Rating: 5 stars out of 5 ★★★★★
Son of a simple blacksmith, Apprentice Wytch Kian has always known that once his apprenticeship is over, he’ll be sent far from home to serve the Wytch Council. Before his training is even complete, Wytch Master Taretha orders him to Blackfrost, an isolated country estate, where he is to serve as personal healer to Prince Ambris of Miraen.
Nothing in Kian’s experience has prepared him for what he finds at Blackfrost, and every day brings new questions. Like why is Prince Ambris being kept prisoner at Blackfrost? Where does Wytch Master Taretha take him every fortnight? And why does the prince return from these excursions suffering from horrific injuries that Kian is expected to heal?
Kian quickly learns that seeking answers to these questions could cost him his life. Worse, he soon finds himself struggling with his growing feelings for Ambris, putting him at odds with both Wytch Master Taretha and the sadistic guard captain, Malik. Can Kian unravel the mystery in time to save Ambris? Or will the prince finally succumb to madness and destroy Blackfrost and everyone in it?
If you read my review of book one in this series, Burn the Sky, you saw me proclaim it as my favorite dragon shifter story. Well guys, we have an upset. As of last night when I finished the ARC of Blackfrost, I must say that as much as I adored Garrick and Ilya’s story and didn’t think it possible for the series to get better. It did. New favorite!
I love broken boys, and this author excels at providing perfect, realistic HEA endings for the tortured and broken men she makes me adore. Well, I’m here to say that Prince Ambris gives a whole new meaning to the word broken. Don’t believe me? Read the first chapter and see.
The story hooked me in practically from the first page, which is actually pretty rare for me. In thinking of a word to describe the beginning, what came to mind is stunning because both of the dictionary meanings do apply (1. causing astonishment, bewilderment & 2. of striking beauty or excellence). If you’re easily squeaked out, maybe a bit of caution as it’s very vividly written, but don’t let it stop you please, as I can almost guarantee it will suck you in.
The world building in this series rivals any I’ve seen. All of the author’s series take place in the same universe but often in a different timeframe, which makes for a world that’s well-developed, intricate and complex. Epic really. For a complete understanding of it, check out the authors Aion Timeline page here: http://www.jayemckenna.com/p/timeline.html
We get to visit with characters from book one who I loved, the newly crowned Wytch King Garrick and his beloved Wytch Master Ilya. Also Garrick’s younger brother Jaire whose powers have grown since the last book. And of course, sweet and witty Kian.
Kian is such a nice guy. In Burn the Sky, he was Prince Garrick’s friend and sometime bedmate. I love that the two remained friends despite well, everything from book one. That there was no jealousy when Garrick found his love in Ilya, that their friendship was firm and solid throughout. I loved that Kian is bisexual, and that he’s such an easy going, laid back, and rather simple guy. Not easy to anger or volatile but just a downright affable guy. He’s the guy I’d like to have for a pal. I could just squeeze him.
As much as I like Kian, it’s Ambris who rocked this story for me. And it’s hard to explain why without spoilers, which is frustrating but I really don’t want to give anything away! So I’ll just say that I enjoyed seeing how having someone care for him and for whom he could care allowed him to find the strength to transform from the tortured, beaten down, nearly hopeless man he was at the beginning into the strong and confident man of royal blood that was his destiny. That, and the fact that the physical description of Ambris is so unique that although the cover rocks just as it is and I really wouldn’t change it, there is a small part of me disappointed that it didn’t have a representation of Ambris in all his awesomeness.
Amidst the nicely paced action and angst, the main characters manage some steamy sexy times, including a lovely massage scene that I found particularly titillating. There’s also a delightful side relationship between two of the minor characters that I added another level of enjoyment to the story.
The cover by Chinchbug is not only eye-catching, but is like a freeze frame of action that vividly captures a key scene in the story in all of its power and poignancy right down to the screaming angst on the dragon’s face.
Published May 1st 2016 by Mythe Weaver Press
Wytch King Series with links to BJ’s reviews: