A beautifully crafted setting with complex character dynamics and layers of political intrigue… A showstopper.
Hunt’s ambitious standalone latest has everything—a well-imagined fantasy world, great characters, incredible tension, and fierce love. Sir Ezra, a mystical Elysian Bell, has always kept his love for the dark Queen a secret. When he comes to know about a sinister conspiracy involving the Queen’s murder, he wastes no time and brutally slaughters the Queen’s powerful husband and would-be killer, the Prince of Erle, and got banished from the land. Recalled to the Queendom after eleven years as his banishment gets overturned, Ezra arrives in the capitol and finds a nation in rebellion and the Queen to be an elusive phantom. His only friend, Sir Marigold, has no intention to let him stay in the capitol. But Ezra is determined to uncover the reason behind all the mysterious happenings, unaware of the impossible dangers awaiting him ahead. Hunt’s fantasy world is rich, detailed, and skillfully constructed, and there are plenty of first-rate action scenes. There is something undoubtedly refreshing about a form of magic that Hunt develops in his fantasy world; being an Elysian Bell means Ezra possesses a special ability that causes him to vibrate and ring when he experiences profound love or raging anger. Between the political complications in the Queendom, Ezra’s struggle with his Elysian Bell identity, marking him for a great destiny he never asked for, and the Queen’s elusiveness, the pages turn themselves. Those accustomed to the usual run of epic fantasy will find familiar elements: a relentless battle between good and evil, a troubled hero, who, despite his extraordinary abilities, is struggling against overwhelming odds, intimidating villains, astonishing magical elements, a love story that is genuine, painful, and beautiful among others. But Hunt’s skillful and layered characterization breathes new life into these elements. Juggling dozens of main characters and mini plotlines, Hunt manages to keep the momentum intact and the tension high. But the real genius here is the mixture of extraordinarily deep worldbuilding with relevant and complex themes, which include identity, intolerance, love, passion, friendship, integrity, honor and more. Hunt also focuses on how brutal realities of power struggle and politics can overpower a well-established system while examining the questions of good versus evil, trauma, regret, and redemption. Combined with Hunt’s excellent plot machinations and stellar prose, the book makes for a memorable read.
Bed of Rose and Thorns
Pub date June 7, 2022
Price $25.00 (USD) Paperback, $8.43 Kindle edition