Canes and Scales

S.A. Garcia
Canes and Scales
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Dreamspinner Press
Release Date
July 2014
Fantasy Romance, LGBTQ

Serpent Prince Linden of Ardaul is determined to drag his barbaric, power-hungry country into the modern age by encouraging learning, advances in the sciences, and tolerance. His insane brother Edward, the King, delights in making him pay for his efforts.

Long years of watching his back, fighting wars, and solving conflicts started by his cruel brother have taken a toll on Linden's body and mind, and he needs a respite. When Linden meets an alluring young bed slave named Alasdaire, his weary heart responds. Alasdaire is an exotic mix of southern royal Totandian elf and human, and, although he's also suffered hardship most of his life, his loving personality captivates the Prince.

Despite their differences, Alasdaire—canes, and Linden—scales, unite in body and soul, but their romance is nearly shattered by betrayal. When Linden becomes King, magical assassins, treachery, and threats plague them. They narrowly escape death more than once. The lovers must discover who wants them dead and more importantly, where they can turn for aid. Neither enemies nor allies are what they seem. Only time will tell who means to harm Linden and Alasdaire—the elves, the imprisoned Edward, or something even deadlier—and time is one thing they don't have.

Book Review by Breann (reviewer)
Jul 22, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
149 people found the following review helpful
CANES AND SCALES is full of intrigue, traitorous plots, high fantasy, romance and even some steampunk elements. These are the makings of a fantastic story.

When Linden was first given Alasdaire as a bed slave, I was in heaven. This is one of my favorite M/M tropes. Royalty falling for the bratty and defiant slave boy? GIMME!

Linden and Alasdaire's relationship started as just a sexual one since Linden was Alasdaire's master. Although, I'm not sure Alasdaire was ever really a 'slave'. It wasn't a position he ever wanted nor did he ever fully succumb to the title. He's half elf, therefore he's not welcome in the elf community or the human one. He's an outcast on both sides. Linden was immediately attracted to Alasdaire and knew there was more to him than just being a slave.

Their relationship moved rather quickly given they were physical right away and they spent quite a bit of time together. But it was well done and I was sucked into their love story. I loved how they were equals to each other regardless of how the rest of the world viewed them.

Aside from the romance, both heroes have murderous plots against them. The two storylines were a little bit drawn out and made the story feel long and slow. Of course, it is a long book, but it should never feel that way to a reader and by the mid-point, I was feeling the length.

I'm very torn with my rating. On one hand, I loved the world-building and the clear writing style. With high fantasy it's very easy to get confused with the new vocabulary. But I was never lost or had to go back and reread. The writing and the romance were great. I so want to go with 4 stars, but I was too bored too many times.

There were all the makings of a fantastic story, and at times, it really was. Regardless of the slow moments, CANES AND SCALES is recommended to any fan of high fantasy romance.
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