★★★½ (rounded up because difference is solely due to my personal quirks)THE SHORT:
Intriguing mix of fantasy and paranormal set in medieval-like times. Very well-written, with fairly tight and descriptive prose and touches of lyrical phrasing. Recommended for those who like some naughty in their fantasy/paranormal stories.THE LONG:
The first book in the Captive Fates series, WARLOCK’S PAWN was an excellent introduction to NTM author, Tara Quan. The opening chapter deftly established the creative backstory and immediately drew me into Ms. Quan’s world of fey, warlocks and magick. A hallmark of an entertaining read, I was left wanting much more when I hit the last page.
The story revolves around Alia, one of the last fey of noble blood, and Duncan, the last warlock in the realm. Seemingly star-crossed lovers from rival kingdoms, they are in fact destined to save each other, beginning with Alia’s act for the future well-being of her people. This act sets in motion power plays and Machiavellian intrigue among and between the various characters on both sides which are slowly revealed in bits and pieces.
WARLOCK’S PAWN definitely includes some erotic scenes (and not just with the MCs). However, they were less graphic than I had expected and the BDSM elements rather light. Still, most readers should heed the content warning to determine their comfort level.
The ½-star difference to my rating is mainly due to the stark Madonna-whore trope, as well as the fact that I didn’t feel too warm and fuzzy about the male MC during most of the story. (Much is explained towards the end but by then, it was almost too late for me.) Also, I felt that certain points were either mentioned without follow-up or addressed superficially, especially in the latter portion of the story. I can easily see this book expanded so to accommodate more development of certain plot elements.
Despite my personal quibbles, WARLOCK’S PAWN was a fast and enjoyable read. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of Ms. Quan’s works, especially in this series.* My thanks to the author for kindly providing a copy for an objective review.