Servant for the Present (The Secret Art of Failure #3)

Author: H.B. Kurtzwilde

Publisher: Loose Id

Rating: 4 stars

Buy Links: LId and Amazon

Type: Novel in a Series

Received from Publisher


Blurb: As the Servitors strive to end their hellish Time of Waiting, they must choose what is to come for themselves and their students.

Gun-slinging monk Kourt Crowe, is a master of secrets, including Assassination, Hunt, and Trigger; he’s also a fan of rock music, a gourmand, and an accomplished gardener–not to mention being a sexy alien shape-shifter, who loves sex in all its forms. His student and lover Kato Giavanni, self-described five-star hottie, is a badass hacker and psychic spy on a journey of sexual self-discovery.

Once again stand together to protect their Fellowship. With their love stronger than ever, a bond tempered by pleasure and pain forming the foundation of their defenses, they are prepared to defeat any enemy. But with the youngest generation of their College to watch over, and threats from within the Fellowship itself, they seemed destined once more to fail.

Though they have no hope of success, they gather their brothers in a new kind of battle: restoring peace to the Fellowship itself. By reviving long-lost arts and seeking out knowledge long assumed lost, they themselves threaten the very peace they hope to create. They unsettle the compromises that have crippled the traditions of their Fellowship. But in this moment of chaos, the opportunity arises to forge a family that is intended to endure–but it has to begin with them.


Review:  Kourt Crowe and Kato Giavanni are still at Telluraca, right where we left them at the end of the last installment. Really, you need to read previous installments before this book. Some of the other Fighting Lizards are visiting and Kato, “Vanni,” Giavanni is delivering a lecture on his findings of the Sage relics housed in the library. They’re made from the Sages themselves. After studying them at length Vanni understands how to become a Sage and does. Interestingly, he doesn’t really know how to function as a Sage. He’s an all powerful tool with no user’s manual. An incident involving a Sourcerer of Frakrir requires all the Fighting Lizards return to Trine Ria. When there Kourt and Vanni do their best to attend to the college’s initiates and prepare to move them on to the next phase of their learning. Kourt and Vanni’s attempts to bring back even the most basic traditions to Trine Ria are met with either confusion or anger.

Kourt and Vanni manage to become even closer and their relationship continues to develop. Vanni is finally able to admit to his desires as well as develop an understanding of what Kourt wants in a partner. As things come together for them in their personal life they also begin to come together in their college. Both Artur and D’Arcy are doing well. Sarafel on the other hand is not. Sarafel is a raving lunatic and drug addict. The scary thing is learning how many people believe her and her crazy prophecy. Vanni can clearly disprove the prophecy, but reversing the damage years of belief has caused is going to prove harder to do.

This series is complex. Don’t try to pick it up at book three, it’s confusing enough starting with book one. Vanni becoming a Sage isn’t the only thing from book two that had to happen and did. Artur makes a lot more sense, now. Becoming a Sage also helped Vanni make more sense of Sarafel. There is a sense that as goes Sarafel so goes the Fellowship. All the Servitors have been stuck in a Time of Waiting. The Fellowship will have a restoration of its greatness, or at least to what it was in the past. Things in the Fellowship began to deteriorate when Sarafel did. Sarafel may be on the road to getting better and the Fellowship may also be on the road to getting better. Correlation is not causation, but it may be Sarafel that needs something restored and Vanni the Sage may be the one to do it.

Kourt and Vanni have made their vows of Chastity. This was a very long time coming for them. Vanni had to first understand who he was and the true meaning of Chastity. As is usual for them, along the way Kourt and Vanni manage to go about the process in their own old fashioned way. I’m really curious about what’s going to happen with them. Kourt’s Crecarian biology has been mentioned several times, Vanni doesn’t really know how to use his Sage powers, and we still don’t know what the promise from the Telsma the restoration of the Fellowship will be, “like Jenner,” means.

I love this series, although this particular installment didn’t pull me quite as fast down into a rabbit hole as did the previous one. I think a lot of that has to do with understanding what is going on and no longer finding it all so mysterious. I would definitely recommend this series to all science fiction fans and to anyone who loves to read complex world building into which they can fully immerse themselves.

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