A MelanieM Pre-Release Review: The Heart of the Lost Star (Tales of the High Court #3) by Megan Derr

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

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 look 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.

Megan Derr is one of my favorite fantasy authors.  Her Lost Gods series remain at the top of my list of books and series to recommend.  Derr continues to demonstrate why I love her so with series and books like Tales of the High Court and The Heart of the Lost Star, the third story in the series.

Derr has built such an incredible universe through three stories now, threading through more mythology, cultural facts and world geography in each one, enriching each stories foundation, and enlarging our knowledge of the world these characters live in.  Even of the characters themselves.  Here gender isn’t assigned by physiology but chosen by the child when they feel  comfortable enough to choose.  And no parent has the right to force the child to live otherwise.  So Kamir, a male, can bear children, with his own twins of age to choose their own gender and it’s a lovely easy fact of life.

What’s not so easy is how they were born, and Kamir’s ex-husband’s treatment of Kamir and the children.  That is an element here that’s unfortunately too familiar even within a fantasy setting.  But Derr has created in Kamir a truly remarkable character, vulnerable, yet strong in his perseverance, graceful and kind.  Trust me, you’ll fall under Kamir’s spell just as Jader does.  Kamir has a complicated life, one he’s trying to uncomplicate himself, although love has a way of throwing in one more unexpected entanglement.  The same goes for Jader, an adopted Islander who’s now risen to a top position within the Kingdom.  Last thing he expects is his attraction to Kamir and his children, then events happen that throws Jader into turmoil…and more complications ensue for all.

At times this will seem like separate stories, one for Jader who is undergoing his own journey, one for Kamir who is fighting his own battles, and then one for them as a couple. All three stories are emotionally tumultuous, fraught with danger and suspense for each individual and the couple, and yet so full of love, especially towards the end, when it all pays off.  It’s full of adventure, high court politics (never a good thing), and passion.  In other words, a stunning great tale!

And yes we see something of the couples from the other stories as well, a trend I hope will continue because I want to see more of Kamir and Jader too.

If you can’t tell by now this is a book and series I highly recommend.  The writing is fluid and dynamic!  The characters memorable and the situations charged full of action and emotion.  I can’t wait for the next book to appear.  Neither will you once you get started!  Enjoy!

Cover art by JohnCoulthart.com  Love the covers.  It brands the series and works for the story.

Pre sales link:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon to come

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: August 23rd 2017 by Less Than Three
ISBN 1684310601 (ISBN13: 9781684310609)
Edition Language English
Series: Tales of the High Court  (add to Goodreads)

A Lila Review: The Pirate of Fathom’s Deep by Megan Derr

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Rating: 5+ stars out of 5

The Pirates of Fathoms DeepHigh Commander Lesto Arseni is the most feared man in the Harken Empire. None but the High King dares risk his wrath—and a pirate who once punched him in the middle of the imperial pavilion. A pirate who later snuck away with Lesto to an empty room, touched him in ways far more memorable. And then immediately bolted like a man who’d gotten what he wanted.

Shemal just wants to live a normal life, leave his pirating days behind him and prove that he’s respectable now. The last thing he needs is the two idiots who show up wanting his help with the noble they’ve kidnapped—the very man Shemal had been hoping to prove himself to, the man he hasn’t forgotten since Shemal punched him a year and a half ago.

The Pirate of Fathoms Deep is a marvelous tale of friendship and love between two strong men. There’s a small mention of the incident that brought Lesto and Shemal together in the first book in the series, but not enough to realized more had happened or would happen between the two of them.

Lesto is Harken’s High Commander, but more importantly, he’s High King Sarrica’s right hand and best friend. Their friendship kept them alive in the battlefield and now, helped them run the Empire. Their bromance stays strong in this book and extends to Allen and Shemal, too. Lesto is also the Duke of Fathoms Deep and Nyle’s and Rene’s older brother. He runs his troops and his family/friends like a well-oiled machine.

Shemal is trying to put his pirate ways behind him, but trouble met him at his door. The last thing he expected in his remote parcel were two of his mates bringing him, without warning, the very man he had wanted for the last eighteen months. The man he was trying to be better for. But after all, a pirate can’t resist a treasure.

Since that first encounter, they have been jonesing for the other without a way to get in contact. They both wanted normal lives with a family and a partner. They keep a strong veneer for everyone else, but when together, they were able to relax and be vulnerable. The way the first met, didn’t allow the other to share their wants, but in the end, destiny brought them together. The chain of events they were involved in helped to bring them closer and closer until they surrendered to each other.

In comparison to The King’s Golden Tongue, this second book in the series is more up to point. The reader is familiar with the Harken Empire and has a better understanding of all the little details that make this world work. All the characters we loved are back, and we get to know more about Sarrica & Allen and Rene & Lord Tara.

