Reviewed by Sarina
SERIES: The Marriage Groups #1
AUTHOR: Vicktor Alexander
PUBLISHER: The Rooster & Pig Publishing
LENGTH: 170 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 10, 2013
Elian Glinkobia is the youngest son of his family. Born on the planet, Kardalusia, he is the only breeder, the only coração, born to a family full of Kartusian warriors and soldiers. He was born with no other purpose than to be the coração of a marriage group, there to serve them in every manner that they needed. Or so he thinks. Attending his final marriage soiree, Elian believes that he will not be picked by any marriage group and is destined to live his life alone, or as a prostitute. He is beyond shocked to find out that he was chosen by the royal marriage group the year before. He is to be the coração, the heart, of the three kings, Nevin, Corbin, and Gaige.
However, things are not always as easy as they seem. Before Elian can even settle into his position as The Royal Coração, someone attempts to murder him. Placed under lock and key in the palace by his husbands, Elian begins to discover that the gods of the Kartusians gifted him with a lot more than he could have ever expected.
Will Elian’s special gifts come in handy when he needs them to save his husbands and their people, or was everyone right about his worthlessness?
After reading this book I did something I don’t usually do before starting a review; I sat for a couple of hours and just let myself process. I find myself, even several hours later, conflicted. There were parts of the story I liked yet there were other parts that didn’t work so well for me and while there are parts of the story that I can definitively place in one category or the other, I’m still struggling to quantify the book as a whole. That very rarely happens to me.
Let me start with the things that I liked. I don’t read poly books all that often, not because I don’t like them, but because I rarely find a blurb that interests me enough to pick it up. This one I liked. I liked the idea of the marriage groups and how they’re structured and the explanation of why this system came about was interesting. While I am personally not a huge fan of religion as a whole, I did appreciate the author’s unique approach in using it here, specifically the story of Sodom and Gomorrah; it was an interesting idea and worked for me. Each of the men had very distinct personalities and appearances and combined with their individual chapters, it was easy to get to know them all and to keep them all separate in my mind as I was reading. The sex between them was also varied, which was nice, and while there was a lot of it, it didn’t ever really feel overwhelming. Overall the story was easy to read and the way the chapters were structured made it easy to start and stop as necessary if unable to just read the book through.
Now for what I didn’t care for. The religious aspect of the book was a bit overbearing for me for the first third of the story; it kind of felt as though I were being smothered in it at times though I’m happy to say it evened out farther along. Things also moved along at odd intervals; the story would speed up and then slow down and pace normally for a while before speeding up again. There were some time skips that I do understand were necessary so as not to bog the story down with things that quickly could’ve become monotonous but I never really felt as though the pacing worked…it just felt off. The thing that bothered me most, however, was with the bonding of the marriage group itself.
You don’t get to see a lot of time outside of the bedroom while the men are getting to know one another and, as a result, the declarations of love between Elian and his husbands felt fake. I didn’t feel it, at all. Affection, sure, but love? No. Then there was Gaige. Poor, sweet Gaige. While I really liked his character and felt a lot could’ve been done with him, he felt like a last minute addition at times. You don’t get as many chapters from his point of view as you do all the other main characters and while Nevin and Corbin get one on one time with Elian, Gaige doesn’t. That was extremely disappointing and further solidified the feeling that he was a spare tire instead of one of the set.
There are a few things that might squick people out that I’ll mention here for the sake of being fully informed since they didn’t fall into my like or dislike scale in any noticeable way. There is one very mild instance of bdsm that didn’t even really blip my radar but there is also mpreg included with a birth scene. I don’t usually see that much and while I may not have cared for the manner of the birth, it didn’t bother me overmuch. Other people’s levels of tolerances vary, however.
Even with the list of problems I had with the book, I did enjoy the story as a whole, just not nearly as much as I thought I would and while things could be read as either a happy for now or a happily ever after, I’m content with where the book ended if the author never continues with the series. I honestly don’t know if I’ll read this one again…I’m still left feeling somewhat disappointed even hours later though most of that is due to the problems I had with the use of Gaige, I think. *shrugs* If you enjoy poly stories, don’t mind mpreg and are looking for something different, this could be something you’d enjoy. If you want something with more of an emotional connection or if the idea of mpreg gives you hives, however, I’d probably look for something else.
*In a final note, there is a free short story in this series (its labeled as #1.5) that features one of the secondary characters in Elian; I read it after initially finishing my review and enjoyed it quite a bit. While you’ll understand it a bit better if you read Elian first, if you would like a glimpse of this world before committing to a purchase you can find the story here.