Monday, July 20, 2015

ARC Review: The Lightning-Struck Heart by T.J. Klune

 The Lightning-Struck HeartBlurb:

Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident.

Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam's pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the King's Wizard, Morgan of Shadows.

When Sam is fourteen, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of Wilds.

At fifteen, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle. Sir Ryan Foxheart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.

Naturally, it all goes to hell through the years when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can't control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the King sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan's boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never have.

Or so he thinks.
Todd’s rating:

No words. Should have sent a poet.

Okay, I lied.  I may have a *few* words (I am *me* after all, hehe,)  but in all seriousness...

     I. Loved. This. Book.

From start to finish, I was never bored, not even for a single paragraph of its considerable 400+ page length.

Sam of Wilds is a 20 y.o. wizards apprentice (to Morgan of Shadows,) with more blurty, unfiltered goodness in him than one could possibly imagine. And it was a (slightly blinding) sight to behold.

His best friend is Gary, a hornless gay unicorn. And folks, he is a fierce, snarky BITCH, so watch out or someone's going to lose a testicle.

His other best friend is Tiggy, a nine-foot-tall half-giant, who may not be the brightest marble in the bag, but he protects Sam and Gary with a fury best not tested. It's a good way to be wearing your insides on your outsides. And quickly.

Then we have Sam's would-be love interest, 25 y.o. Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart, who makes everyone in the kingdom swoon.

But Sam most of all, who very secretly attends meetings of the Ryan Foxheart Fan Club. That plot point was crazy funny.

“The one and only time that I went...”
“Of the four times that I've been...”
“The eighth time there...”
“Of the twenty-six times that I've attended...”

But there's the small matter of Ryan's engagement to Prince Justin (who you will immediately want to junk punch at first sight) standing in the way of our two heroes' happiness.

The interactions between Sam and Ryan are freaking priceless. Price. Less.

They both seem to be vying for the coveted title of Most Clueless Where Attractions Are Concerned. Yes, I capitalized it, because it's a thing. ;- ) (Sam does that a lot in the book as well, which I found cute and endearing.)
“You capitalized that, didn’t you,” Morgan sighed.
“I did,” I said. “That’s how you know it’s epic.”
Gary’s rage glitter subsided. “The most epic there could be.”

Sam doesn't believe that Ryan even knows he exists (he's ooooh so wrong) and, without fail, squeaks and runs away whenever he sees Ryan, which has been happening for 5 years running.

But when a dragon kidnaps Prince Justin (yay and good riddance to bad rubbish, I say), the King requests that Sam accompany Ryan on a quest to rescue Prince Justin. "Yaaaay." *slow-clap*

And thus ends Sam's Plan to Avoid Ryan at All Costs comes to a swift and abrupt end. Yes, again capitalized, because it's a thing.

God, their back and forth was a true thing of beauty, as spending week after week together begins to solidify the previously-uncharted longing in their hearts.

But there's still Prince Justin, who they've been sent to rescue.

So, yeah, while the book has an unending supply of longing and want, neither Sam or Ryan are 'that type' of person and they avoid their feelings at all costs.

I'm sure, that like myself, some readers will comment as to a lack of relationship building; however, as the story was written, I didn't see how that could have really come about -- without them cheating.

So I understood and just went with the happy, blurty, fairly-uncomfortable flow between Sam and Ryan, enjoying the ride and allowing events to play out.

And, Christ, how Sam was tested during that journey.
Now was Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart climbing slowly out of the river, water cascading down his body, dripping over miles and miles of muscle. He wore nothing but a thin, white undergarment that stuck and clung to his groin and thighs. He reached down, the muscles in his back flexing as he scooped up water in his hands and brought it up and over his head. His nipples were pebbled. His chest was covered in a smattering of wet hair. He was lines and corded muscle, definition and carved from stone. If I had let my eyes linger, I would have sworn I could see the outline of his cock through the wet fabric. My skin felt tight and flushed and I wanted. There was green and gold, and it was so fucking bright that I almost had to shut my eyes from the weight of it.

“I swear he’s doing this on purpose,” Gary whispered hotly.

“I swear I want to do him on purpose,” I breathed.

Gary choked and I didn’t care.

I would never have him. I knew this. It wasn’t meant to be.

But that didn’t mean I couldn’t be creepy and have this one fucking moment where I could pretend and wish and hope and dream and yes, now I had an erection and it was fucking awful.

Okay, that's all for possible spoilers, folks. I refuse to be "that bitch", so no more plot points, but I will lastly divulge that:
1.) Sam and Ryan do (as expected) get their happily ever after.

-- and --

2.) The sexy scenes, once they finally, finally FINALLY get together, are almost worth the wait and very worthy of the rest of this very good book.

** I only say 'almost' because I tend to be an impatient bitch, but if they had cheated, it would've ruined the entire experience for me, so I'm truly thankful that they didn't.
In this book, the banter is non-stop, which I personally loved. For me, that was a good thing, keeping me fully-engaged.

But be warned, much the same as some readers felt that TJ's "Tell Me It's Real" was way over-the-top, there's much the same feel in this book.

So if I had to make a guess, if you loved Paul and Sandy's banter in "Tell Me It's Real," then I *think* you will love this one, too.

However, if you hated that type of humor, this book has *way* more of it than TMIR ever dared dream, so keep that in mind when deciding to read.

But honestly? I wouldn't have changed a thing and can't wait to read the next book, which there had better be or somebody's gonna die in a Shit Storm of Glittery Unicorn Rage.

Yes, I capitalized it, because it's an honest-to-God thing, people! ;- )

It's been a while since a book this long has kept my enrapt attention, so a full 5 motherfucking *Dashing*and*Immaculate* stars for this ridiculously fun epic tale.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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