…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
During New Author Spotlight Week, we challenged our review team each to pick an author they’ve never read (“new-to-me”) from the list of those first-time-published in 2013, and read/review their book…
How far will a good man go to save his home and loved ones?
Lord James Dupree must recover his family’s stolen Luck, the elven talisman that has protected the Dupree lands for generations. Without the talisman, the Dupree vineyards are failing and creditors are closing in. The Luck is his only hope of saving his home and his family from poverty and ruin.
Despite his abhorrence of slavery, James wins an elven slave in a game of cards. The slave, Loren, provides the only chance to enter the Lands Between and recover the stolen Luck. Despite James’s assurances and best intentions, Loren does not trust his new master and James finds it all too easy to slip into the role of slave master when Loren defies him.
As the two work together through hardship and danger, James finds himself falling in love with Loren. And when a hidden enemy moves against them, he must choose between his responsibility to his family and his own soul.
I am so not the right reader for this book that I am pulling the MNY card instead of fumbling with a rating that gives me a multiple personality disorder. So there. Joker!
I gave this book a try because it is fantasy with a quest, and I happen to find both entertaining. I didn’t like it because both are underdeveloped and only written as foils for the romance, which I happened to find boring, which in turn tainted my perspective in grumpy gray.
The author writes nice descriptions, but the world building is minimalist; so much so that one could say that it’s a standard historical romance dressed in fantasy outfits. You’ll be left unsatisfied if you’re thrilled with richly built, entertaining worlds, but you’ll still have a chance to love it if you’re crazy about noble lords fighting against Misfortune and despicable villains while falling in love with their apparently-subdued-yet-spirited servant. It’s the stuff many diverting stories have been made of, after all.
I’ll sum up the characterisation and the quest plot line with this profound statement though : good people are good, bad people are bad. The slave situation or anything remotely close to be stressful is developed just enough to highlight how good good people are and how bad … You get it. As for tension, one MC spends the whole story in self-loathing, the other MC in mutinous sulking, both ruffling each others’ feathers in distressing for them, yet boring for me arguments. The quest as well as the romance turned out being a long guilty trip.
It was dull.
However, the conflict revolves more around the slave dilemma than the Great Miscommunication : both MCs will not give in to their feelings because you can’t consent if you can’t deny. It’s true that James treats Loren well, but he still keeps him as a slave to serve his purpose. Does even the most noble reason and good treatments justify deliberately depriving someone of his freedom? Oh my. A hint of complexity…
Okay then. Dull to my liking in the execution, but not stupid in the conception. Also, the writing flows quite smoothly, and the story is not plagued by purple prose, syrupy sap or over-the-top drama. Those are unredeemable for me.
While I can’t rate my own enjoyment above 2,5 stars, it is also clear that “The Stolen Luck” can be a pleasant 3,5-starred “in-betweener” for readers who like their romance to be sweet and in the forefront, and will be pleased to meet this new author.