Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-61923-537-3
Fantasy Romance, 2016
Poor Lias. His first wife died, but that’s okay, he married the nanny shortly after and his first wife’s father supported the whole family. But things were not okay when he came home one night to find the second wife gone, apparently kidnapped by slave traders. And these slave traders leave his three brats alone? Those must be some pug-ugly brats. Lias doesn’t seem to care about the kids either, because his immediate response after learning of his wife’s capture is to tell a man whom “he knew only in passing standing” to “mind the children” while he went off to chase after the missing wife.
He got captured shortly after – surprise! – and now, he’s a prisoner. I suppose these aren’t the same slave traffickers, since the wife isn’t around. At any rate, Lias complains to me that he’s been tortured, raped, et cetera in the months since his capture, and I guess maybe I should write a strongly worded letter to those captors of his or something. At any rate, he is soon purchased and ends up under the ownership of Necromis, an angst-wrecked knight who has made a pact with a demon, Bonecracker, and now he has about three days before the Bonecracker kills him as part of the deal. He believes that Lias is his last chance to wiggle his way out of that bargain. But ah, can Necromis go through the whole thing? Will Lias’s own Bonecracker sway him into his side? Are Lias’s kids right now throwing parties because they don’t have a stupid father bossing them around any more?
A Year Less Three Days may have two authors, but the whole thing seems to be written as if it was done by one person, who has a gun pressed to the person’s head with the threat that a few bullets will be introduced to his head if the story wasn’t finished in one hour. Everything feels glossed over, details are superficial, and the characters rarely exhibit believable human emotions because they are too busy rushing towards the end of the story.
Hence, Lias goes from a shrieking violence-crazed lunatic to a sensitive, concerned gentleman over the blink of an eye – I’d have thought the authors would at least have Necromis go down on that dumb dong first for the Magic Healing Man-Hoo Hoo trope to take place and sort of justify the transformation, but no. Soon these two are having hot sex, it is so beautiful, Necromis’s sins are hand-waved away because he did all those heinous things out of the love, and Lias’s wife was conveniently pegged as the villain so that Lias can now be 100% homo forever. I’m not sure what happens to those kids of his, but who cares, he has a bigger dong now thanks to magic, and that’s all that matters. Right?