Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Trading life on the road with a travelling acrobatic troupe for study at the Academy of Magic is the best choice Miko ever made. Practicing spells all day, followed by sensual evenings with willing bed-mates… All is close to perfection.
But when a small slip-up reveals that this charmed life is artificial, Miko is forced to look more closely at the Academy’s doings, with dangerous consequences. The Academy is not as harmless as it seems, and the sinister plot at its heart threatens the entire kingdom. Miko’s unusual talent for magic may be all that can prevent a vicious coup – and the rise of a fanatical new order.
The only person who can help Miko is Aya: temperamental, rash, stubborn – and captivating.
An easy life? Not in this century…
PLEASE NOTE that this book contains strong language and explicit scenes.
I am not going to be fair in my review, nuh-huh. After reading an anthology of short stories by Ted Chiang I believe it is impossible to read any other sci-fi or fantasy book and be impressed. Still I chose this one deliberately – as a palate cleanser. You know the drill: steamy sex scenes, a simple romance between two sorcerers, a coup threatening the whole kingdom. What not to like?
Ok, let’s try to be positive and fair for a moment or two. The romance thread between Miko and Aya was nicely done, at least in the first part of the book. He was a kind of school celebrity – a brilliant student and a great lay with a list (yes, a list!) of willing females waiting to have a go at him. She was a smart girl who had a hidden agenda of her own and wasn’t easily impressed.
Then the actual plot intervened. Even though I was nicely surprised that I recognized some characters from previous parts (Vaysita and Kai among them) my enjoyment went firmly downwards. I hated the fact that the reigning Queen had no other plan of action than to rely on her subjects, keep calm and hope for the best. The main baddie, the great Headmistress Sotariel could have been more three-dimensional and a tiny bit more complex. The ending could have avoided well-known clichés like the one showing the reconciliation with a dying parent or a hero all alone saving the day and the kingdom single-handedly (or close).
You see? I promised you no balance or fairness and I am true to my word. Still I have to say the cleanser worked as it should so I shouldn’t complain too much, right? Oh, and I love the cover – simple but pertinent.
A nice, uncomplicated erotica fantasy with a lot of sex scenes and sweet, sweet romance you will love. Or not. If you have a lazy summer afternoon before you and you want to end it with an upbeat this novel might do the trick. However if you are into brainier stuff do read Mr. Chiang.
Other books by Erica Dakin, reviewed by me so far: