I’m so bad! I lied. I promised to help you topple the world and, instead, I had so much fun reading a series that I was briefly brainwashed into happiness! So, let’s simmer on the revolution for this week and settle in with the secret to my brief titillation, because I am back with another review, this time of a whole series! And, seriously, read to the end where Lisette (the author herself) gives a fun anecdote in a short interview! [Haha, yes, I am cruel enough to be CRYPTIC! 😛 ]
So – to the point!
This one is a seriously SUPER-fun fantasy romance, with witty banter between a mouthy, grinning assassin named Runo who is unfazed by much of anything, and Queen Tamar who has to project an iron facade in order to keep a strong hold on her kingdom. Runo is constantly testing her and knocking her off-balance, and no one has EVER knocked her off-balance just for fun before. But she needs someone to mouth off to her, someone who’s not trying to kill her… um, cough, only he’s SUPPOSED to kill her because he’s an assassin sent to do just that. Alright, so she needs someone she can trust to mouth off to her and not obey her so she can actually be a real person around someone.
Here’s a tiny excerpt that I think is pretty indicative of a lot of the enjoyable banter in the book:
“I’ve never been assassinated before. How do these things come about? Am I allowed any last wishes, or do you just slit my throat and disappear into the night again?”
Amusement flickered in his eyes. “Depending on what the last wish is, I may allow you one. Not really according to protocol, I will admit, but I tend to be relatively accommodating with these things.”
The characters are so entertaining, and there’s nothing graphic or too dark to ruin any reader’s enjoyment. There is a lot of focus on the romance, which I uber-enjoyed, but there’s not any of that over-describing his abs and her full, pouty lips, etc., on every page (uuuugh, when they do that I’m just like come oooooon haha), just enough to give the reader the picture and then Lisette [the author] runs with it to many fun places :-D. The plot is entertaining, too, although I read books more for the characters, and those I LOVED in this. I did think Runo was slightly too obsessed with making Tamar humble herself, but she didn’t seem too fussed with doing it, so I wasn’t, either, lol 😀 Whatever floats (or sinks) your boat, Queen!
There’s nothing too graphic in here, either, to discourage more sensitive readers. Runo the lovable scoundrel’s somewhat gruesome history is glossed over in enough detail for the imagination to fill in, but not so much that it will put anyone off. There’s also enough emotional depth here to satisfy without overloading the senses with too much. That is, you won’t be overwrought with overdone emotion or angst, but it’s uplifting instead and Lisette strikes just enough tension to keep you wanting to turn the page and root for both characters to find their way (and soon!). I think it also strikes the perfect balance with regard to being both realistic enough not to jar by making you suspend disbelief, but also not veering too close to reality to remind you of it – in other words, a perfect escape!
I would seriously recommend this to anyone who loves romance with a very teensy tiny touch of darkness (but likes more fun stuff than darkness).
And, lol, here’s the book 🙂
Now for the next book in the series – dun dun dun… Silver!
Okay, so this second book was totally as fun as the first! So much so that I took the iPad intending to turn it off, and I had Silver open, and over three hours later, standing in front of the bathroom sink, I finished the book. There’s an addictive quality to these things! Of course, Runo’s in fine form so that could have a lot to do with it! haha 🙂 If you read the first book, Iron, I recommend this 100%!
I’m super-happy that both Tamar and Runo kept communication open in this (I despise relationship drama that separates characters just because they didn’t sit down and talk, so I was happy that Tamar and Runo both communicate!).
I did cringe at one point when he said she was being ridiculous (because her late husband Anzor had also said that to her), but I did LOVE what Runo was trying to do in that scene (if he did it a bit clumsily with his choice of wording there!) and that he didn’t let her! She would have been so wrecked if he’d let her do what she thought she had to do.
Another reviewer called Runo a cinnamon roll and he totally is, and deliciously sexy and freakishly funny 🙂 I kept giggling so much throughout the book. The first conversation between him and Jaghar was top-notch. In fact, his conversations with everyone were pretty perfect. And the knitting club! ROFL priceless.
And cough the sexytimes with Tamar were hot.
If you haven’t read Iron, do it now and then read this one 😀
Aaaand – again dun dun dun! Here comes the third and final book in the series:
So I did NOT expect to like this–no, LOVE this–as much as I did! I even teared up at one scene near the end of it, y’all, and I hardly ever tear up at books! I seriously LOVED this so much! Hands-down this is the best book of the series, which kept getting better and better, btw. The banter, the teasing, the interactions with pretty much every character in the book were spot-on, super-fun, or tense, or simply interesting!
Like, even the minor ones. I REALLY wanted (want?) Kaarina to stay at Redwood and discover what Runo liked so much about it! I think that would be so fascinating, although I’m guessing she returned home, since she wasn’t mentioned at the wedding at the end and Runo was getting his ‘I smell death’ vibes around her, but maybe Lisette Marshall will surprise us with more of her (or her story!) later.
I also absolutely LOVED how everyone was trying to save Runo at this one part (look at me trying not to be spoilery haha); it was so freaking hilarious 😀 And Terenti – I was impressed by how he’s pretty steady and sturdy as a character, and a pretty staunch ally (not that he isn’t also flawed, but his decision at the end before he walked out really warmed my heart because it was what I was expecting of him, and he didn’t disappoint). Amiran was never really a favorite of mine (haha, I’ve always been expecting him to betray Tamar :-D), but in the denouement, I so totally wanted to cheer when he showed up, and his every action / word in that scene was perfect. And I mostly kinda sorta trust him now? lol
And when Tamar (somewhere in the middle of the book) finally decided to do what I’d been wanting her to do THE WHOLE BOOK, I like did a hop, skip, and a jump around the flat (alright, so I do this normally just because I get hyper – manic? – but when Viviette wrote Tamar that letter and Tamar is like LIGHTBULB [or ‘candle’ since they don’t have electricity?], I was like YES (fist-pump). Whoo hoo!)
