Well, let me just start by saying that it's rare for me to give out four stars. The only way to wrangle one out of me is to give me a great character. And I found one in Roric. Also, I received this book free in exchange for an honest review. Now, on to the review.
Let's start with what I struggled with:
First, the hardest part for me in this book was identifying the time period. Honestly, I couldn't tell if it was a middle age or a victorian type culture. The word 'fantasy; usually puts me in the mind set of Dungeon and Dragons, LOTR and so on. So I went in to this book with that firmly planted in my mind. Of course, it quickly went out the door…then came back…then left. I think others might ease into this better than I if they walk in with no preconceived notions, and by no means should it deter you in considering this book. Despite my struggle, the story carried me well past it.
Secondly, I felt I lost a little of my favorite character in the middle of book. Granted, he was faced with situations that forced him outside the norm, but his voice changed and I found myself desperately missing the character's tone I had started out with. But, I was so caught up in his life that the detour did not take away from my enjoyment while reading.
Thirdly, the beginning was a little slow for me. Once it picked up, it was great. But be prepared for a little day to day. It was needed character building though and is what made me fall in love with Roric. So it was worth it in the end.
Annndddd…that's about all the bad I have. Now onto the interesting.
SPOILER ALERT (skip this paragraph if you won't want to know):
This had a very 'V for Vendetta' type feel surrounding the government. "We live like this because we've had peace" type brainwashing and they live almost in their own world, separate from the others. This wasn't a good or bad thing for me. I like the movie so I hopped right on the cruise ship and enjoyed the ride. But while reading, I couldn't help but picture the chancellor's face.
DONE WITH SPOILER.
And now what I liked:
What I loved abut this book was Roric. His story was so moving to me that I was in love with him by the first chapter. None of what he did was out of character for him or came at me from left field. He was true to himself through the entire book; meaning, what happened to him in his early life and what he had made of his new one drove his every decision. I found him to be well thought out and developed brilliantly. The other characters were not as strong, but they all had a good sense of who they were.
Despite this being labeled as Romantic Fantasy, I did not feel the book was bogged down by the love story. The plot and the love story were woven effortlessly together. I will say, as I say in all my reviews about the love story in a book, it was rather quick. The only reason I did not add this to my 'bad' section was because the first quarter of the book seemed to take a long time, making it feel as if more time had passed and the love had organically grown. Looking back, it hadn't been very long at all. But like I said, it didn't feel rushed so I was able to digest it better than most romantic relationships.
All in all, I can say I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed this book.