Thursday, April 14, 2016

Eli Easton - The Lion and The Crow

In medieval England, duty is everything, personal honor is more valued than life itself, and homosexuality is not tolerated by the church or society.
Sir Christian Brandon was raised in a household where he was hated for his unusual beauty and for his parentage. Being smaller than his six brutish half-brothers, he learned to survive by using his wits and his gift for strategy, earning him the nickname the Crow.
Sir William Corbett, a large and fierce warrior known as the Lion, has pushed his unnatural desires down all his life. He’s determined to live up to his own ideal of a gallant knight. When he takes up a quest to rescue his sister from her abusive lord of a husband, he’s forced to enlist the help of Sir Christian. It’s a partnership that will test every strand of his moral fiber, and, eventually, his understanding of the meaning of duty, honor, and love.

Comment: I got this book for some reason but I can't really remember why... I supposed because of the idea of two men with different abilities, despite their warriors and social positions, coming together and falling in love...

Basically this story presents us William, a knight that wants help from someone important to go get his sister out of a marriage that has been dangerous for her. But the important lord he asks for help doesn't want to give him a group of men to forcibly get her sister and his nieces safely for he has personal reasons to wait to attack. Thinking he will put his own life at risk to safe his sister, William is surprised when the lord's younger son, Christian, offers his help and hides it under the pretense of gaining more battle experience, something his father accuses him of.
The journey to William's sister domain takes time and the two men find a lot in common and start to fall in love. But in such a prejudiced society and era, can they be happy forever?

This is a story written for a Goodreads group challenge or event, so like many other stories is meant to be novella size and feature a m/m romance story. Apparently it's one of the author's first books and, in a way, it kind of shows. I think the idea is quite appealing and with interesting details to explore, but the execution wasn't as vibrant as I expected and the end also seemed rather easy and without impact.

The story follows Christian, a man who has a lot to prove and is always on guard against his brothers, especially Malcolm. He wants to prove himself but he also wants to live in peace. The best moments in his life happened when he was away from home and when he showed he was very clever, thus the Crow nickname. He wants to help William not only because it will be weeks out of the house but also because he feels attracted to William.

William is a good man but he thinks his attraction to men isn't something he should feel and he tried his all life to fight against it. He appreciates Christian's beauty but considers him a reckless youth that might not help him much but after Christian's father accepted his proposal, he can't say no to bring Christian with him. So, they go together and in the journey there William recognizes there's more to meet the eye in Christian and he younger man even helps more than he ever thought. Eventually they give in to their attraction but William keeps thinking there's no future to them.

This allows us to have an idea about each guy's personality and state of mind and it's clear their future won't be as easy as it could be in contemporary times. I think the journey they did is a good place to develop a relationship but in reality that is all we get, a development. The end of the book is supposed to give us the solution to their issues and that's fine, but from the development to what happened goes a long way and I couldn't easily accept that HEA and how things panned out; it seems too easy, too perfect. Maybe if we had been given just the idea, like they talked about before, would have been better and more whimsical, to let us get our own conclusions. I think the author wanted to finish with a set idea but in my opinion this is one of those cases where less details would have suited more.

The rescue of William's sister is what propels things to end that way. Maybe it's my impression but after a certain point things felt rushed, not because they couldn't have been told with more words but because it felt like the author had an idea and wanted it done quickly. Perhaps it's one of the writer's techniques... I don't know, but it's what I saw in my personal perspective.
Another interesting detail related to the main characters and the plot development is how Christian feels at home because that is what makes the plot move along and he does have reasons to want a change. I liked knowing Christian's personality, he's probably my favorite character here, and he's very savvy in almost everything...his actions and values allow this book to have interesting details to look for.

The story, overall, isn't too bad like I said and some aspects were quite interesting, namely the journey and how slowly they fall in love. But then other things happen that didn't win me over as much. Still, this was a fast and easy story to read, I think I was done in a few hours, but in terms of execution, more work and setting up would have aided a lot.
It's an average story for me.
Grade: 6/10

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