As you can tell, I can’t recommend this entire series enough, really! Read it! It’s escapist literature at its best – with emotion, a very faint touch of darkness, a lot of tension, steaminess, banter (so much banter! And witty & fun, too!), fantastic characters that are so, so easy to love, and a truly wholesome (well, erm cough if you take out the lover activities on the throne haahahahaha) happy-end that left me grinning like crazy. So much recommended, y’all! Peace out!
So there you go, me being all excited over a series 😀 In any case here is the link to Gold –>
Aaaand guess what? *happy dance* Here I have a tiny interview with Lisette for you! [Bolded text are me; non-bolded are her answers]
So let’s jump right in 🙂 What’s your favorite aspect of the series?
In Queen & Assassin, definitely the banter! (And the steam… but mostly the banter.)
I’m a sucker for quality banter in general. In my very humble option, love and healthy relationships have everything to do with respecting each other and seeing each other as equal. So it’s very important to me to show that the main characters are equally matched even if there’s an objective strength or power difference between them.
In most of my books that happens through banter and discussions. For example, with Queen & Assassin, Tamar can talk Runo out of killing her even when he’s stronger, and Runo can talk Tamar out of going full Iron Queen on him even when she has that power. Sharp wit is a excellent equalizer.
Sometimes I don’t have a lot of banter inspiration… On those days I’ll just annoy my writer friends (S.L. Prater in particular) until they fight back, and we’ll throw stupid insults at each other until the writing juices start flowing again 😂 It’s a very fruitful kind of cooperation.
Ooh, gimme ALL THE BANTER! I loved the banter between them so much. It really popped off the page! And I also second the healthy relationships having to do with respecting each other, and I especially love the heck out of it when main characters work together.
S.L. Prater? I just read her Of Heists & Hexes! Based on that, I can imagine she would be excellent at throwing insults right back at ya 😛
So, onward! My fave question that I always ask: is there a particular song that encompasses the atmosphere of the series for you?
I mostly listen to instrumental music while writing (lots of film scores!) But I make an exception for Your Heart Is As Black As Night (the Melody Gardot version), because it’s just so sexy! And the lyrics… when I was working out the plot for Iron, they were a great help to create that half-tempted, half-conflicted atmosphere 😊
Oh, wow, so is it weird that I am totally imagining Tamar and Runo dancing to that? You know, sweeping across the throne room, at night, in the moonlight, embraced inside some sweeping tango or similar? They would both enjoy the freak out of that, I bet! [and of course Jaghar would be spying from the wings for a while before shrugging and hopping off to dance with Viviette on some flagstoned terrace :-D]
Alrighty, so what was the funnest scene to write, and why?
The entire second half of Gold… is that cheating? I loved tying up all those loose ends and showing how both Tamar and Runo fully come into their own. Also, Runo insulting his way to victory was so much fun to plot and brainstorm.
But if I have to pick a single scene, it would be the one where Runo is trying not to escape the castle. I love those moments in books and movies where an unlikely cast of allies is coming together to get something done, and this was probably the strongest example of that in the series.
“is that cheating?” – it’s totally not cheating since I wrote the questions so I make the rules and I deem it ACCEPTABLE! Honestly I enjoyed those parts probably the most, too, because Tamar was finally like “I’m gonna do this!” And I was all like “Whoo hoo! Go for it!”
“it would be the one where Runo is trying not to escape the castle” – Yesssss, I mentioned this in my review above, too! So much funs!
Anyway, off I go again. Does your boyfriend ever read your books and what’s the funniest thing he’s said about them / or the funniest way he reacted?
He doesn’t read my books (fantasy romance isn’t really his cup of tea), but I do try to explain my plots to him sometimes. For Iron, that went as follows…
Me: “So he’s supposed to kill her…”
Him: “But he’s bad at his job?”
Me: “Well, he gets distracted.”
Him: “Right, so he’s bad at the job.”
Me: “She’s naked.”
Him: “Ahhh, distracted 😏”
Me: “And then there’s a third person who wants to kill both of them, so they have to work together, and at the end…”
Him: “They have a threesome?”
… and now whenever I’m grumbling about a plot I can’t figure out, his helpful suggestion is “have you considered adding a threesome?”
(So far I never have, but who knows!)
Oh, noooo, loool, that is definitely an idea, though 😛 I also read some writing advice ages ago that said if you have writers’ block, add ninjas 😀 I wonder if your boyfriend would approve? 😀
Blah, I ramble! So, to close, do you want to share a snippet from one of the books?
I’ve got a preview of Iron up on my website! It’s from the start of probably my favourite chapter in the entire book 😊 –> https://lisettemarshall.com/preview-iron/
YES, that was such a fun scene! She’s all like “I’m in control” [she’s not really in control, readers ;-)]
I must resist the urge to read it again…
Aaah, I resisted (barely)! Thank you for taking the time to answer these! Do you want to share any social coordinates for anyone who wants to follow you into further book adventures?
My instagram is most active (@authorlisettemarshall), and my website is http://www.lisettemarshall.com
Thankee! And there you have it, folks! Now go thou forth and read and maybe be brainwashed briefly with happiness! 🙂