It is to this book's great detriment that I read this so soon after reading [b:Kastor Chronicles 1: The Forge of Dawn|11350370|Kastor Chronicles 1 The Forge of Dawn|Jesse Hajicek|/assets/nocover/60x80.png|16280097]. Yeah, double, triple, quadruple standards and whatnot, but goddamn
Celandine that stupid, silly bitch. Knowing absolutely nothing of the Lord of Salt except what rumors say (based on which, that he's very, very likely to seek revenge, wreak havoc, salt the earth, etc.), she decides it's a good idea to go "fuck the world" and run off to elope? Putting, of course, her brother in prime position for said revenge-wreaking. What a damn wanker. Idk/dc if the rest of his reaction and whatnot wasn't her fault, but she basically spawns a wild goose chase after her and for some reason, yeah, there's a bit of surreality about the entire damn experience, but honestly, it reminded me more of those mind-control erotica stories that are rife with dub-con/non-con/questionable-moral-everything you find on those fringe sites (you know, the ones that have no real romance at all and it's just brutal and shit and often has bad grammar/editing?).
Beyond that, though, the plot had a sort of underlying impotence about it. It's like we were being taken somewhere, stuff was sort of being built up, and it mostly fizzled.
MC was really, really weird even from the get-go. I kept thinking, "*squint* Is it just me or is there something... vaguely princessly
about, well everything he does?" I mean, I think I later wrote it off - uneasily - as "invert tendencies" showing early, but MC (what the hell was his name? Oh, yeah. "'Sander" [ew]), I think, had more of a princessly mindset than a princely one anyways (yeah, yeah. Archetypes, stereotypes, and perpetuation of a perhaps obsolete "standard"). Everything happened to
him, you know, and he pretty much obediently went along with whatever everyone said. In fact, no. That's it. He was the perfect princess. Quiet, demure, loyal to her country, dutiful, and rather sweet in temperament.
Except it's still so hard to buy into the MCs romance as an actual romance and not Stockholm-Lima.
The biggest issue I have, though, is probably Celandine's cold and callous disregard for her brother and her country
. Spoiled bitch is clearly not made to be a princess. A good one, you know. So I was also a bit rather more than a little extremely annoyed when towards the end, Alessander threw in a line about possibly naming her kid his heir/her the regent. Because honey, that sociopathic bitch
is going to ruin the country.
Another big, big problem was Gael. He was such a spectacularly flat character, yet apparently so important in both the plot and both siblings' early lives. Couldn't we have known more about him? Maybe if the author had built him up more, we could have seen why Cel would have wanted to elope. You know, seen that maybe he deserves a happy ending, too. As is, I have no idea why he does what he does. You'd think that as a loyal subject, he'd be willing to put his own happiness before the possibility of destroying his country. Ah, but I forget. He's probably loyal only to the Princess Bitch. Either way, he also ultimately comes off as either overly subservient/obsequious, a completely placid (i.e. useless) pushover, or as completely sociopathic as Princess Sociopathic Bitch herself. Because who cares about the fate of a kingdom if I get to fuck prime ass, right? No, withdrawn. That's me getting too worked up now. But only by a bit *pouts*
I think ultimately, the gay sex took over the focus and everything revolved around the need to have the gay sex instead of working the gay sex into the plot, which meant a lot of the plot-points became rather cringe-worthy when they were introduced.
You know, if you actually pause and think about it, what were we told of the universe? Surprisingly little. We know the island kingdom has a king named Nicholas, that there's some piratey/war-y shit going down with/around/about Garland, that the island kingdom really
likes peacocks on princesses and peahens on princes (I'm sure the ironic reversal was intentional because imo, it came off a bit obvious. something about going on and on about something kind of does that a bit, you know?), has a very strong, forced sea-theme about most things, and is probably incredibly inbred. Oh, and there's a magical island with gods and shit.
I dunno. I feel like a pretty large scaffold has been set up for the universe, but ultimately, the 'verse isn't quite completely - or even near mostly - built up. Still, I'd say in terms of potential, it's got a lot going for it.