Today I’m reviewing Betrothed: A Faery Tale by Therese Woodson. It’s a shorter book at 200 pages, and my how those pages flew by. I was extremely sad to see the end of this story, though it was probably as close to a perfect ending as I could have hoped for. There are some warnings for this book: some violence, though not too graphic, some skeezy guy trying to get a hot guy drunk to take advantage of him, and some racism, though it’s of the human hating variety. After reading this book Therese Woodson became one of my go to authors. I’ll auto buy the crap out of anything she writes. I want more. MORE.
Let’s start with the blurb:
Faery royalty have always married for duty rather than love. Prince Chrysanths should be no different―except with a human for a father, the prince known as Puck already is different. When he is betrothed against his will to Prince Sky, Puck flees to his father in the human world, only to have Sky follow.
Prince Sky Song of the Clouds isn’t thrilled with the prospect of marriage either, but is bound by duty to follow through. If he can’t win Puck over, the faery realm might very well dissolve into utter chaos. Too busy arguing, Puck and Sky are unaware there are others with a vested interest in seeing the betrothal fail. In a bid for Puck’s crown, they’ll seek to keep them apart, even as Puck and Sky realize that duty and love don’t always have to be mutually exclusive.
The blurb is short and sweet, though somewhat misleading. In the book faery royalty don’t always marry for duty, just some unlucky royals get that privilege to join the faery kingdoms together.
This is a faery story. The author does an amazing job world building here, and I have to say I’m in love with her faeries. She has a history of the people, different elemental associations, magic…it’s just wonderful. It has shades of Charlaine Harris in it, especially the faery crossings, but all in all I think that’s just genre overlap and I enjoyed it so much I certainly didn’t care.
Puck. I love the name Puck. He’s one of the main characters. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is probably my favorite play by the Bard, and I was ridiculously excited to see references to it and to see the plays discussed, however topically. I also have a reference to it in my own book, Threefold Love. Andrew quotes it. I gave a hearty squee of joy when I read P-u-c-k. I would have even been happy if this story had been some kind of odd retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but what I got was so much more, so much better, and so deeply unexpected.
I am in love with the way Sky and Puck are so lovingly described. Woodson does a marvelous job with the magic in her world, which is twined closely to the physical appearances of her characters. I can’t get over how perfectly she walks the information hand out line with her world. We get just enough so that we can imagine what we want, but we’re still given a solid structure to bounce from.
The sex. Oh, good gawd, the sex. It wasn’t rushed, but once that gate is opened it’s a wonderful, steamy, fantastical foray into two hot men touching each other. I can’t get over how much fun it was. I haven’t read a final “copulation” scene like their wedding night in a good long while. It reminded me a tad of the Meredith Gentry series only more down to earth, if that makes any sense. I don’t have a better way to explain it. It was very visceral, and I loved that Sky liked to have his hair pulled. (Closet kinkster…Oh, wait…no, I’m obnoxiously out with that tidbit about myself.)
I liked the faery/human world interaction a lot. It’s always fun when an author can take something mundane and make me look at it through new eyes, and that’s precisely what happened here when Prince Sky ventured into the human world after Puck. I was completely entertained and especially on edge when Sky got a drinking lesson from a smarmy stranger.
The One or Two Things I Maybe Didn’t Like:
Okay, I have to say that I didn’t like it when there was some sort of cheating going on. I didn’t like it one bit, not even a little. I don’t always mind cheating in books, and here it fulfilled a story purpose, but I was extremely enraged on behalf of Puck.
Puck’s reaction to the mugging was a little…not right to me. I’m not sure why.
Also, baseball. It’s not that it didn’t fit the story, but I personally think it’s the most boring game on the planet, and this is coming from someone who lived near Pittsburgh where team sports are a religion—Pirates, Penguins, and Steelers—they’re practically the Pittsburgh trinity. I still hate baseball with a passion. I’ve sat through one too many disappointing Pirates games I guess. I just don’t understand how Prince Sky could get that into something that makes me want to do anything else, including peel off my own fingernails, rather than sit there and watch it.
Amy. ‘Nuff said. Didn’t like her one bit, though I’d say she was exceptionally good for the plot. It was a little cheesy though, especially her easy escape. I do hope that it’s a set up for the next book, however.
All in all, I loved this little book.
This is the face I made while reading it, especially the sexy bits.
I will be reading it again, and I’ll most likely be fighting off the urge to download “The Trouble with Elves” (also by Woodson) until December. I’ve been growing somewhat apathetic about writing my reviews, I’m not sure why, maybe a combo of “real life” weighing on me and seasonal shifts with less light and such…but, this book was so good I was compelled to take time away from my NaNoWriMo month to not only read it, but review it as well.
I sincerely hope Woodson continues to write, and I hope they’re longer books.
Check out my book The Shape of Honey. M/M Werewolf Romance
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Yulian Volkov is an entrepreneur and lone werewolf who hates the city. At a pack meeting, he learns the only member he’s attracted to is being expelled for crimes unspecified. Yulian strikes a deal with the pack leader to allow Rolly Witten to live on his farm and work in his Meadery. Although enjoying handsome Rolly’s company, Yulian must tread carefully, since Rolly doesn’t trust him and the pack doesn’t acknowledge homosexuality exists. Meanwhile, Yulian stealthily courts Rolly by teaching him the value of his wolf side.
Rolly, who’s known he was gay since he was a teen, has accepted a life of solitude—and a life of crime. He has no desire to relocate. Yet Yulian’s trust in his ability to do honest work builds his confidence. As life is settling well for them, Rolly learns a friend from his old pack had a crush on him, and he’s torn between returning his friend’s feelings or pursuing the budding relationship with Yulian. But that’s not their worst problem. Assassins are trying to take out both wolves, and they need to figure out who wants them dead or all the trust and happiness they’re building together won’t matter.