This fifth book of the Stariel series (beginning with The lord of Stariel) was a hit for me. As a romance, as advertised, but also as a story of its own: an absolutely perfect read.
If you’ve read and loved the Stariel quartet before this book, you’ve very probably rooted for Marius since the beginning. He’s an interesting and touching character, and his interactions with Rakken were already promising, romance wise. This book deepened their relationship in a very satisfying way, playing with romance clichés by turning them inside out. Their personalities’ evolutions were great, touching and realistic in a surprising way. The easy banter between Marius and Rakken, always fun, is mixed with real talks, for a superb show don’t tell exposition of their thoughts and feelings.
The tone of the romance is rather hotter than the quartet’s one. One sensibility about romances’ temperatures is very personal; but I think that most people will enjoy the romance anyway: the hottest scenes aren’t very numerous and very well done, tinted with vivid emotions.
The book is a romance in the sense that the two characters are together in nearly all the scenes. Which is very endearing and fun! But the romance isn’t the only theme of the book at all. The story is complex and fascinating and will, I except, hold the attention of any reader, even one not particularly interested in romances. The readers of the series will be happy to come back to the world, and meet the characters again. Caroline and Irokoi, in particular, and others sometimes (not much Hetty and Win, deep in parental throes!)
To finish with, I received and advanced e.copy from the author (whom I thank! *.*), as I had for all the former series’ books. It didn’t obscur my judgement, I fell in love with Stariel since my first read (I’ve read the books a lot of times since, and will reread them frequently) and am really happy and excited to help readers to choose to read them. I’ve ordered all the beautiful paper versions, and hope the series will go on a little more!