Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Review: Red Rope of Fate by K.M. Shea

Red Rope of Fate by K.M. Shea
Series: Nope
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
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In the epic stories falling in love is often described as a beautiful, wonderful experience. Tari finds it to be life threatening, embarrassing, and nothing but heartache.

When Tari, an elf, is selected to be bound to Captain Arion, a human military officer, in a ceremony designed to promote friendship between their countries it is discovered that the two can communicate with each other in spite of the language barrier. Not everyone is supportive of the change Tari and Arion symbolize, so in addition to attending evening teas and royal luncheons Tari and Arion dodge kidnapping attempts and blackmail plots crafted by powerful political figures.

In spite of the court intrigue, Tari is dumbfounded when she realizes she has fallen in love with Arion, who has the emotional capabilities of a rock. As both human and elf society dictate that an elf and a human can never be together, Tari must conceal her feelings. Unfortunately the taciturn Arion is watchful and attentive to Tari’s well being, constantly pushing her to her limits with his loyalty, friendship, and dreadfully informal habit of touching her.

If Tari and Arion survive, their tumultuous relationship will either strengthen their countries’ alliance, or cripple the human courts of nobility. The deciding factor will be Arion, and his indecipherable feelings for Tari.

"I'm dreadfully sorry, Captain Arion, but it has been a long night; I am not as intelligent as I normally am, and this sounds potentially embarrassing. Can you please explain in more than a single sentence?"

I'll admit that for as much as I love the more rough-and-tumble, going on quests, fighting epic wars and saving the world in my fantasy books, there's a not so small part of me that will also always love the fantasy romance. There's something about those stories that makes the girl in me come out and I just adore the fluff, humor and drama that comes with fantasy romance.

This book is exactly that.

At the back of her mind, Tari's bond with Arion burned steadily. Tari felt it, reached for it, and savagely yanked on it when she stopped next to Eric. (Across the room, Arion stumbled unaccountably.)

This book takes the different races falling in love that I adore so much in a fantasy romance book and adds the expected 'opposites attracting'.

Tari is a Lesser Elf. She's strong and brave, but she's also got a very good sense of humor and isn't particularly good at keeping quite. Arion is…well:

"Of course I would fall for Captain Emotionally Constipated. I could train a rock to hold more affection for me."

That's the human love interest in a nutshell. Personally, I think he's great, but he does fall into that 'stoic male fighter' from romances a little too well. Though he does have some wonderful moments.

There is, surprising me a bit, a plot beyond human and elf fall in love. Though don't be distracted, if you're not here for the wonderfully convoluted romance between Tari and Arion, there's only one other thing I can say.

The supporting cast is brilliant!

"Good boy," Seer Ringali said, patting the top of Arion's head with the fan.

I really like everyone we get to deal with in the story - even a couple of the characters that were the 'villains' of the story. The only one I didn't love was the human Queen, but that's okay because we never even hear her talk.

While everyone was great, it was the human King Petyrr and the elven King Celrin that stole my heart.

It was King Petyrr, storming the room with a bright smile, askew hat, and his usual procession. Today, trailing behind him were: four courtiers, six guards, two assistants carrying quills, a footman, and one fat, orange tabby cat that sat on the King's shoulders.

They can't communicate too well, thanks to the human/elf language barrier, so most of their conversations are through translators - though occasionally in the universal sign language - but these two men have a very strong, solid friendship that I wish I could find more often in stories with royals.

"Anyone who wants to ship one of you two off will have to deal directly with me. And King Celrin - and he's got a mean right hook."

The only real complain I've got is that they were a little too quick to put the name of love to Tari and Arion's affection for me. Also, there were a couple of minor spelling/grammar flubs that I noticed. Nothing major - and easy mistakes to make - but they were there and a editor wouldn't be amiss.

"I am courting you. I have been for quite some time."