King of Diamonds by K.M. Penemue

King of Diamonds by K.M. Penemue
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical
Length: Short Story (42 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Rhen makes his living two ways: performing card tricks for passing crowds, and thievery. Every four years, Vis-a-Vis, a four day festival, celebrates life and happiness, where all classes can be equal behind their masks. It’s a prime opportunity for thieves, but Rhen’s plans change when Lelan, his former lover, says they need to talk.

Though still feeling bitter with Lelan for leaving him, Rhen agrees, because if there’s one thing he’s good at, it’s playing the odds.

Sometimes love doesn’t work out the first time around. Maybe a second try will make things turn out differently this time.

The dialogue often made me chuckle. I enjoyed seeing what quips the main characters would come up with next as some of them were pretty clever. My favorite scenes in this tale were the ones that showed these exchanges between Rhen and Lelan. They were a lot of fun to read and also gave me valuable glimpses into their personalities and romantic history.

Unfortunately, the chemistry between Lelan and Rhen never felt right to me. They didn’t seem to particularly like each other as friends anymore, so it was hard for me to imagine how they’d work out if they decided to get back together. While I liked them a lot as individuals and definitely wanted both of them to be happy, it was hard for me to imagine how they’d find that happiness together because of this. It would have been helpful to have more information what about their relationship was like before they broke up so I could have had a better sense of what they’d originally seen in each other.

Festivals are magical for many reasons. Not only do they provide a break from our daily routines, they give people a chance to do things and go places that they wouldn’t normally think about trying. There was a lot of magic to be found in the Vis-a-Vis festival. The food and drinks sold there sounded nearly as amazing as all of the sights and sounds the characters experienced during those four days. I really liked the scenes that described what it would be like to be there because of how many of the senses the narrator used to describe what takes place during it.

I’d recommend King of Diamonds to anyone who really enjoys romantic fantasy stories.

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