Then a friend poses an idea just ridiculous enough to work: enter the Tournament of Losers, where every seventy-five years, peasants compete for the chance to marry into the noble and royal houses. All competitors are given a stipend to live on for the duration of the tournament—funds enough to cover his father's debt.
All he has to do is win the first few rounds, collect his stipend, and then it's back to trying to live a quiet life…
Comment: I got interested in this book because I've rad somewhere it had a romance with people in different social classes and I'm always very interested in seeing how an author can, convincingly, portray the development of such a relationship.
I'm very glad I was more than proved right in this hopeful reading!
This is the story of Rath, a man who lives in poverty but tries his best to get by and help his mother, especially when his father, someone who can't hold a job nor stay out of debts, always manages to make things worse for them. The story starts when Rath is told his father has yet another debt to be paid and Rath, knowing he needs to pay it otherwise the collector may cause harm to his mother, enters the Tournament of Losers, a traditional competition that will enable the winners in different levels to marry into aristocracy.
Rath knows his chances aren't great but the prize until a certain point is enough to cover the debt and once he has it, he can quit and all would be well again. But once in the game, Rath finds himself wanting to do well, to at least try...will Rath succeed?
This is not the first book I read by author Megan Derr but I was positively surprised by how much I really enjoyed reading this story! The other books I've read by her were interesting, she has a unique voice and I did like the tone and developments of her plots. I think this might be an m/m author to pay attention to.
This book can be described as one sweet gem, one you can keep forever as a hidden treasure and that every time you want to feel special, you read it and the world will seem a more positive one. This is such a sweet story, it's a romance but the focus is actually the characters themselves and not the fact they are in love or something. The path Rath takes to pay his father's debt starts very innocently and he isn't even the most endearing character ever, but in this society, things are much easier than in the real world. I like how we could understand the world building and the settings without having characters telling everything all the time nor having countless descriptions of every detail. But the little things provided a lot of subtle information and that really helped in realizing how special Rath was among all those people.
What I liked best in the story was how Rath, despite his background and humble origins, could overcome many tasks with honor and a smile and become the person he could be with deserved happiness at the end. Yes, it feels like any fairytale plot we might have heard about and this was precisely what endeared the story to me! Life doesn't have to be hard and bleak and negative all the time. For the time I spent with this book, I was smiling and feeling there is beauty around us and people can be good even if they don't have good people around them and when you do good deeds or try your best, you can win the things you'd wish for, even if in out fantasies that include a prince or a house or other things. I really liked feeling happy while going through Rath's adventures and how he managed to win his happiness not because he accomplished all the tasks in the tournament but because he was a good person and tried.
All in all, this was a great story, romantic, sweet, where the good guy wins everything and is worthy of it and I couldn't put the book down! It completely worked out for me!