and Mish. So it’s a lil weird. You know? So yea, not the best here in my opinion.
Profile Image for R.B..
184 reviews20 followers
May 16, 2020
I wanted to read this because I've read multiple fanfics in different fandoms with the same premise, depending on the level of seriousness the lover was often a servant or arrived disguised as a princess. I usually enjoy those.

English is not my first language so I often have problems with books that includes unusual words, I had to reread a few lines but it wasn't too difficult an I still understood well after I realized it was intentional. I know enough Latin to recognize some of the foreign words, I wonder if the others were also based on real languages. It was fun to see real cultural traditions blended with fantasy, and the author did a great job in writing their religious and historical myths (I kinda want a full version of the Eternal Flame one).

One thing that surprised me was the complete disregard of common practices and assumptions typical of our world, the only thing recognizable was the homophobia, it took me a while to take in their physical appearances and cultures but it was an interesting journey.

This book in short: Two princes both trying not to jump the handsome foreigner because it would be bad for politics, but they don't really try too hard which leads to complications.

Technically this does have explicit sex scenes but not frequently and not very detailed either, so I don't know if I should consider it erotic. The scenes are also talked over in such a way that made me lose sight of what they were supposed to be doing.

I got so much into it I forgot to sleep, I should probably lose the habit of reading in the evening. I kept telling myself "Just one more chapter" then suddenly it was 4am and I was too exhausted to continue.

I wasn't entirely satisfied with where the story left off, but it looks like there will be a sequel.

The book was provided for free by the author in exchange for an honest review via the MMRG Don’t Buy My Love Program.
Profile Image for Billy Buttons.
Author 18 books87 followers
October 8, 2021
This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought:
Title: To Target the Heart
Author: Aldrea Alien

Star Rating: 5 Stars
Number of Readers: 16
Editing: 9/10
Writing Style: 8/10
Content: 9/10
Cover: 8/10
Of the 16 readers:
15 would read another book by this author.
14 thought the cover was good or excellent.
15 felt it was easy to follow.
16 would recommend this book to another reader to try.
Of all the readers, 6 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘plotting a story’.
Of all the readers, 6 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘developing the characters’.
Of all the readers, 4 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘writing style’.
11 felt the pacing was good or excellent.
16 thought the author understood the readership and what they wanted.

Readers’ Comments
“A good LGBTQ+ novel with a strong cast of characters. This is a pretty light read with elements of love and betrayal. There is an adventure element to it too. I thought it was well written and very enjoyable.” Male reader, aged 21
“I thought Hamish was the best catcher in the story. It's rather comical watching him try to understand himself and how he feels.” Male reader, aged 36
“The queen is a bit of a cow making her a superb ‘villain’ in the story. All the other characters seem hapless compared to her scheming nature. There's good chemistry between the two male characters, and the setting is well developed and interesting to get to know.” Female reader, aged 52

To Sum It Up:
‘A cleverly plotted LGBTQ+ novel with a fine cast of characters. A FINALIST highly recommended!’ The Wishing Shelf Book Awards
Profile Image for Alicia.
26 reviews
April 16, 2020
This was a great addition to the Spellster world! I read the first book in the series a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Although this is the second book in the series, you don't need to read the first one to understand what's happening since it takes place in a different country with different characters (although I would still highly recommend it). It was great to see other parts of the world, and I'm really looking forward to seeing Udynea in the next book!

One of my favorite things about this book was how the cultural differences of the protagonists were navigated. The world building in this series is great, the cultures of Tirglas and Udynea feel fully fleshed out, even though we didn't see Udynea in this book. The two kingdoms have completely different views on almost everything, so it's interesting to see how they interact.

Hamish and Darshan were both great, and they complemented each other so well. I really felt for Hamish. His mother is awful, but his siblings are great. Hamish's family members and their family dynamics are also well developed. His brother is great, and his niece and nephews are adorable.

The plot was compelling. There was more political intrigue in this book than the first one, but there was still plenty of adventure as well! The pacing might have been a bit slow at times, but not enough to ever make me lose interest.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes epic fantasy with a side of romance.
Note: I received and ARC copy of To Target the Heart in exchange for an honest review.
1,402 reviews5 followers
July 18, 2021
This was my first read in the Spellster world, but I did not feel terribly lost or confused. This book has great world-building and character development. I loved watching these two different men with different ideas and cultures (but one very specific similarity) come together and find and fight for their love. There are some steamy scenes here, but they are not excessive and serve to enhance the story. There is action, adventure, magic, intrigue, a very unpleasant Queen (Hamish's mother), and wonderful and supportive other family members. I look forward to book 2 in Hamish and Darshan's story.

I received an ARC and am voluntarily leaving this honest review.
Profile Image for Belinda Zamora.
1,035 reviews6 followers
April 23, 2020
Epic fantasy with a dash of romance

A wonderfully compelling plot with multidimensional characters that drew me in and kept me thoroughly engaged.
A horrific villain of a mother, political intrigue, action and adventure.
I loved that the characters were complete opposites and worked together to develop their relationship.
97 reviews1 follower
January 15, 2021
This book is definitely an improvement over the first one in terms of plot and pacing. And I'm really looking forward to the next one. Darshan's homeland sounds awesome. Not the slavery part but everything else.
471 reviews1 follower
April 15, 2020
I have enjoyed reading this book and getting drawn into the world. As Hamish gains experience from being around Darshan. There are some hurdles for them to overcome.
Profile Image for Julia.
572 reviews
December 8, 2021
Long, so very very long. The worldbuilding was rich and detailed (maybe a bit too much) and very enveloping. I mostly enjoyed Darshan and Hamish even if their relationship didn't really feel all that deep to me. We spend far too little time with just them two getting to know each other and an obscenely long amount of time in almost every other aspect. It felt like the author had a lot to say about the world and mythology but very little when it came to the actual relationship. The Queen's character also felt almost cartoonishly villanous, which took me out of the story quite a bit. The passiveness of everyone around her to her craziness also didn't help.

