A King Undone by Cooper Davis

A King Undone by Cooper Davis
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical
Length: Full Length (340 pages)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Lilac

Sometimes you have to risk everything, to follow your heart

“Noble Pleasures, Book 1”

In a world where gentlemen openly court and marry fellow noblemen, the threat of scandal still lurks behind every velvet drape for kings and princes. Such has been the fate for King Arend Tollemach, forced to sacrifice his heart on the altar of regal duty.

Now that his wife is dead and his royal obligations are at an end, he s ready to take an unthinkable risk. King Arend seeks a concubine from Temple Sapphor, a secretive, gated world where he will finally shed his virginity as least as it pertains to making love to a man.

Julian never thought he d spend ten years on the temple shelf, passed over again and again. Just when he despairs of ever finding placement in a nobleman s bed, Arend walks into the temple. A lonely eyed, beautiful king who could easily steal his heart.

Arend discovers he has no problem opening his bed to the exquisite concubine. The problem lies in finding the key to his long-shuttered heart.

An inexperienced kind gets his first male concubine, and the sensuality and passion alone here could burn half the world to ashes. But when emotions enter into it….

We get both King Arend and concubine Julian’s POVs. Of the two, Arend is more interesting than Julian. Arend is a good king, though he’s been forced to follow his father’s orders and marry a woman to sire heirs. With his wife dead and his son of age, he’s finally free to act out some of his own desires and follow his own dreams. With Julian, Arend comes off as shy and vulnerable, exposed as inexperienced, and that gave an interesting character dynamic between the two men, as the man with all the power has the least experience. Still, Arend is not as strong as he could be as a man or as a king, letting almost everyone walk all over him and make decisions for him. With a father figure, that’s understandable; the rest, less so. Nonetheless, his progress was interesting to watch.

Julian’s a concubine, taught in the ways of sex and sensuality, but he’s never been chosen by any nobleman. He’s getting older, and knows he doesn’t have much time to find someone to be with. Despite his status as basically a sex slave, he’s a romantic, dreaming of a forever kind of love. When Arend chooses him, Julian is a bit more giddy than I expected from a sex slave. Sitll, he’s smart and sweet and cute as a button. What’s not to love? His eagerness is endearing, like a puppy jumping up and down when noticed and pampered. In fact, of the two men, he’s the stronger one, more inclined to fight for what he wants, which is Arend. While at first I wanted to know more about Arend, later I preferred to learn about Julian.

The banter between the two men attracted me to the story right off the bat. It’s witty, charming, smart, and simply fun to read. I was engaged and immersed into the fantasy world mostly through dialogue, which seems appropriate for the time frame, well written, and clever. I liked it the best, I think. Well, after the sensuality. However… much of the dialogue shows the two men speaking about their situations in life, but these are left hanging in the air at the end, as this is the first in a series.

The world around them is left a bit hazy but hinted at being harsh and brutal, with a couple of fantasy elements, again only hinted at. Yet there are intriguing aspects too, as men are allowed to marry men. Well, not royalty who are expected to breed children. Apparently this is the first story in a trilogy, so I imagine any remaining questions I had or you might have will be answered in the future. Be warned: This ends in a cliffhanger. Well, perhaps it’s better to say that a lot is left unclear and unresolved, the political situation especially. Enter at your own peril.

There was a problem, though. Since the set-up is a virgin king with an experienced concubine, I expected to be taught along the way. Yet Arend jumps right off the deep end, going for blowjobs and anal sex without much preamble, teaching, or patience. The insta-love kind of threw me considering the length of the book. I knew the connection would be passionate, but first times should include patience and be done slow. The practical lessons weren’t really there, so that sort of drew me out of the story, as it felt more like two experienced lovers coming together rather than a teacher with his virginal pupil. Sure, Arend has to psych himself up for the intimate scenes, but he still goes straight for the gold, so to speak.

Also, the one year contract between Arend and Julian is designed to be sex only, no emotions. Yet Arend breaks the rules immediately, publicly courting a man who is already his, taking him to parties and dinners, and so forth. It seemed like the contract was a mere formality, easily broken. Again, took me out of the story a bit. I thought the two men, one a virgin who has lost a love and the other passed off too many times, would be hesitant in baring their hearts. But both jumped right in.

Overall, I recommend this book to those who like Victorian historicals and beautiful M/M relationships that take time to mature, sensuality described and shown with lovely visuals and rather purple prose, and a delicious set-up that’s tantalizing enough to whet out appetites for the next book.

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