Author: Megan Derr
Title: Love Tokens
Genre: High Fantasy
Rating: Four Petals
On the Author's Website:
Chanda is the Lord of Honey Flower House, which caters to those who have a taste for the paranormal between the sheets. Being an incubus makes him all the better at the job, even if it also leaves him lonely.
Then a demon appears on his doorstep in search of a missing person, and Chanda is quickly reminded why he prefers the relatively quiet life as master of a pleasure house—but is also reminded of a bitter past he's tried to leave behind and dreams he gave up on a long time ago.
I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This story was originally published in LT3's Halloween Rentboys collection, but this is my first time reading it. Chanda runs a prostitution house where those interested in the paranormal can find the best night of their lives. As an incubus, the work fits with Chandra well, however he can't help wanting a little more than just sex. Then a demon appears on Chandra's doorstep and his careful life is immediately thrown into disarray.
Derr has two ways of telling stories. Her longer stories are rich in detail and plot, circling around drama and love until finally coming to a perfect conclusion. Her short stories generally lack detail and depth, but have a sweetness to them that I can't help enjoying. Love Tokens is a perfect example of Derr's short story style. Chandra's life and his interactions with Azar the demon made me smile. The focus was entirely on their story, with just a hint of a missing betrothed and other demons to give their relationship a touch more flare. Because of their relationship, I started the book smiling and I finished it smiling, which was a wonderful way to spend my afternoon.
That said, there is clearly a world outside of Chandra and Azar's relationship. The few glimpses I got showed that there are different societies of humans and magical creatures, kingdoms, and strange magic all around Chandra. The small glimpse was enough to settle this short story into the world and therefore provide it some much needed depth, but this story really needed more to push it to the next level. It felt like a short story set in the world of a longer book rather than a stand alone story.
This story fit perfectly into Derr's usual short story writing style. It had a wonderful plot focused on the romance, but it lacked description in the world building. Overall I definitely enjoyed reading it and therefore absolutely recommend it.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.