Source : NetGalley, thank you so much to the publisher!!
TL;DR : I love this, I loved everything about this. Highly recommend this.
A Taste of Gold and Iron is the story of Prince Kadou and his bodyguard Evemer as they seek to both redeem Kadou and solve the mystery of a break-in at a guild within his sister’s great city. Along the way romance and even more mystery will ensue. Along with a reading slump for me because this book was so good I couldn’t function properly for a day or two afterwards.
Prince Kadou is the brother to the queen of a country that highly prizes honesty and trust in all things. From their elite guard units, to how they treat the people and to the currency of the land. This trusting nature to the world and drive to find and honor trust bleeds into the story itself, lending this an almost cozy feel. You know there are stakes, and they’re very important. You feel the tension and the need to solve the mystery. Yet, you also have this amazing feeling to the story. All long the way you have the slow burn romance between Kadou and Evemer that was simply incredible.
One of the biggest things to know going into this is that Kadou suffers from what I would view as a full on Anxiety disorder. He has attacks throughout the novel and we follow his mind as he can sometimes spiral out into anxious thoughts. In this world they don’t seem to have a word for this, instead he sees it as proof he is a coward, when all his other actions show him as otherwise. Because of that I loved the journey we take with Evemer – appointed to him after an unfortunate altercation at the beginning of the novel left two of Evemer’s fell guards dead and the blame at Kadou’s feet. We watch the two’s relationship unfold slowly as each learns to understand, take care of, and truly see the other. Evemer enters into his service with the lowest of opinions of Kadou, based solely on the rumors and scant information of that event. The journey from that mindset to the end? Amazing.
The other characters in this story are just as great, though the cast keeps itself relatively small. My favorite by far was Tadou, who I would die for. I can say that as someone who despised him early in the book. By the end I loved him and related to him so much. Kadou’s sister was also so interesting, and I’d love to see where her story goes and how her life unfolds.
One other fact of note about this book is the queer normative world. There are multiple genders, something I adored, with multiple different pronouns in use. Queer relationships were also open and welcomed in every way, characters talking freely (if they wanted to) about their feelings and ‘friends’ we’ll say. There were several characters, such as Melek, who I would love to see more of for that reason as well!
My only real complaints with this book were a few pacing stumbles and one or two places where I felt the suspension of disbelief was a bit much, just in outcomes (if X knew where Y was why didn’t X just move on it, that sort of thing). Otherwise I adored this enough that I don’t much care. If you enjoy slow burn political romance this is your book. Pick it up, I beg you.
5 Iron nails out of 5