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Prequel to A Most Unusual Wedding
Gerald Smithson, master leathersmith, has ample reason to distrust mages. He doesn’t take their commissions and steers clear of them wherever possible. When Lord Leo Harris tries to hire him, Gerald sends the mage packing. Unfortunately, the simple act of Leo entering his shop brings Gerald to the attention of a Dark mage who kidnaps him as a chance to get to Leo. Now Leo must not only rescue Gerald, but find a way to win his heart. It will be an unusual courtship, to say the least.
1st Edition published by Torquere Press, 2012.
I was quite intrigued with the blurb of Griffis’ upcoming novel, A Most Unusual Wedding (I can’t get enough of new urban fantasy series to read) … so when I saw the prequel being offered for FREE, I immediately pre-ordered it. I only found out later that this story was first published back in 2012 by a different publisher. Now, I didn’t read the first edition, so I have no idea if there is any significant revision for this 2nd edition. However, since the pages seem to be the same, I will assume that it is basically the same story.
Anyway, if the story is meant to introduce us to key players of the upcoming novel, I felt that it lacked ‘important’ information, especially regarding the background of these characters. Gerald is a master leathersmith who dislikes and distrusts mages and refuses to serve them as customers. WHY? We never know because “Gerald had no intention of revealing how gullible he’d been as a new shop owner nor of his horrific interactions with mages even before that.”
In the middle of the story, Gerald is kidnapped by a Dark Mage who seems to have a reason for revenge against Leo. How come? What happened between Leo and this dark mage? There was a clue of them being lovers before but we never really understood why things went south. Then why does Leo need to order the bands for protection of the royal family. Is there danger that looms over the royalty? Why is Leo responsible for providing it?
There are so many information gaps which failed to satisfy me as a reader. I did like the setting – the time period is not specifically mentioned, but I felt that this might be an alternate universe that combined royalty and the modern world. Much like an alternate European kingdom, so to speak. In this universe, union between the same gender is absolutely acceptable, which reduced the possible drama stemming from homophobia/bigotry.
I still give this short story 3-stars because I have hope that the universe will be deeply explored in the novel. I mean, I did find Gerald and Leo to be likeable characters – I have a weakness when it comes to grumpy characters and I thought Gerald fit this profile to a “T”. Leo was pretty charming and if only we got more pages of him, it would be fun to read about him courting Gerald. In anyway, I thought it would be nice to read about their upcoming wedding. Oh, and I was also very smitten with Gerald’s eighty-three year old grandfather who was such a hoot (he was adamant to be a matchmaker for Gerald!) and definitely would love to read about him again.
Bottom line … if you are already interested in the novel, you can try to read this one. It is free on the publisher’s site, so you have nothing to lose (Amazon lists it as $ 0.99 though). But, if you want to skip it altogether and just wait for the novel, I think it will also be okay.