Reviewed by Dan
TITLE: The Dented Crown
AUTHOR: J.V. Speyer
PUBLISHER: Loose iD
LENGTH: 247 Pages
RELEASE DATE: September 11, 2017
Two kingdoms. Two princes. One secret to break them, or to bind them.
When a rowboat washes up on the riverbank, Prince Malires puts his kingdom’s security first. The dead man lying in the boat can’t answer many questions, but the seriously injured survivor might be able to give Malires some details about what happened in the hostile kingdom to the north. If, that is, the young man ever wakes up.
Malires knows who the survivor is: Prince Aleric, youngest son of the King of Gerelen. He’s the most renowned warrior that Gerelen has ever known, and Malires has barely survived their previous encounters. Only his need to understand why Gerelen suddenly stopped communicating with the outside world keeps him from taking advantage of the situation and taking out this threat to his kingdom.
It has nothing to do with the sudden discovery of how beautiful Aleric is.
Unfortunately for Malires, when Aleric does awaken he has no memory of who he is or even of his own kingdom. The court physicians insist that Aleric’s memories must return naturally, or else they might be lost forever.
While both men recognize the urgent need for answers, they cannot fight their attraction for one another. Aleric comes to feel just as defensive of Malires’ kingdom as he once did of his own. When the truth comes out, will love conquer all, or will misunderstanding and pride drive Aleric to a desperate undertaking?
When I first read the blurb for this book (I think in an email from Queer Sci-Fi) I had a feeling of déjà vu. Had I read this book before? Or something similar? It finally popped into that swiss cheese I call a brain. Although the story is vastly different…the two warring princes, one with a hidden identity story line was reminiscent of The Captive Prince series by another author. Not that this was the same story in any way, but it was reminiscent. In this one, we have a warrior prince named Aleric, who has somehow escaped some sort of magical attack in his homeland. He is now in the neighboring kingdom where he has been found wounded and floating alongside a dead man in a small boat.
I’m going to keep this one honest. I read the book, it kept me entertained, and I finished it. But, that said, there were a few issues that I had along the way that have to be mentioned. Let me explain. My issues with the story began when this mystery man washes up in the boat. Malires, the prince of the country that Aleric has arrived in, knows exactly who Aleric is. In fact, most of the scars on Malires body came from wounds inflicted by Aleric. So, of course, when he discovers Aleric has total amnesia—but also discovers he is a total hottie with his helmet off—Malires lets him be treated by his sister the priestess, who of course Malires does not share Aleric’s true identity. The priestess of what exactly, is never really explained, but that is another issue. Not only does Aleric, now known as Sokol, recover, but he is then allowed to take over the temple guards. Really, your sworn enemy who has previously stuck you full of holes?
I also had a pretty big issue with the way the amnesia was dragged out through a fairly large portion of the book, with everyone saying they couldn’t tell Sokol/Aleric who he really was because that might cause him to lose his memory forever. I’m not really sure amnesia works that way, and it started to get a little annoying. And don’t get me started on the use of the word ‘member’ to describe his parts, or the way he described himself as a ‘big goofball’, totally out of context with the story.
So now that I’ve told you what I didn’t like, let me say that I did like the story overall. It kept me entertained as I said at the beginning of my review. I would definitely consider reading and reviewing other books by the author. In summary, this one didn’t work completely for me, but I suspended belief and just rolled with it. In my opinion, it was good/average on our rating scale.