Author: Sasha L. Miller
Length: Super Novel (470 pages)
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (1st January 2014)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts
Blurb: At a memorial service meant to honor the dead and mark the beginning of a truce between Skirfall and Morcia, Ackley spies a figure who does not belong—a mage interrogator whose presence will only cause harm should the Morcians realize who he is and all the people he has tortured. But the problem rapidly grows much worse than that when Ackley realizes his true purpose is assassination of the Morcian crown prince—an assassination Ackley prevents, but at great cost.
Banished from his own country, bound magically to the crown prince of his enemies, Ackley is certain of just one thing: whether he can figure out how to break the spell or not, his death is assured.
Review: Ackley of Skirfall jumps into action when he realizes that the memorial service to honor the dead and seal the peace between two warring country’s is really a trap. Ackley spots Daralis, a mage interrogator, lurking in the crowd and realizes he is set on assassination and Ackley acts at great cost to himself. Now tied to the crown prince of Morcia, Beorn Ealdwin, Ackley has to find a way to break the bond whilst being dragged into a plot by some members of Ealdwin’s own council.
This is a brilliant enemy to lovers’ story; it’s a story of trust being built and of attraction building and two men finding love from a difficult situation. Ackley is a magic user and through one impulsive act, he finds himself bound to a man whose country outlaws magic. Ackley has to discover the counter spell that will set him free, but it is far from easy as he is looked upon with mistrust. Ealdwin doesn’t trust Ackley but has no choice in following Ackley’s advice… both their lives depend on it. Both Ackley and Ealdwin have to work together as they try to discover the traitor in Ealdwin’s own council, and Ackley begins to run out of time and just might have to choose between his magic and his freedom.
This is a great fantasy story of two men from different sides of a war who have to work together if they want their freedom. I found the story to be very in-depth with the ongoing war and the political maneuvering taking center stage, with Ackley’s search for a counter spell coming in a close second and the developing relationship between Ackley and Ealdwin being left till last. I liked the way the story progressed with Ackley and Ealdwin working together and the trust between them building slowly over time, when they did admit their feelings it felt more genuine because of the time they spent getting to know each other. This is far from an instant attraction story or men falling headlong in love, it’s a building of trust and affection.
Both Ackley and Ealdwin are interesting characters and their relationship is based on necessity which then takes its time developing into something more. I really enjoyed the main storyline of breaking the spell and discovering who is making a play against the throne and found it well drawn out. The setting is perfectly written *sigh* I love stories that have a medieval feel to them and I absolutely adore them when magic is thrown into the mix. I must admit though that I got thrown at times with the changing of Ealdwin’s name, at times he was Ealdwin and others he would be called his other name Beorn and it would take me a moment or two to remember they were the same person *shush*.
I recommend this to those who love fantasy, brilliant characters and an intriguing storyline with magic, political sneaky dealings, betrayal and a relationship built on trust.