Review: The High King’s Golden Tongue by Megan Derr

High King's Golden TongueThe High King’s Golden Tongue by Megan Derr
Genre: M/M Fantasy
Publication Date: July 13th, 2015
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
 

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Prince 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.

Publisher note: this is a highly expanded, completely re-written version of the free short that was previously available under the same title.

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Wendy’s Review

If anyone were to ask me what the best books I’ve read so far in 2015 would be, at the top of the list would be C.S. Pacat’s Captive Prince series.  From the moment I finished Prince’s Gambit I have been on the lookout for another Fantasy M/M series to gnaw on while I await the final book.  Let’s be real, there aren’t a lot of Fantasy M/M books out there to choose from, options are limited.  So needless to say I was super excited when I saw The High King’s Golden Tongue pop up on Netgalley.  The cover is beautiful, the plot sounded interesting… and it wasn’t a short story!  Just like that, I was in.

Starting off I realized I was a little confused by the synopsis.  I’m not sure why, rereading it now it’s very clear, but I didn’t realize that one of the protag’s of the series would be a widower.  I thought the ‘late king’ was the father of the prince who was getting married.  If anyone else out there was confused too, let’s clear this right up.  The story is about a man who lost his husband, the love of his life, and it is his job to remarry again for the sake of his kingdom.  He wants to marry a soldier, like his husband was, his advisers want him to marry a politician to balance him.  The advisers win.  I think I would have been more nervous to read The High King’s Golden Tongue had I known that it would be about a widower.  It’s a trigger for me.  I always worry that the new love will be overshadowed by the old love.  In the case of this particular book, I think it kind of was, although I don’t think it was the characters fault.

My biggest concern with the story, and the reason it only has 3 1/2 stars, is because I just didn’t feel like Sarrica and Allen were given enough time together to believably fall in love.  The book averages about 400 pages, and it feels like they were only alone together maybe 5 or six times over the course of the story.  When everyone surrounding Sarrica is talking about how passionate and true his love for the late Prince Nyle was, to counter that we as the readers need to see firsthand what it was in Allen that caused Sarrica to put that lost love aside.  Rene saw the strength in Allen, Lesto saw the steel in Allen, I believed it when Jac and the Dragons began to admire him… with Sarrica, however, he was mostly told about Allen’s virtues.  It went from dislike, to tolerance, to friendship, to attraction, and finally to love without ever really showing the readers why.

However, I did enjoy the reading The High King’s Golden Tongue despite all my critiques.  I thought the characters were very well developed and unique.  I liked all of them, but in particular I loved Lord Tara and Rene, and Lesto.  Lesto is going to get a book of his own next, and I will definitely be reading it when I can get my hands on it.

Lastly, and just because it’s interesting, Nyle was a man and yet he could have children.  Not only Nyle, but other male characters spoke about giving birth and being pregnant.  It led me to wonder if not only was this M/M but if it was also Transgender without all the strife that comes with being a part of our present day culture.  I wonder if the author was attempting to create a world in which everyone was equal and gender was determined by your brain and not by your body, and that any version of ‘man’ or ‘woman’ was accepted.

It was kinda beautiful.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  1/2 = B-

Thank you to Less Than Three Press and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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