Tell us about The Painted Crown
The Painted Crown is the second story in the Unbreakable Soldiers story. It is set in the same world but from a new angle. The story focusses on Prince Istari, whom we briefly met in the first instalment. The Painted Crown is not a short story and I loved that it moves slowly and you see the characters grow.
What is the story about?
The Painted Crown can be read as a stand-alone, but it’s easier if you know the background started in the first story. Then it would be easier to understand why Prince Istari is a hostage in Tallideth. For Istari it’s just more of the same. People pretty much disliked and feared him in his own country, but they hate him in Tallideth even though it was none of his doing.
That changes when he meets Lord Teverem, a sad, quiet noble with a core of steel and a shadowy past. He comes with three little surprises and suddenly there is a lot more at stake than just his lonely existence as a hostage and being hate.
What ensues is a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat has you wanting to wrap them all up in a big hug and even has you laughing on occasion. Oh, and then there is the lovely tensions between Istari and Teverem that just about melts your screen.
What are your thoughts on The Painted Crown?
I liked this story a lot. It started of pretty dark and I was afraid it would stay that way. While this is definitely not a happy go lucky story, it picks up and there is a balance between the drama and angst, action and adventure and romance. Though I did though that Istari and Teverem should be locked in a closet together until they communicated together rather than talked to.
What I also liked about this story, but also the author’s writing in general, is the diversity in character’s sexuality. A lot of authors in the genre tend to make most characters (or secondary characters) gay. While Teverem and Istari are gay, they are not your standard issue gay. I believe the term is demi-sexual but I might be wrong. And Istari is pan-sexual on top of that. But I’ve never been one for labels (I always get them wrong) but I do like the diversity.
The story itself focusses on a lot of angles in the world of Belemere and Tallideth. There is a lot of world building with different cultures and I thought it was well integrated into the story.
How is the writing?
As always, the writing by this author fits the story. It’s solid, descriptive and flowing. She gives the characters their own voice in the story.
How do you rate the story?
With four stars