The Last Grand Master by Andrew Gordon

First, the horribly truncated summary: An awesome god-chosen wizard and his warrior lover ride their unicorns to… umm… well, there is an evil wizard.

Typical unicorn mythology does not apply here. It makes me thankful because I would like to ride one myself. And, as established by friends/colleagues, I have no virtue left.

Well, I might have some, but the parts of me requiring the virtue for a unicorn moving right along…

*deep breath* I will try to rein in my snark on this one. I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, it frustrated me. There were great parts, but they were surrounded by action that went too quick on one side and useless scenes on the other.

We open the book on Farrell, Prince of Haven, levitating outside. The day might be peaceful, but the threat of an increasingly powerful wizard looms like a dark cloud over Farrell’s actions. While working, his god comes down to him in the form of an eagle and explains that his nemesis has attacked a distant village. His god also tells him that he will meet his soulmate in the village, so he best get going.

The following pages are a mad-dash rush. Before I’ve been given a chance to care about the characters, our lead is taken to the village by the Queen of the Unicorns, fights off minions with magic, saves a group of defenders, meets a handsome man among said defenders, and fights to enter the city. It isn’t until we get inside and have a chance to breathe that we get to know Farrell and his god-chosen lover, Miceral.

I liked their relationship. Farrell is this great wizard with a penchant for melodrama while Miceral is his strong warrior (non-human-ly strong – He’s Muchari – a mythical race believed to not exist). Because they both know that they are soulmates, their courtship is over before it began and they have to get used to each other instead. It’s almost like an arranged marriage. Also, most other people are accepting of the homosexual relationship, which is a refreshing change. The only person who complains is Miceral’s father, and those complaints don’t last long because arguing with wizards ends poorly.

They then evacuate Miceral’s village to thwart the evil wizard’s plans and move all inhabitants to Haven. Once in Haven, everyone changes alignment to get away from Qeynos and align themselves with Innoruuk because Dark Elves…

Too much Everquest. Sorry.

Anyway, the magical evacuation and thwarting of their opponent (a wizard named Meglar) was awesome, but after that, the book became boring. Considering we’re only at 25% of the book by this point, it’s disappointing. There’s training scenes, wedding planning, rides on unicorns… basically, no conflict until minions of the wizard show up again at 60%. Even after that point, we have a couple melodramatic chapters and one useless ride-on-unicorns segment. We never see Meglar and, by the time the final battle of the book happens, we need to be reminded of the stakes. I completely forgot that Meglar liked to turn people into monsters and use women for incubation. That’s not something I should forget.

It comes to this: A conflict-less wedding is not exciting (and shouldn’t be in a book’s middle) and if an evil wizard needs several months to recharge himself, he should be located and attacked during that interim. There were great parts of this book, but there needed to be an edit of the darlings.

Also, who puts the Queen of the Unicorns in a stable and abandons her?


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