Author: Elizabeth Silver & Jenny Urban
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Rating: 4 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Everyone in the Drion Collective knows that finding your match—the one person in existence with the same soul mark as yours—is the best thing that could ever happen. But the last thing Lord Anders Hawthorne is thinking about when he boards a ship to Drion for the king’s funeral is finding his soul mate.
Review: Lord Anders Hawthorne is at a low point in his life when he starts up an affair with sexy Captain Zachary O’Connell. The last thing Anders expected was for Zach to be his match, but the matching birthmarks don’t lie. Anders neglects to tell Zach about the match. He also neglects to tell Zach about some little details about his life. Like he’s not some minor noble he’s actually the crown prince on the way to his father’s funeral and his own coronation. Zach really isn’t interested in matching and certainly won’t ever bond if he does find his match. He makes that clear to everyone. Unsurprisingly he’s not pleased when he learns the truth about everything. He’s also not pleased there’s a plot to kill Anders and being publicly outed as the next king’s match is the most politically expedient way to handle the situation. Both their relationship and the political situation remain tempestuous as Anders and Zach attempt to figure out what they can and can’t live without.
I really hate Zach. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Don’t mistakenly think that means I’m Team Anders in any way. I didn’t really like either of these characters. Interestingly though, I couldn’t really put this book down. Since my first reading I’ve picked it up again and again and gone through it. Clearly, it satisfies something, but I don’t know what. But back to how much I hate Zach. Alphahole is probably the best term to describe him, however I dislike using a word that doesn’t feel quite derogatory enough. Zach was all d-bag all the time. I’m fine with that if there is a compelling reason. I’m quite fond of grey characters, but I couldn’t see a reason for Zach to be vaguely emotionally abusive to Anders on a regular basis. There were even hints of gaslighting. And Anders accepted it then went back for more. He not only accepted it and went back for more, he blamed himself for his abuse.
Now, in a moment where I make even my own head spin, I have to say it was pretty good writing if I hated Zach that much. Good writing makes me feel something. I certainly felt something when it came to Zach. I have distinct opinions about their relationship. I will remember their names. This book was engaging and filled with moments that made me sit up so I could yell, “Oh no he didn’t!” Zach was a fully fleshed out character. I think of him as a person. No matter what I think of the character I’m always impressed when they become real to me.
This book has shades of science fiction and aspects of military romance but more than anything I’d say this is a book about palace intrigue and politics. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of political mysteries, but also to people who don’t need to fall in love with the characters in a book to enjoy the book.