Even with only 54K words, this story has enough twists and turns to keep us reading the next page, and the next page, and… The author did an outstanding job keeping this story simple and not allowing the kingdom troubles to interfere with the romance. The main plot is Lesto’s and Shemal’s relationship; everything else is well-written but secondary. We get enough information to follow what’s happening with the Empire and to set the next book in the series without losing perspective.

Another great cover by John Coulthart. The colors of the duchy make it appealing, and the images from the settings are beautiful. Plus, it matches the cover of the first installment.

Sale Links: LT3 | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages
Published: July 13, 2015, by Less Than Three Press
ISBN: 9781620047934
Edition Language: English

Series: Tales of the High Court
Book #1: The High King’s Golden Tongue
Book #2: The Pirate of Fathoms Deep
Book #3: The Heart of the Lost Star (2017)

A Lila Review: The High Kings Golden Tongue by Megan Derr

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Rating: 5+ stars out of 5

The High Kings Golden TonguePrince Allen has trained his entire life to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious mother, who has made their kingdom one of the wealthiest and most influential in the empire. For the past few years he has trained to become the new consort of the High King. The only thing no one prepared him for was the stubborn, arrogant High King himself, who declares Allen useless and throws him out of court.

High King Sarrica is ruling an empire at war, and that war will grow exponentially worse if his carefully laid plans do not come to fruition. He’s overwhelmed and needs help, as much as he hates to admit it, but it must be someone like his late consort: a soldier, someone who understands war, who is not unfamiliar with or afraid of the harsher elements of rule. What he doesn’t need is the delicate, pretty little politician foisted on him right as everything goes wrong.

The High King’s Golden Tongue is an excellent fantasy tale of love, trust, family, and friendship.

The original story, in which this book is based on, was written in 2012 and was around 40 pages long. I read it about two years ago and rated five stars as well. I went back and skimmed over it, and found myself reading further than I first intended. The bones were all there, but this extended version is everything a reader could have wished for and so much more.

The fantasy world the author created includes several kingdoms with different languages and traditions— each of them with a rich history, royal families, and plots to take over the Empire. Simple things like food predilections, crops, and fashion are taking into account and spun into a well-connected tale.

Prince Allen is that connection between the kingdoms, but especially between the reader and the story. He had trained all his life to be a silver tongue, but more specifically, to be a King/Queen’s consort. He’s knowledgeable in politics, business, logistics, and many other things a regent would need to be taken care of. When Lord Tara’s family suggested him to be the Consort of the High King, he trained for two years just to be what King Sarrica needed.

Being a widower with two small children and a kingdom ready to go to war takes King Sarrica’s full attention. It’s not until the moment the Council brings a consort for him that he realizes that he didn’t want anyone to replace his late husband, Nyle. If forced, Sarrica wants a soldier, like him, to help him defend his Empire. He didn’t see value in Prince Allen’s knowledge and training. He pegs him as a spoiled royal looking for pampering and multiple lovers.

Sarrica’s dismissal puts Allen in an awkward position. If he returns home, his family would see him as a failure and his kingdom can take offense. If he stays, he would constantly be waiting for Sarrica’s call. Even if it’s just to warm up his bed, Allen wants to serve the stubborn King.

A series of misunderstandings, clever resolutions, and dark situations would mark a separate path for Sarrica and Allen. Their separation would show Sarrica how much he needed Allen and what he was willing to do to get his Golden tongue back. At the same time, Allen would find the friends he never had and a real reason to survive. He’s finally putting to practice everything he learned since childhood and discovering his own strength.

All these adventures are detailed, engaging, and fascinating. There isn’t a slow moment in this book. The plot moves forward steadily with every situation, and all the characters had a reason to exist. The amount of characters and setting involved is grant, but not overwhelming. Everything is presented cohesively and the narrations, as well as the dialogues, were well-written and witty.

I loved Tara, Rene, Lesto, and many of the Fathoms Deep and Three-headed Dragons. The friendship between Sarrica, Lesto, and Rene added a sense of familiarity and reality to the story. The settings, the fashion, and the food descriptions were great; the books and treaties, too. I only had trouble following some of the gender neutral names and I wished the author had explained the reason why some of the males  were able to bear children.

Overall, an exquisite fantasy story filled with unique scenes and engaging characters. Really happy to see more books being added to the series.

The cover by John Coulthart is beautiful. The intricate design and the attention to detail bring small parts from the setting & the castle to life. It definitely has the feel of a medieval High Court.

Sale Links: LT3 | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 400 pages
Published: November 4, 2015, by Less Than Three Press
ISBN: 1620046245 (ISBN13: 9781620046241)
Edition Language: English

Series: Tales of the High Court
Book #1: The High King’s Golden Tongue
Book #2: The Pirate of Fathoms Deep
Book #3: The Heart of the Lost Star (2017)