The Mercenary by Annabelle Kitch

The Mercenary by Annabelle Kitch
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (42 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Pidge is a mercenary: uncouth, poor, far from the type of beautiful woman the royal court would deem appropriate company for Princess Trina, her childhood friend and lover. Life is easier, even kinder in many ways, on the road and in run-down towns where nobody cares about anything but how well she wields her sword and if she can pay for her drinks.

But when she learns that Trina has been trapped in an unwanted engagement, Pidge is determined to save her. According to the rules of the Church of Tamren, whoever returns the holy relics long ago stolen by the Kimbrar has the right to take the hand of any member of the royal house. Provided she can first slay the vicious beast that most say doesn’t even exist.

Every quest has to begin somewhere. Luckily Pidge knows exactly where to begin with this one.

Pidge was such a likeable main character. I was especially intrigued by her response to all of the people in her life who didn’t believe in her. She was by far the most well developed person in this story. Her flaws and strengths affected her quest in ways that I didn’t always see coming. The fact that they mattered so much over the course of the plot makes me want to read more from Ms. Kitch. This was my first introduction to her work, and I’m impressed!

There were a few minor pacing issues about halfway through this tale. Some flashbacks of Pidge’s childhood were included in order to explain how she met Trina and came to live in the castle. While I enjoyed these glimpses into the past, I would have preferred to learn about them much earlier on in the plot. They shared important information that I wished I would have known sooner.

Ms. Kitch doesn’t reveal Pidge’s mission right away. Dancing around the topic was an effective way to build my interest in the subject due to all of the tantalizing clues that appeared in conversations. Some of the most important characters were mentioned by name long before I knew who they were or how they’d affect the ending. This was a good choice given how much plot development occurred through the use of dialogue.

I’d recommend The Mercenary to fans of fantasy and romance novels alike.

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