Author: Logan Taylor
Title: Where Loyalties Lie
Genre: High Fantasy
Pairing: Poly, M/M/M
Rating: One Petal
On the Author's Website: The author does not appear to have a website.
When his homeland is conquered by invading barbarians, Nessir winds up not dead, but instead serving the new kings much as he once served his own. Though at first he is terrified of what they will do, across the palace and through the kingdom, Abaidas and Ophion swiftly begin to make improvements their predecessor neglected. And though a married man should be off limits, Nessir finds himself falling for Abaidas anyway—and is astonished when the interest proves to be mutual, and to learn that Ophion has no objections to Abaidas taking a lover.
But just as Nessir is settling into his strange, new life, he stumbles across an assassination plot—a plot he cannot speak of for fear of his sister's life, unless he can convey it in a way that will not get him caught. In an act of desperation, he throws himself at Ophion, and under guise of being lovers the two work to protect the man they both love. And all the while Nessir tries to ignore the growing wish that Ophion's affections were not merely a ruse...
I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
There are so many things wrong with this book, but I am cognizant of the fact that I was reading an ARC. I had to write this review based on what I was given, but I've attempted to tailor it because many of the issues I saw might be changed for the final version. For example, an editor should catch the dozens of spelling and grammar mistakes. Although, given that the author's biography both in the book and on the publisher's website is missing a word, I can't be entirely certain of that.
I thought the largest issue was the writing style itself. Taylor is constantly telling the reader what happened instead of fully fleshing out the scenes. When the invading army defeats Nessir's homeland and takes over, instead of writing about the struggles the new kings had in winning over the conquered populace to give the story proper depth, Taylor instead simply stated that there were struggles that had to be overcome. The kings worked hard and the people learned to love them. There wasn't a single scene that showed this occurring.
The story also lacked description. For example, the kings would wear jewelry, but that was all that was written about it. What type of jewelry, what color or cut, what setting was it on, was it a ring or a necklace? None of that needed detail to help set the scene was written, which left me with a half-formed picture of the entire book. The emotion of the characters was just as halfheartedly given. Nessir has a knife to his throat and all that's written is he's scared. No shaking, no tears, no worry for the life of his friends. When he's told he'll now be serving the invading kings, Nessir shrugs and agrees without any thought or worry about betraying his people to the enemy or of what his new position entails. Nessir and all the characters in the book were therefore flat and boring.
I also found the plot to be very linear. There were no twists or surprises, nor was there any actual romance. After one look the kings fell in love with Nessir and Nessir fell in love in return. Taylor admittedly tried to create a touch of drama by including a slight misunderstanding between the three of them, but without any emotional weight (which the story lacked) I found myself rolling my eyes in exasperation. The misunderstanding was easily fixed without any additional problems.
I had so many issues with Where Loyalties Lie, but at the same time I was reading an ARC. It's entirely possible that everything I disliked about this book will be fixed in the final version. However, what I read lacked description and emotion, was very linear, and overall wasn't well written. I therefore cannot recommend this book.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.