"My family is dinner theater at its worst. "
Sebastian Orwell already has a small history with Prince Turren from when they were children and brawled over a book of all things, but he can't resist saving the Prince from death when he finds hims injured and dying. Not wanting to be recognized or associated with his heroics, he dumps the recovering Prince off at the local tavern, dusts his hands off at the whole ordeal, and calls it a day. Or so he thinks. Because Prince Turren knows enough to go by to find Sebastian - and from there we get hilarity, weird families, obsession with books, an enemy people come together to fight, and of course a sweet love story.
First, Sebastian is awesome. He hides behind a cloak from the world and has since childhood. It's a magically conceived cloak hiding just one of his many secrets. He's a sarcastic loner who finds joy in books and has the dream of opening up his own bookstore. He's cursed with a truly weird, hilarious family that thankfully makes up a large amount of the book. Oh, how I loved that strange gang of misfits and troublemakers! At first they were annoying and I sort of resented them, but trust me when I say that they grow on you.
Prince Turren is also awesome. He does a steady, determined pursuit of the reluctant and seemingly off-hands Sebastian. His personality is playful, fun, and annoying (in a good way.)
From sarcastic fighting to awkward blushing, to funny overheard conversations and morbid family members, this book was hard to put down. Arsten's writing style rocks too, especially with dialogue and making well-rounded characters come alive. There's definitely steamy scenes that are as endearing as they are awkward. The love story between the two isn't even describable.
Definitely one of my top five favorite romances, although the romance in the book took a back-burner some of the time for the family's antics and the bigger picture. The world-building is complex and stylish with all sorts of commonplace magic floating around.
I will say I found the big reveal of his secret under the cloak to the prince to be anti-climactic though. Still more than worth a read for fans of this stuff.