Gawain Unbound by Rebecca York

Gawain Unbound by Rebecca York
Unbound 2
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Erotic Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

When Killian returned alive after an enchanted captivity, his younger brother Prince Gawain was more than happy to step aside as heir to the throne of Abercarn. Now, though, Gawain is at loose ends — until Lady Catrin seduces him and secures his agreement to stalk Madrin, the evil magician who enchanted Killian and killed her father.

Posing as troubadours, the two battle adversity together and find that they are connected by more than their hatred of Madrin. Yet despite their growing longing for a life together, neither of them is willing to abandon their dangerous quest. Their confrontation with their powerful and wily enemy will be the ultimate test of their resolve and their love.

Heroes unite in the name of facing down a dark magician. Their disguise – traveling troubadours making their way through the region. What could go wrong?

On first glance at this book, without reading the synopsis or knowing anything besides the title and what the cover looked like, my first thought was ‘medieval’. Given the name of the main character (Gawain), I went into the book expecting something inspired by the King Arthur myth but that wasn’t the case. The book has a similar vibe and setting, but any inspirations drawn from that legend are loose at best. Gawain, our hero, is searching for his purpose in life after handing the heir to the throne position back to his brother following his return from magical captivity. When he encounters Lady Catrin, the physical tension is electric, and they make an agreement to take out the evil magician Madrin together. A task easier said than done, however, because there are a lot of obstacles in the way of securing their happily ever after ending (especially if they want one together).

I really enjoyed the way the story was structured. The author shows readers the world through Gawain and Catrin’s travels, and it was cool to get to see the region that way. It’s always fun to see heroes go undercover, especially when they pick a disguise of someone that is traditionally overlooked by those in positions of power. I also appreciated that the author chose to make them troubadours (an underutilized role in books) instead of something stereotypical like a servant or a handmaiden.

The sex scenes, unfortunately, were where the author lost me as a reader. As Gawain puts it, they went from conversation to fucking in a blink of an eye (translate that to less than 20 pages into the book). I can get behind characters jumping into bed together fairly quickly, but there was no set up or development to explain what was happening before it did happen. After that first encounter, I wasn’t really invested in their relationship and that negatively impacted my reading experience.

For those who might be curious, this is the second book in the Unbound series. There are some pieces of context and character backgrounds that you’ll get by reading the first book, Killian Unbound, but if you want to read this one first you shouldn’t have too many issues.

Overall, Gawain Unbound was a fairly enjoyable read. There were some minor issues, but the plot was enough to keep me engaged. If you’re looking for a quick (less than 150 page) romantic fantasy tale filled with action and adventure, this would be a good choice.

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