I started to skim at around 60% because it just kept dragging on and it lost my interest. Not sure I will continue.
Profile Image for Robin L.
1,089 reviews5 followers
January 19, 2022
I hate to say it, but I lost my love for Hamish along the way. He was a damsel in distress with muscles and a beard. The sheer amount of doormat behavior was stifling to read. I found myself being embarrassed to read all that he took off of people. I wanted him to grow and find some inner strength and he just didn’t.

This book was too long and and too repetitive to be a good read, but the characters did draw me in. It’s just too bad that they weren’t given anything meaningful to do.

Profile Image for Hellga.
227 reviews5 followers
April 16, 2021
The setting is bizarre, so are internal monologues and incessant unexplained homophobia.
Additionally, the royal family speaking like English peasants or royal children referring to the Queen as “Mum” in public or squabbling at the state dinner are puzzling at the least and very annoying and distracting from the story at the most. Also guards counting to ten out loud before breaking into Ambassador’s room, WTF is this? The whole scene did not make sense with guards going from “you’re alone, naked and with a stiff one” to “your imperial highness” in the span of 5 minutes. I can only suspend so much disbelief.
Finally, the Queen being a heartless crazy raging bitch made up my mind.
I do not want to continue with the series.
127 reviews3 followers
July 5, 2020
Had a nice beginning and sort of the middle but at the 75% mark, I started to lose interest and started to skim to the end. I thought it was way too long. Dialogue and subplots dragged on and the ending wasn't satisfying.
Profile Image for Vivi.
5 reviews
October 15, 2021

I love how the healing magic works in the novel. I love that Hamish is a gentle giant and that the characters are older. The world as well as the characters come to life on the pages. I like that the artwork is drawn, it helped with visualizing the characters.

I initially set the book down for two months because the book was very slow. The author can go on for pages explaining how the world works which can at times muddy what is happening in the scene and slow down the pace.

Overall thoughts about the story:

After giving the book another chance I would have to say I enjoyed reading the book and getting to know the characters and the world. Hamish is a gentle character that did not deserve the horrible mother he was born with. I was glad he found someone that helped him leave his toxic mother though it came with harsh consequences. I was also happy that his brother was an ally. I thought that Hamish and Darshan fell in love a little too fast but I could see how Hamish would get there quickly because he was repressed for most of his life but Darshan did not seem like he would fall so easily. After finishing the second novel I went back to see how they met and I found it funny how Darshan almost lost his mind over Hamish speaking to him that he could barely stand up in the door, that being said he was obviously physically attracted to him but I could not see how he changed so drastically from being a playboy to wanting to settle down.
I thought that Darshan had a bad temper throughout the book and did not see how the family warmed to him, I thought that Nora would not like him after he threatened her and showed disrespect for her home by putting his feet up on her furniture. I was glad that Gordan called him out on it but I thought Hamish should have said something to him about the utter disrespect he showed toward his family members. While I am on Darshan's disrespect, he caused a lot of trouble by not looking into Tirglasian culture and going in to kiss Hamish in public. I know he was sent to Tirglas as a punishment but he should have looked into their culture more, he is my least favorite because of this.
I thought that towards the end of the book when queen Fiona was raging about her son, I thought it was a little odd that her husband could stop her from lunging at Hamish and Darshan but he did not stop her from harming the men he had been with prior to Darshan or for locking him up in his room and guarding him like a prisoner.

Overall I enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to anyone that does not mind reading through pages of exposition to get to likable characters and a massive world.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for CdnBookLover.
426 reviews
February 2, 2020
This is a mildly-interesting story but, just as things were starting to heat up a bit, the story ended with an invitation to download further chapters. I downloaded this “book” from Prolific Works and, if there had been any indication that it wasn’t a complete work, I wouldn’t have bothered to download it.
July 1, 2022
Is no one going to talk about how one of the main characters, Darshan is an unabashed slave owner who justifies owning slaves by saying they'd be worse off without his protection and that he doesn't consider their children his property too but in the same sentence admits they are. Meanwhile the other main character, Hamish, is basically just accepts the other guy owning slaves like "oh I hadn't considered your perspective."

I'm not saying the author supports slavery but in the 21st century why would you make this choice to have the main character be a literal slave owner and portray them in any sort of positive light?

We're supposed to cheer for the main characters and want them to win especially in and LGBT romance but honestly as a Black person from the US, or any decent human being with conscience, why would I? Even if the slaves aren't Black or Black people adjacent.
Profile Image for Jacqueline.
20 reviews
December 6, 2022
Liked the book, but it was a bit long and such a slow burn, I did not know if they would end up together. The magic was a bit Harry Potter slapstick in the begining. But later in the book fading out. I was honing for a book 2 but in the end it could not hold my intrest any more so not reading this series longer. I found the prince to cold and Hamish to blaming it all on himself.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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