Sebastian Orwell did the only thing a smart wizard could do when he stumbled upon the wounded Crown Prince: He healed him and dumped him in a tavern where he could continue not being Sebastian's problem. Unfortunately, the prince isn't content with being alive, and he hunts Sebastian down to thank him personally. Not only is Sebastian stuck with the prince's unwanted affections, but he's also confronted by growing evidence linking the assassination attempt to someone from his father's past.
Lord Orwell is a lot of things: thief, liar, drunk, and all-around horrible father, but Sebastian knows he's no murderer. In order to prove it, Sebastian has to keep the prince alive long enough to discover the truth - a task made considerably harder because the idiot prince prefers wooing Sebastian over securing his own survival. On top of everything, Sebastian needs to save the day without revealing his magical powers and the real reason he hides his appearance.
Sebastian had no intention of playing the hero, but whoever is stirring up shit in his country will pay for destroying his quiet life.
©2015 Sam Argent (P)2016 Dreamspinner Press
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"I am impressed."
For all that this is a high fantasy novel with Mages, Fey, Trolls, Wizards and more, and that this is also definitely a mystery to be unraveled, it's also got a very nice bit of romance as well.
Take one ornery wizard, add a headstrong Crown Prince with his own agenda, and a meddling family and you have the recipe for a thoroughly entertaining story. When you also add a seriously talented narrator to the mix it's practically magical!
I don't want to give anything away, part of it's charm for me was unraveling the many different plots, but you should know going into this that there is a really large cast of characters. Sometimes it was a bit confusing. The Orwell family alone is ten children, their spouses and children, and Lord and Lady Orwell to boot. The fact that Cornell Collins was able to give different character voices to each of the roles, as well as the other major players (the Prince, Queen and King, and other Mages and Wizards) was a minor miracle.
Let me just say - I am impressed. While I may have scratched my head at some of the accents, the fact that I could tell each character apart was a major, major feat.
The story is very interesting and engrossing, and the world building is fantastic. However, for me, the biggest surprise (and a really happy one at that!) was the love story between Sebastian and Prince Turren. Turren getting through all of Sebastian's prickly walls was thoroughly entertaining. I loved seeing the two of them together despite all the odds against them and getting to be a part of their HEA.
adventure, action, fun snappy dialogue as well as romance. I loved grouchy, snarky, good-hearted Sebastian and his insane family.. prince hero.. all rolled into one amazing book
SEBASTIAN...AND TURREN AND SOME SIBLINGS
"Not exactly what I was hoping for, but not too bad"
I think an important part of why I didn't enjoy this as much as I might have, is that I felt the narrator did not match this particular story, making it hard to get into his telling of it. This book is also extremely dialogue heavy with a lot of time and place jumps that were not given enough pause, so it was sometimes hard to notice when locations and characters had changed suddenly.
As for characters, I found that some of the Orwell siblings were a bit too close in their personalities, making most of the story endless bickering without discernible perspectives in said arguments. I found that their mothers were exceptionally interesting characters that I would have liked to know more about and oddly enough, I also wanted to know more about Kevin and his husband, Luke.
I did like Turren, though a stronger basis for his love of Sebastian other than childhood crush that never went away would have sold it a bit more for me. I liked the CONCEPT of Sebastian, but felt he could have done with a little more filling out in terms of character arch, emotional range, and explanation for his abilities.
Those are my criticisms, but it wasn't a bad read, I just felt it could have benefitted from a bit more range in terms of characters, description, and performance.
"Witty, charming fantasy"
I think this book may be a first novel of the author, and it is funny and fully of quirky characters. It is a little slow moving sometimes, and sometimes I struggled to understand what the characters are talking about (you have to pay attention to understand the subtle world-building), but the relationships between Sebastian and his family, Sebastian and Turren, and everyone's fast-paced dialogue make this book very enjoyable for me.
Liked the narrator very much--he adds a lot to the story, which is rich with witty dialogue. His characterizations make the story easy to follow.
