Thursday, September 30, 2021

Megan Derr - The Heart of the Lost Star

Kamir is on the verge of losing everything. Knowing full well he can't meet the ultimatum his parents have issued, he instead finally puts in motion his plans to live completely independent of them. His plans are interrupted, however, by the unexpected return of his despised ex-husband—and thrown even further into upheaval when he ends up comforting the man he's secretly loved for years.
Jader may not know where he comes from, but he knows where he belongs and what he wants—until he helps rescue some stranded Bentan travelers, one of whom look almost exactly like Jader, throwing his life and everything he thought he knew into tumult. Scared and overwhelmed, Jader flees—and lands unexpectedly in the arms of a man he's always seen, but never really noticed.

Comment: This is the third installment in the Tales of the High Court series by Megan Derr. I have loved the first book, liked the second and this one, although still not as marvelous as the first, still felt like a good story.

In this story we focus on Jader, the new High Commandment of the military, after the one in charge before one retired in the previous book. Now Jader has more responsibilities but things become even more complicated when a rescue reveals people from Bantan, who seem to recognize him. Jader had been rescued as a child, from a shipwreck and having lost his memory, he grew up an Islander with no idea of his origins. At the same time, he suddenly becomes friend with Lord Kamir, someone not very well liked by others at court. However, their relationship seems to thrive and the absence to solve his past should be short enough to allow them to become something more. The problem is all the situations that arise in the meantime and which cause problems between them and between their friends...will they be able to have a life in common?

I liked this book in general but I must say that this didn't feel as well structured as the first, which was the one I liked best. I would say the characters, although engaging and captivating, didn't have the kind of relationship the first couple had and that, to me, seemed to be a little more romantically done. Despite this, I liked knowing Lord Kamir more than Jader, who didn't seem to be as interesting.

If there is one aspect of these books that I find very well done is the whole world building on how the society works, how there are different regions and people and how they all interact and even respect each other for the most part. The author has created a world where there are different people, and the gender identity is something that people chose when they form their self, not something imposed by society. Perhaps this means in some moments things are a little too complicated,but for the most part, I found this to be a good detail for the stories.

Lord Kamir, as I've said, was the protagonist I liked best because he is described as shy, quiet, humble... features I tend to like seeing depicted. He has had issues in his life, worries regarding an ex who now only seems to cause him stress and he has two young children, twins in fact, whom he cares about and wants to see happy. I preferred the scenes/chapters with Kamir and the challenges he faced to the ones where Jader is key. As a couple they were ok enough but it felt as if their romance wasn't developed enough. 

Most of the time they are apart from one another and through letters they grow closer but I really think this wasn't enough to make me see them as the best possible couple. It's true the first couple (book I liked best) didn't interact much throughout the whole book but the dynamics between them felt more interesting for me. In the case of Jader and Kamir, a lot is based on a few intimate encounters, looks and mutual respect they could have shown anyone else. I wasn't too convinced they had to be a couple.

Kamir also has had bad luck in his past. I was eager to see him becoming someone more confident and in pretty much all aspects of his life this happened. However, the personal side, regarding the romance and relationship with Jader felt, as I've said, a little under developed. Nevertheless, his skills and fears were in par with the new challenges he faced and it was nice to see him react but learn and becoming someone better (in my POV).

Jader wasn't as special to me. He is the typical more confident element of the couple, has power and connections and despite the things we might see as flaws or things he needs to deal with, such as discovering his real identity and all that, were only steps he had to take but he didn't have to change. This element was mostly related to the romance, which I found could have been better.

All considered, this was fine, entertaining, perfect to let one's mind drift over fantasy scenarios, but in terms of plot and romance, I wish it could have been stronger.
Grade: 7/10

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