My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: Polyamory/ MMF
War is coming to the island of Eburos.
Andoc, Carivel, and Senovo can no longer live quietly in the shadows of the village of Draebard. As tribal Chieftain, Horse Mistress, and High Priest, it now falls to the three of them to organize a defense against the terrifyingly powerful Alyrion Empire.
Senovo—a shape-shifter—has a desperate plan to save them all. But if he succeeds, it just might end up tearing the triad apart forever.
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Entrancing and poignant, The Horse Mistress: Book 4 examines the balance between love and sacrifice, along with the hard choices thrust upon those in power when the past and the future collide.
Author’s note: This book contains descriptions of violence and graphic sex, including sex between men and multiple partners (MMF) within an established, loving relationship. Additionally, it deals with issues of gender identity and gender fluidity. It is intended for a mature audience.
After finishing book 3 in this series I dove right into book 4 as I had to know how the story of Carivel, Senovo and Andoc would get wrapped up. I am really enjoying this series so far and I am so happy there are still more books I can read, even tough they will have a different main character. I am quite curious about those books too and meeting the new main characters.
The Horse Mistress Book 4 has a bit of a more somber tone at times. The Empire is evading and it’s only a matter of where. They also know when, namely after the winter is over. So this winter is all focused on making sure Northern Eburos is as ready as they can be. I loved how we get to see more of Northern Eburos in this book. Andoc, Carivel and Senovo travel to some villages to see if they want to join their alliance and defend against the incoming invasion, which means we got to see a bit of the rest of northern Eburos, which was great. I also liked seeing how the tribes handled the news and the new developments and inventions made with the invasion looming over them.
And even more fun is how they visit Andoc’s home town and we get to meet Andoc’s mom, who was lovely. There is also a more sadder visit to Carivel’s mother, as her mother always treated her badly, but this scene did bring things on that topic to a resolution for Carivel and I think she really needed that. There’s also a sad event earlier in the book, but part of what happened next did feel important.
With Senovo having a self appointed quest and what this means for him and the tone of the book is a bit sad at times because of that, but luckily there are enough happy and uplifting parts spread throughout the series as well and in the end I am really happy how that part of the plot line got resolved.
With how the whole book is building up to the invasion, I was quite nervous and curious how that part would be resolved. And the further I got in the book, the more I was wondering how the whole battle and invasion would fit in there. But it was there, just much shorter than I had expected. There is a bit of a time skip and then only one chapter that is about the invasion. On the one hand it felt a bit anti-climactic, but at the same time I also liked how this was handled. The way it was told showed a bit of the Empire’s perspective which was quite illuminating. The Return of the Wolf Epilogue is a perfect way to wrap up the characters story and I felt that this made the end more complete. I am just not sure if the epilogue is also at the end of book 4 or only in the box set, as I read the box set.
In many ways this book wraps up their individual story lines really well. Carivel, Andoc and Senovo all have found their place and their love for each other is as strong as ever. I like seeing them in their current roles and how they handle it. The last few open threads or things they struggle with get addressed in this book and they are at a great place at the end of the book.
Favian is still one of my favorite side characters and it was great to see how he handles the events of this book, even tough he has to go through more hardship first. The epilogue makes me pretty sure he is one of the love interests in the lion mistress part of the series, which makes me happy as that means we get to see more of him. The epilogue from Favian is a nice set-up for the next book, but I actually liked the epilogue from Senovo’s point of view more as that worked better to wrap up this part of the story.
With the focus on the story on preparing for the invasion the focus is less on the romance at times. but at the same time this book has some of the most romantic scenes in the series. It shows again how much these three mean to each other and there is a scene later in the book that’s just so perfect. I am just a bit sad that for most of the book Senovo was a bit distant as it was obvious everyone was suffering because of it, then again it did totally make sense what happened and how it was handled.
I really enjoy reading about these three and I am really happy how their story got wrapped and I hope we get to see more of them in future books. It was great seeing how they supported each other. And I liked seeing Adnoc as chief, how Senovo dealt with his wolf and also how Carivel how has grown over the course of the series.
To summarize: this was a great wrap up of the horse mistress books. The story builds up to the invasion of the empire at the end of the book, it was interesting reading about the preparations, the political aspect and the new inventions that were being made because of the looming war. It also was great to see a bit more of Eburos. The tone could be a bit somber at times, but luckily there were enough happy and uplifting moments as well. I liked how all the left over plot lines and last personal struggles of Andoc, Senovo and Carivel get wrapped up and I love how much they have found their place and changed throughout this series and it’s great to see in what a good place they are at the end. The end battle was a bit anti-climactic on the one hand, but on the other hand I liked how it was handled. The epilogue was awesome and I liked how it gave us resolution and see the three of them together once more. There is a bit of a set-up for the lion mistress books and I hope to start on those soon.