Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
At age eighteen, when they become marriageable, all royal children in the Thousand Kingdoms must either go questing to rescue another royal or be hidden away to await rescue themselves. Some go the traditional route of princes rescuing princesses, but not all princes want to be rescuers…and some would rather rescue other princes.
Then there’s Prince Gerald, who has no interest in getting married at all. When he refuses to choose a role as either rescuer or rescuee, his royal parents choose for him and have him magicked away to a distant tower to await a spouse.
Gerald, however, is having none of it. He recruits his guardian dragon and a would-be rescuer and soon the trio is dashing to all corners of the united kingdoms on a quest to overturn the entire system.
Well, I just love this story! New author and new fantasy story all in one. Love it when that happens. Especially when the author manages to take several standard fantasy elements and give them their own take. Here Logan uses the familiar knight quest/damsel in distress/rescue as a major element, along with the dragon that guards the tower. And promptly turns all said elements on their narrative heads to my total entertainment and joy.
It starts with Prince Gerald, who’s mothers, the Queens want him to get married. That’s right the Queens. In this world, the many kingdoms have apparently long come accustomed to various sexualities and their pairings. Marriages made between men, women, gender fluid people…like Princex…all good and accepted. But there’s one last huge area not understood or even thought of….that of being asexual. That is Gerald and his current problem because he doesn’t want to get married and can’t seem to get anyone to listen to him to understand exactly why this is so deeply affecting him. He doesn’t feel the way they do. He doesn’t understand everyone being a “sexual” being nor does he want a sexual marriage and that’s want is being forced on him and whoever he marries.
Logan, using Gerald as our point of view, brings us into his heart, mind, and frustration over the lack of empathy and the poignancy of his situation. Which only gets worse. Then unexpectedly through Gerald’s kindness and intelligence, gets better. For not only himself, but for several species that had been forced into servitude, including dragons, and wholes generations of new young royals coming of age. In other words, Gerald and a small group of friends become heroes.
And it will start by Gerald saving himself. Really, doesn’t get any better than that.
Logan does a superb job of world building, crafting the characters and creating the rigid political structures that have led to the situation all have found themselves in. I found myself totally invested in every aspect of this story. I was rooting for them all to succeed while admiring different aspects of the author’s storytelling.
There is a small group of royal friends and a sapient dragon, several quests of their own making, and a remarkable ending. Yes, this is a character and troop of characters to root for. Especially as I thought the author did an excellent job with bringing Gerald’s pain and frustration over his asexuality to light to those around him, including the readers. What hurt and was perhaps realistic was still a matter of total understanding from those closest to Gerald at the end of his asexuality. That he might not ever get all the approval or total acceptance he was hoping for. That it would have to be enough…for now.
And it was. You have to read the book to understand that. There’s hope and Gerald was leaving to go where he wanted, on a path of his own making. Sort of perfect. Just like this story.
Yes, I definitely recommend this story for YA fantasy lovers or just lovers of fantasy. There is no heat level as you can imagine. But lots of adventure and plenty to cheer about. Dragons and heroes or every sort!
Cover art: Natasha Snow. I think Natasha Snow is just nailing her covers including this one. Perfect from the dragon to the setting. Love it.
Expected publication: April 8th 2019 by NineStar Press
Edition Language English