A King Undone, Cooper Davis
A King Undone, Cooper Davis
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
Well – in my usual haste to get reading I missed the all important “book one” and was expecting a complete story. By three quarters through though it was clear the problems were still mounting up, and there’d be no resolution in this book and that’s when I went back and checked to see of there was more to come…doh – I’ve done this enough times that I should have learned…still.
Its a book that leaves me with mixed feelings. I found much to enjoy, the gentle unfolding of feelings, some witty banter at times, and a few great characters but…a lot of the dialogue felt stilted and awkward to me. Then again its a kind of historical novel, though in a different reality to ours, and it feel the same to me as when I read books set in 15-16th century UK and for that the dialogue works. They do go in for long speech type conversations too, which doesn’t really work that well for me, I felt at times “come on, stop waffling and get to the point!”. However Arend and Julian I loved as people and felt for them, I enjoyed too the tight-ar sed secretary Alistair, and of course the kings cousin Sam and his wife. Some terrific characters and sharp funny lines, albeit interspersed with lengthy and protracted conversations. Sometimes the gems almost got missed as I was skimming yet another long winded speech…..
Arend was in love with another prince as a teen, but forced to end his engagement to marry and get an heir. Now the witch of a wife who made his life hell is dead, his beloved son has married a prince from another region and Arend wants to take a concubine. He chooses Jules from a temple who train men for that purpose, and embarks on a year long contract detailing No Emotions, nothing of that sort to be expected. He wants to guard his heart after the heartbreak of Darien, his beloved from his youth. Darien died not long after and it feels like Arend is still grieving, he’s had and got some good friends, but keeps his heart close and doesn’t want to subject himself to anything that may touch it. Yeah – that always works….Jules is a lovely man, betrayed by his brother and sold to the temple his background is unknown, but its clear he’s not some farm worker or casual labourer, but from a very different upbringing. He’s not telling though – its one part of himself he can control. I really liked both of these characters and wanted things to work out.
To begin with there’s a real push/pull and much to learn about each other, and its clear Arend is struggling to stay unemotional, and Jules is one that gives his heart without being able to stop himself. His presence with the King though isn’t welcomed by everyone, there’s trouble from one of the staff which make his start there problematic, and then Arend’s secretary comes with unpleasant news from the Lords and his Council. They’ve set an ultimatum. They were already unhappy at the Prince marrying a man and are demanding Arend remarry – to a woman of course, and provide another heir. There’s his cousin Sam who is in line of succession and who’s married to a lovely lady but so far they’ve not had children though its only been three years. Sam has a great wit and made me laugh.
What troubled me about this book and stopped a higher rating: the long winded dialogue which became speeches at times. The way that homosexuality was open with places such as the Temple providing training grounds, and yet the insistence of a royal heir and the lengths the Council were provided to take to ensure the correct bloodlines – barbaric to be honest and the two things combined didn’t go well together for me. Still, political extremes and control does make for good reading, and provided an excellent bit of potential heartbreak. Its a typical example now I think of it of how sexual behaviours have been viewed through history – there’s always the “do what you want but keep it undercover “ element…In this case though homosexuality is not only everyday, but men ( and presumably ladies too) are allowed same sex marriage. Should the King be exempt from the freedoms allowed his subjects? I’d just have thought there’s be some kind of provision or that Arend would have expected the views of his Council. It seemed at odds with the general freedoms everyone has. I really wanted Arend to sya “up yours” to his council and throw in some new law to protect himself and Jules but…anyway there’s ore to come and a long way to go before they’re home and safe together.
I think for me this would have been a great read as a tightened up one off novel, but doesn’t have enough to carry it into a series/trio of books. Its got so much good going for it, a great storyline and lots of heartbreak possibilities – and I do love that! sadly though its all lost to me in a sea of long speeches and explanations and I just got switched off at times. As ever though this is just my opinion and others will love the gentle way the story unfolds. Its a good read just for me not a great one.
Stars: Three and a half, its got lots I could enjoy, lots of potential but just too slow for a higher rating from me. I don’t think I’ll continue with the next books…but who knows.
I LOVE the cover!
ARC supplied via author