Title: In Fine Form (Chronicles of Ylandre #6)
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Genre: fantasy, romance, mystery
Story rating: 5 out of 5
Smex-o-meter: 5+ out of 5
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Source: my own personal collection
Blurb: Guile is an asset in foreign relations, but an affliction when it comes to affairs of the heart. A bastard of unknown parentage, Yandro Vaidon was born saddled with a huge disadvantage. The nigh rigid class structure of the dual-gendered realm of Ylandre relegated him to the bottom rungs of the social ladder and promised a dim future. Worse, the endeavor to win respectability was arduous—most claimed it was impossible. But by dint of hard work, perseverance, and instances of plain good luck, Yandro rises higher than even he had hoped. However, he quickly learns there are hurdles to overcome even at these heights. Not least is his inconvenient attraction to a colleague deemed way beyond his reach.
Scion of House Essendri, the reigning dynasty of Ylandre, Jareth Hadrana is gifted with more than his fair share of beauty and wit. The kingdom’s preeminent ambassador, he has surpassed what is usually expected of a fief-lord’s second son. But while his high birth and family wealth opened doors for him, Jareth’s success stemmed from his own efforts to make something of himself other than the idle fop or swaggering rakehell that was the lot of many younger sons.
A coincidence of interest drew Jareth and Yandro to the same profession, but a king’s intervention throws them together in an association that soon turns into mutual desire. However, prejudices have largely kept the aristocratic True Bloods and lower-caste Half Bloods on opposite sides of the social and romantic divide. In addition, reticence born of distrust and a secret like no other hamper their attempts to span the chasm between them. It will take more than their shared passion to convince them to lower their protective walls and risk their hearts in full.
Review: Almost four years ago I reviewed the first book on Rarely Dusty Books and I spoke about why I was surprised I liked the first book so much. It’s still a much re-read book (at least twice a year). The books hit all my favourite buttons: fantasy that is just the right kind of complicated, alternate worlds and way of living, action, adventure, romance and hot man love. I especially love intricately constructed worlds.
Over the summer In Fine Form came out, the sixth book in the series and SQUEE! it was about Jareth and Yandro. They are two characters that have intrigued me right from the start. They are recurring characters in the series and we got snippets in the previous books.
Their story is an extensive one that is full of diplomatic angles, action, adventure and a hot smexy romance between Yandro and Jareth, two characters that are each other’s opposites, in character but also social standing. In fact Yandro’s story is a bit of a Cinderfella one.
The diplomatic angle of the plot is full of complicated conspiracy and diplomatic affairs that is a nice counter for the romance and the two balance well. The previous books were more balanced towards the romance and while that is okay too, it was nice to see the author is evolving in her writing and keeping the readers interested by not writing every book the same way.
The writing is exquisitely done. It fits the atmosphere of the book and gives it the right feeling. There is no question about reading a fantasy book. The author manages to make the reader feel by way of writing who the characters are: from royal to soldier to commoner. Everyone has their own voice and weight in the story (I especially loved reading how Yandro viewed Rohyr and Lassen).
The writing makes it so you are drawn into the story and you’re walking right there beside Jareth and Yandro.
The different plot angles and characters are expertly balanced in the book, giving the plot and easy flow.
I always love to find out who a character is by discovering it throughout the story, not by being told and the author knows just how to do that. Yandro is from poor descent and he worked his way up to where he is now. Because growing up was not easy for him, he had to fight for everything he ever wanted and it shows in his character. He had a sweet disposition – due to his emphatic skill – but he also has an iron core and can actually be quite strict. And woe anyone who stirs his temper!
Jareth is quite the opposite. An aristocrat, he is used to getting his way. While he works hard, he also expects much and his skill as a Templar helps him with that. He’s a bit of a rogue when it comes to his aides and he had many. They always fall for him and they never put up a fight or see Jareth for who he is. Jareth in turn never cared much for them because of it. However, in Yandro he’s met his match.
I think the only hang-up I had with this story was the epilogue. It was a nice chapter and I liked seeing where Jareth and Yandro went, but it skipped some of the essential scenes we would have loved to read about. Or maybe I just wanted more!
Why you should read it: I might not be the most objective when it comes to this story as I just really liked it. But that is a recommendation right there. Through all my reading I am hard to please, but this book – like all the books in the series – is a favourite re-read. That should tell you something right there.
If you want more then keep tuned. This week there will be an interview with the author!