One big disappointment: I read the book as an ebook, and I noticed that the audio book does not include the Prologue. This is a real problem, as the events in the Prologue are referenced several times in the book, and scenes in the prologue are the basis of Turren's attraction to Sebastian. Without the Prologue, you don't really get why Turren's gift of the book to Sebastion is so significant, because you don't know what happened to destroy the original book. I think it was a huge mistake to not include the Prologue.
Oh man, this is really a wonderful, and more importantly, unique story. Not like any fantasy book I have ever read. If you are a fan of the Nightrunner series, you will probably enjoy this. The Orwell family is a wonderful bunch of crazy, bordering on psychotic, people. There are 10 siblings and two crazy parents; a wizard and a fey. Sebastian is the youngest and hiding a secret curse; this is why he wears an enchanted hood. The siblings bickering is half the fun of this book in my opinion. It is witty and sarcastic dialogue and to an outsider it sounds like they loathe each other. However, when a threat to their family emerges, the reader experiences exactly how much they love each other and the lengths they will take to keep each other safe. Alongside this storyline is a really sweet enemies to lover romance between Sebastian and the Crown Prince. Their bickering is also very entertaining; especially during their first time having sex; so awkward. I also really enjoyed the Royal family, especially Queen Anne, the bad assed warrior wizard of the family; that was a really nice addition to the story. The story gives us a wonderful HEA and I hope there will be more with this crazy family.
The narrator does a really good job, although I thought his voice for 19 year old Sebastian seemed older than warranted. Also some of the voices blended together. But none of this took away from my enjoyment of this story.
"Fantasy with snark"
Loved the book, love the audio though having the PROLOGUE as part of the audio book might be a better idea (hence the docking of one star for overall).
Sebastian is such a wonderfully complex character... loyal to his family within reason but for an avowed hater of adventure he sure manages to stumble into them.
This is not your usual fantasy novel, however... forget lawful good characters though Imight at times have called the Prince (Turren) lawful stupid.... Here we have chaotic good/chaotic nuetral displayed in all their glory.
Enjoy, I sure did.
"Liked the book better"
The Adams Family. They are all very dissfuntional and powerful
This is a very youthful book and the narrator was very skilled I felt that he was not the right choice for this awesome story.
My first audio book. It was great. Why did it have to be 20 words? That's dumb.
"(: Wouldn't put it down"
I enjoyed every minute of this book and will listen to it again. Reminds me a bit of my own stupid but loveable family of characters. All the characters have big personality and I couldn't stop listening to this entertaining story. The narrator did well and I found his voice acting pleasant especially Sebastian'.
"(Not so) original mediocre fanfiction."
There is nothing really exceptional about this story. I made it through two hours before stopping because I really didn't want to spend ten hours of my life listening to a story that's the equivalent of a shrug. None of the characters stood out as particularly memorable or interesting (their character traits may very well have been chosen from a list of tropes), the pacing was abrupt, the settings changed constantly but were never truly fleshed out, and the story/universe was juvenile. I say it was like fanfiction because it felt like the author was writing a story about someone else's characters instead of her own. Even going in knowing it's a romance novel (which sets my standards pretty low), there was so little originality that it left very little impression.
"Great story, terrible narrator"
Yes I would read the author, but the narrator totally ruined this for me. I should have learned my lesson by now, never buy without listening to the sample first but I was so excited to see this book available I just checked it wasn't Matthew Lloyd Davis and clicked, only to find it was MLD by another name. Serves me right.
I loved Sebastian. He's very funny
This narrator is, and I appreciate, this is only my opinion, completely wrong for these types of books, he reads clearly, but it's like listening to Jackanory, yes, he'd be great with kids books but not this.
On audible it inspired me to switch it off after the first minute. I'm going to return it.
Listen before you buy, and don't forget narrators use more than one name!
"The story needs more work"
There are a number of issues that this book suffers from and the poor world building and number of very similar characters have to be the weakest points. This could have been better.
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