Review: The Court of Mortals – A.J. Lancaster
by A.J. Lancaster
Series: Stariel #3
Also in this series: The Lord of Stariel
Publisher: Camberion Press
Publication Date: January 18th, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
I received an advance review copy of this book from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Marrying your fae prince shouldn’t be this hard.
Hetta’s family now know Wyn’s true identity, but that doesn’t mean they approve of their relationship. Princes are all very well - but Wyn’s not human, for all he’s spent ten years pretending to be.
With gossip spreading like wildfire, Hetta and Wyn receive a royal summons. The Queen of Prydein has heard the rumours of fae intruders, and she's not letting Wyn go until she's satisfied he and his people aren’t a threat. Convincing her would be a lot easier if someone wasn’t trying to blacken Wyn’s name - and if his sister wasn’t trying to kill him.
For mortal politics aren’t the only problem the pair have to face. The Court of Ten Thousand Spires is still without a ruler, and the only way out may be for Wyn to assume the throne himself - meaning he and Hetta can never be together.
OK, first off, another gorgeous cover. Also, have I mentioned how much I love this series? The best way to categorize it would be a cozy alternate universe historical fantasy with a strong romantic element – which is a giant mouthful of words to describe but utterly charming in practice. I idly thought I’d read a few chapters of the last book before starting this one, and ended up reading the entire series back to back over a few wonderful holiday vacation days. (These books, by the way, were a perfect antidote for holiday family insanity, because, well, Aunt Sybil, Catsmere, and Rakken can certainly make me appropriately grateful for minor family drama.) If you haven’t read anything in this series yet, I highly suggest you go check out The Lord of Stariel as there are spoilers for both of the first two books in this review.
Because so many things happen in this book! The ramifications of Wyn’s father’s death are still unknown, as he hasn’t heard anything from his siblings in the Spires. On a closer to home note, Wyn’s secret identity is, well, definitely not that much a secret any longer, to the family or to the North, and rumors have reached even the Queen. Hetta is summoned to Meridon, so off she goes along with Wyn (and some family chaperones). It ends up being more of a family outing than expected, though, as siblings (from both sides) converge in Meridon.
“What did you do with the knowledge that you could never truly return to a place you’d once called home? More than mere miles separated her from her old life, now.”
Watching Hetta return to Meridon, where she first escaped from her father and made a life for herself, was both entertaining and bittersweet. A large portion of this book is about personal growth and coming into themselves for both Hetta and Wyn as individuals and in their relationship. Hetta’s back in Meridon not as mostly anonymous member of a theater company, but as Lord Valstar, and her conduct (and Wyn’s) could lead to smooth sailing for them, or, at worst, a war. If going “home” for Hetta is hard, it’s an even harder concept for Wyn. Is home the Court of Ten Thousand Spires? Or is it FallingStar? Is home, for either of them, even a place anymore? Because despite everything else going on (the suspicious-of-the-fae Queen, the fate of ThousandSpires’ throne, not-attraction to a certain fae, attempted murder), the core is about finally settling the question of Hetta and Wyn’s relationship once and for all. It’s at times endearing, frustrating, and hilarious, but it’s a delightfully fun ride.
“Hetta stopped in the middle of the footpath, not sure whether she wanted to laugh or set fire to the fae princess.”
Of course, we get lots of all our favorite crazy secondary characters, including my favorite sibling, Marius. Honestly, though, I’m not sure if Hetta’s family or Wyn’s fae siblings win the award for craziest family, and that’s saying something. We also get a little bit more about the mystery of Wyn’s mother’s disappearance (I have a CRAZY fan theory) and fae politics, which I’m hoping are covered more in the next book, especially as this one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger.
Overall, this is another delightful entry in the series and I can’t wait for the next one!