Sebastian Orwell did the only thing a smart wizard could do when he stumbled upon the wounded Crown Prince: he healed him and dumped him in a tavern where he could continue not being Sebastian's problem. Unfortunately, the prince isn’t content with being alive, and he hunts Sebastian down to thank him personally. Not only is Sebastian stuck with the prince's unwanted affections, he's also confronted by growing evidence linking the assassination attempt to someone from his father's past.
Lord Orwell is a lot of things: thief, liar, drunk, and all around horrible father, but Sebastian knows he's no murderer. In order to prove it, Sebastian has to keep the prince alive long enough to discover the truth—a task made considerably harder because the idiot prince prefers wooing Sebastian over securing his own survival. On top of everything, Sebastian needs to save the day without revealing his magical powers and the real reason he hides his appearance.
Sebastian had no intention of playing the hero, but whoever is stirring up shit in his country will pay for destroying his quiet life.
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Well, not really, but it sort of felt that way to me.
This well-paced, action-packed M/M fantasy novel kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish and I thoroughly enjoyed the read, which clocked in at a bit over 320 pages.
Sebastian is a cursed young wizard who hides his magic from the world behind a spelled cape, a sharp mind and a wicked tongue, while being relentlessly pursued by a very handsome, also magical, prince Turren.
A lot of the action in the story comes from several attempts made on the prince's life by paid assassins, but Sebastian seems to keep being in the right (or wrong, depending on Sebastian's initial point of view) place at the right time to keep Turren upright and breathing.
I absolutely loved the back-and-forth between Sebastian and prince Turren. Although the prince has never, not even once, seen Sebastian's face, he fell in love with the son of a washed-up con man, come (ex?) wizard.
So for all that the prince knew, the cloaked Sebastian was the horribly disfigured product of magical beings, but that didn't matter in the least to the prince. Love is love.
But Sebastian being the very prickly sort, he fought tooth and nail against the prince's advances, until the prince finally wormed his way into the young wizard's heart.
The dialogue in the book is consistently witty, from pretty much every character in the book, even the evil ones, on occasion, so I was constantly smiling. Not rolling on the floor laughing, because it wasn't that type of book, but the abundance of dry humor was definitely one of the strongest draws for me.
Another aspect of the story that I loved was, just like magic being commonplace, there wasn't a single person in the book, good or bad, who had any type of problem with same sex attractions. It simply wasn't an issue. The sky is blue. So? You like men. So? I found that very refreshing.
The world building was both complex and enjoyable, with seemingly more people than not being able to call upon some type of magic or spell craft.
The unintended main star of this book for me was Sebastian's quirky, extremely deadly family. I'm telling you, they were like the Addams Family, but with a lot more snark. And poison. Mustn't forget the poison.
At times, the romance definitely took a back burner to all of the family's pranks on one another and various other shenanigans, but that didn't really affect my overall enjoyment of the book, which did surprise me, as I'm extremely romance-centric.
There are some sexy parts in the book. (Sweet Jesus, save me from the "lover's berries" in the woods scene, because that was straight up, undeniably HOT.)
Overall, the book only had a moderate amount of sex, as the smitten prince's main motive was not to work his way into Sebastian's bed, but to earn a place in Sebastian's heart.
The book was fun, smart and witty, but the snark was what completely sold me.
I highly recommend this one with 4 *you-did-not-just-lick-me-there!* stars.
TIP: There is a Character List at the end of the book. There are approximately *38* characters listed. Before you even read the first word... Print. It. Out. You will thank me.
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