All The King's Men
Torrid Tarot: King Of Wands
by Lacey Savage, fantasy (2007)
Ellora's Cave, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-4199-1192-7

Lacey Savage's All The King's Men is set in a place called Arisia. This soap opera revolves around the Tradition, in which seers use their magic mumbo-jumbo to determine who the King will marry. Shivar, the current king, is in love with Vida, but he can't marry her since the King has to obey the Tradition. One of his Guardians, Kirel, is in love with Nelina Lannen, an innkeeper whom he'd thought dead eight years ago. The Tradition reveals that Nelina is the destined consort for the King, which means poor Kirel not only is the last to learn that his love is alive, he is also charged to bring her to Waldemar Castle the moment he learns that she is alive. Can poor Kirel bring himself to just stand there and see his love get married to the King?

Nelina sums everything up in a nutshell when she says, "Who cares? Honestly! So much fuss over who gets to fuck whom."

Of course, there isn't going to be a story if Nelina is all willing to go become the new Queen, because if that is the case, Ms Savage can't write about Kirel using all kinds of toys to sexually pleasure and subjugate Nelina in the name of "training". But I find myself rolling up my eyes when Kirel, who has been obsessed about Nelina all these years that he's walking with a chubby all the time, suddenly decides that his loyalty is to the King and therefore he's going to behave like a complete ass towards Nelina. This is a contrived "Baby, we could have talked, but if we did, we won't have a story" tale on all counts.

Some of the sex scenes are pretty hot, and I like how Ms Savage writes them without resorting to purple prose or coming off like a Livejournal-blogging teenager learning how to cuss, but seriously, it's hard to appreciate sensual love scenes if the people involved are as dumb as a sack of rotten turnips.

Rating: 77

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