Kamir is on the verge of losing everything. Knowing full well he can't meet the ultimatum his parents have issued, he instead finally puts in motion his plans to live completely independent of them. His plans are interrupted, however, by the unexpected return of his despised ex-husband—and thrown even further into upheaval when he ends up comforting the man he's secretly loved for years. Jader may not know where he comes from, but he knows where he belongs and what he wants—until he helps rescue some stranded Bentan travelers, one of whom looks almost exactly like Jader, throwing his life and everything he thought he knew into tumult. Scared and overwhelmed, Jader flees—and lands unexpectedly in the arms of a man he's always seen, but never really noticed.
Dear Megan Derr,
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, but the second one did not work nearly as well for me, so I decided to ask my book friends if somebody could loan me this one and lucky enough somebody did.
In this book two other characters whom we briefly met in the previous books get their chance at happiness. Actually I am almost sure but not positive that we met Kamir before, maybe he was just mentioned as one of the Lesto’s potential matches and I did not care to reread second book just to double check this small detail.
I do not think readers will be lost if they start reading this series from this book, but I highly recommend checking out “High King Golden Tongue” anyway which is about how High King Sarrika and High Consort Allen fell in love. Also a brief reminder that in this society gender seems to be mostly about choice – you are what gender you said you want to be, there are also several trans men who were or will be getting pregnant and giving birth.
We are introduced to Kamir when his “delightful family” wants him to find a good match or they will disown him. Kamir already put one marriage behind him – the one which he entered at sixteen and his husband abused him. Kamir loves his two children, but he divorced his husband and wants to never have anything to do with him ever again. I thought Kamir was a delightful character, taking in strides everything that the life threw at him and just trying to survive and make sure his children will have a good life too.
Jader succeeded Lesto in the position of High Commander of the Imperial Army and of course his job keeps him very busy. As blurb tells you by complete accident he acquired a family from the country called Benta which he never knew he had. Jader is from the Islands, or so he believed himself to be from there all his life before he saved people from Benta who came to visit the Empire. I am not hundred percent sure whether the Islands are considered to be just an independent territory within the Empire, or a separate state, but it was made very clear in the book two how different many Islanders’ cultural traditions are from the Mainlanders’ cultural traditions.
Of course Jader is not happy to realize that he may have more complicated heritage than he realized and while his spirits are low he meets Kamir . They briefly met before but that’s the first time they actually got to have a conversation and basically decided to spend more time together. They even begin brief love affair. Of course just when they realize that both of them want to get to know each other better Jader is ordered to go visit Benta and get acquainted with his new family for few months. Of course King Sarrika is mostly interested in strengthening his alliance with Benta , and Jader serves at the pleasure of the King so off he goes.
Basically from about forty percent of the story till almost the very end ( ninety five – ninety six percent of the story on my Kindle our heroes are separated and the chapters take turn between describing to us what is happening to Kamir and to Jader.
I have to confess because I was not completely happy with the second book in the series not only did I borrow this one, I skimmed some reviews and I did know that the men will have to endure pretty long separation. I also knew that they would be writing each other letters. I do not mind epistolary novels at all, but I felt that in this one letters exchange did not work as a substitute for the development of the relationship. Because the beginning of the courtship between two guys was so sweet I was definitely looking forward to them getting to know each other better, unfortunately the letters were not powerful enough for me to see how their feelings grew in intensity so much that they would consider eventual marriage at the end of the road.
There was something else that did not work for me even more that the letters. I usually really enjoy how Megan Derr portrayed ruthless court intrigue and political machinations in several of her novels. In this book I enjoyed reading about all the trouble Kamir had to endure because I enjoyed watching his quiet strength endure so much. I also worried for him, but I knew he would prevail at the end.
Unfortunately Jader’s troubles in Benta left me very much indifferent. I am not even sure why – as I said I love political intrigues. I wonder if I had some characters in Benta I could relate to I would feel more engaged?
In any event, this was a weird book. I liked Kamir and I liked Jader and I liked them together, the writer however did not give them nearly enough time together to satisfy me.