Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: The Last Emperor
AUTHOR: Kari Gregg
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 222 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 27, 2017
The tribes were his to lose…and theirs to regain.
History taught that rebels executed the imperial family, including young Prince Nika Marisek, and hid the bodies in an unmarked grave. History was wrong.
Decades later, yarn shop owner Nick Goode reclaimed his identity to see his long-dead family decently buried. He’ll do whatever he must to persuade elders who now rule the tribes…even offer to abdicate. Some, however, seek to capitalize on Nick’s survival. Who better to drag the tribes from corruption into freedoms the rebellion had promised if not the prince who became one of the peasantry in exile?
Arit hates politics. When Elder Benjic, his estranged sire, shows up with the celebrity prince to fulfill a pre-war mating pact, Arit refuses. He craves strength on strength, the challenge of an alpha mating another alpha. A damaged omega who knits won’t do. Arit will guide them on an adventure tour exploring their wolf instincts; that’s his job. But that’s all he’ll do.
Except Nick isn’t an omega. He isn’t damaged. And if he seduces Arit to win Benjic’s support, Nick won’t give up his throne, either. He’ll risk everything to realize the ideals of the rebellion…and end his fate as the tribes’ last emperor.
CONTENT WARNING: palace intrigues, mpreg themes, shifter knotting, and two stubborn alphas who must learn to work together to save an empire
Oh, this was so good; while the blurb had grabbed my attention right away, the story itself was so much better. 😀 The entire thing had kind of an Anastasia like feel to it, whether that was the author’s intention or not, and I just loved the historical overlay that gave to the story as I was reading.
Nick was such a great character; there are so many layers to him that I was expecting and he turned out to be much more devious and political savvy than I thought he’d be. Taking back the throne was never going to be an easy prospect whether he decided to keep it or follow through on his plan to abdicate and he was fully aware of that fact; his plans had plans and I never suspected any of it! Arit was a nice compliment to Nick; raised in the traditional shifter way, he brought a good balance to the more human way of thinking and doing things that Nick employed. The chemistry was fantastic between these two, as well; I just adored how Arit was determined to keep his distance while Nick kept moving himself closer. The combination of wolf and human interactions in regards to making mating overtures was a nice difference also and I enjoyed the fact that the characters embraced their furrier sides so readily.
The author also completely screwed with my expectations in regards to the ‘mating heats’ both men go through as well as the mating itself; instead of what I’m used to seeing in a ‘typical’ abo story, the heats here serve more as an indicator that someone compatible as a potential mate is nearby. While the heats do ramp up lust to a decent degree, there is no guarantee of mating and it isn’t uncommon for someone to completely walk away instead of giving into their physical urges. It was all very interesting and nicely done here. There was more in the way of biting involved with the mating in this book, however, so if that bothers you, you have been warned. Personally I didn’t mind it at all. 😀 There are also brief mentions of mpreg but no actual mpreg within the story so if that’s a turn off for you, it isn’t an issue you have to worry about with this story.
I think my only complaints about the book are that there 1: wasn’t more in the way of political intrigue and 2: there won’t be a sequel! I loved this from start to finish; the beginning was an extremely powerful was to grab my initial attention and the book ended on a good note looking towards a happier, hopeful future. I’m super bummed there’s no sequel planned though because there’s so much that could be built on from this story! Maybe if I cross my fingers and hope really hard the author will revisit this universe in the future.