Book Reviews

The Ice King's Consort by Shannon West at Painted Hearts Publishing

Genre Gay / Fantasy / Elves/Fairies/Sidhe / Fairy Tales / Magic / Royalty/Nobility / Romance / Action/Adventure
Reviewed by ParisDude on 23-March-2021

Book Blurb

When a knock comes on the door one cold December night and a beautiful, but grim warrior offers a bag of elven gold in exchange for Pavel, a poor young man whose family is on the brink of disaster, his drunken father sells him away to the mysterious fae creatures of the Quendi forest. The Elves seem more ice than flesh and blood, and soon Pavel finds himself in a glittering, snow-filled world of fantasy, where the boundary between life and death is thinner than a breath and safety can be stolen away as quickly as a kiss.

Finding his way through court intrigue and the cold, haughty disregard of the Elven Ice King, Pavel soon faces an impossible challenge and has to use all his charm, his wit, his skill and even a little fairy magic to find out why the king wants him and what he expects Pavel to do.

Unforgettable characters, a battle with ogres and other fae creatures, a fairy's flute, a wizard's spell and a series of insane bargains--will Pavel survive in this realm long enough to find his happily ever after? The Ice King's Consort explores a fantasy world that delves into the magic of a winter's fairy tale to craft a timeless love story that seems modern and new.

 

Book Review

Judging by the length of this text, I rather expected a novella than a full-blown novel, but to my surprise—and relief—the sweep and depth of the story made for a satisfying read, even if it was a short one; I finished the book in one go.

 

The story is set in Russia, or to be more precise, in a small Siberian village somewhere near the Bering Sea. Pavel, a handsome young man, is living with his father and his younger brother close to the Quendi realm—the Quendi are notoriously beautiful but fickle and cold-hearted elves who guard their borders with ferocious and deathly determination. Pavel’s living conditions are very poor. He’s an apprentice to the local blacksmith and has to handle the everyday chores because his father, after the boy’s mother’s death, has taken to drinking. One day Lord Juul, a Quendi warrior, appears on the steps of their disheveled house and offers a purse of gold coins to buy Pavel. Before the young man can protest, his father has accepted, and Pavel is swept away on the warrior’s stag and abducted into the depths of the Quendi forest.

 

When they reach the Quendi’s royal ice palace, Pavel learns that he is meant to be wed to the young king. This seems astonishing as the monarch doesn’t seem to be overwhelmed with joy by this prospect. Yet Pavel doesn’t have much choice, even though he tries (and succeeds) in renegotiating the original bargain, claiming that he is able to wield magical powers. Indeed, his grandmother has taught him how to heal with herbs and how to play the panpipe he has inherited from her. Soon he finds out that although his claim was but a ploy to save his life and physical integrity, he does have magical powers—in the elven realm they seem to get stronger every day. Then he finds out why he has been abducted and destined to become the king’s consort: there’s a honor debt the king has to pay to another elven people, and Pavel is the bargain chip in that debt. Now he must find ways to escape this deathly trap. That he is slowly falling in love with his abductor Lord Juul—and the latter falling in love with him, too—doesn’t make things easier…

 

Snow-laden landscapes, frosty winds, ice poles, deep forests, legendary creatures such as elves, faeries, and ogres as well as the odd bit of magic—all the ingredients are there to make me happy, setting-wise. And Shannon West didn’t disappoint me. She powerfully built an improbable but authentic and credible world, then wove these ingredients together into a wonderful, exotic winter tale. The writing is straightforward, clear, and precise, so that I could feel the winter settle around me while I was reading, yet she cleverly uses that tone I fondly remember from good fairy tales. The characters are well created and described. Pavel is a really endearing young man, strong of will, outspoken and brave even when things look hopeless. He has a bright and warm-hearted soul, and despite his clumsiness, he manages not only to melt down his promised king’s initial cold-heartedness and disdain, but also to win Lord Juul’s respect and love. Their romance is cute and gets rather steamy toward the middle of the book; it is a perfect example of how the opposites-attract trope can work wonders when skilfully used.

 

Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the read; this was exactly what I needed in these troubled times. Battles without too much violence, misunderstandings, schemes that seemingly go wrong before leading to a Satisfying Happily Ever After… a short read, but one that left a genuine smile and a rosy shine on my face.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.

 

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 101 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 25-February-2021
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/Ice-Kings-Consort-Shannon-West-ebook/dp/B08WH7X5V6