Book: The Pedlar and the Bandit King
Series: Scarlet and the White Wolf #1
Author: Kirby Crow
Publisher: Torque Press
Genre: M/M Epic Fantasy
Heat: very mild
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
There was an innocence to this book that I didn’t expect going in. This may be that I’m jaded from reading a lot of m/m literature, both original and back in the old days of fanfiction. But I did find this an enjoyable story, perhaps in part because of the innocence and naivety of the main character, Scarlet.
What made me give this four stars is really the characters, Scarlet and Liall. I like contrasts, and there is a huge contrast between the slighter, dark-haired young man who wants to deny any sexual feelings whatsoever, and the large, loud, and very open warrior Liall. The interplay between these two basically carried the plot. I loved how stubborn both could be, in their own ways. There was just enough world building and superstition and magic to ground the story into fantasy, but really the story is about the cat and mouse play between the two men.
I think my only disappointment with the book is that it ended just as things were getting interesting. Yes, I’m going to get the next book, so I’ll see where things go from there. I expect that the secondary plot of Liall’s past will come much more into focus, with their relationship dropping into more of a subplot. I tend to like al little more heat in my books, but if the fantasy plot is compelling enough, I can live with that.
I smiled at some of the names from Livejournal at the end of the book in the Acknowledgements, because I recognized a few friendly faces there. Ah, the good old days of fanfiction.