My Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Fantasy Romance/ Science Fiction Romance
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF
The Last Warrior (lightly updated) is available now – with a gorgeous new cover.
A general betrayed by his king… A royal tutor playing a dangerous game…
Prism Award Winner
As a decorated warrior, General Tal knows only one kind of honor—to his people. But when his king turns on him, he discovers that his sacrifices, his successes, may not have been for the good of the country at all. His only safe haven is with the rebels who despise him—at the hearthside of their standoffish, flame-haired leader.
Elsabeth serves the royal family, though her loyalties are with the staunchly pacifist Kurel who practice the forbidden arts of science and medicine. To avert a massacre, she’s forced to shelter General Tal, an illiterate barbarian, inside the ghetto—inside her home.
Then an age-old enemy returns, intent on destroying their world. The fierce warrior and the sensitive scholar must unite to save their planet, their people, and their love.
THE LAST WARRIOR is a slow burn, enemies-to-lovers, sci-fi/fantasy, M/F romance with a HEA and no cliff-hanger.
I received a free copy from the author and voluntarily reviewed it.
That beautiful cover is what caught my eye about this one and screamed I had to read it. I was lucky enough to win a copy form the author and started reading it as soon as I could. It took me a while to adjust my expectations as I thought this would be a civilization and rebellion in space, but the whole story actually takes place on one planet. A planet that people from earth colonized a long time ago and now they are stuck there with no means off the planet and with a deadly enemy stuck on the same planet.
Once I had shifted my expectations and realized this almost read more like a fantasy romance book on another planet than science fiction romance I quickly got grabbed by the premise. Elsabeth is a young women whose parents got killed as a result of the kings actions and she wants revenge, she then joins the rebellion. Tal is a general who just won a big victory against the Gorr, the beastlike enemies that they share the planet with. Tal just wants to retire, but when the king betrays him and Elsabeth hides him in her home to avoid detection he slowly grows to understand their cause.
This book had a strong start and ending, but to me the part in the middle felt kinda boring. Most of the action and big plot points where toward the start and end and I struggled getting through the middle part. The middle mostly had the two main characters sitting around and slowly getting to know each other. While I liked seeing them grow closer, I would’ve liked to see that happen under different circumstances, maybe while they were plotting something or doing something. Then from the scene outside the city onward the pace picked up again and I quickly got through the last part. I would’ve liked to see a bit more build up toward some of the changes and the conclusions at the end as a few things felt a bit sudden now, but it still was a very satisfactory ending.
While I liked the romance eventually, it didn’t grip me as much as I would’ve liked. Enemies to lovers usually only works for me when the two are literal enemies, I thought that would be the case here, but not quite. Tal while not part of the rebellion is bitter enough about the king’s betrayal to want to help them, it does take him time to grow to trust the Kurel people and forget his notions of magic and realize they used science. I didn’t like how both Tal and Elsabeth where so judgemental at first, they both thought their way was the best and some of those thoughts they hold onto to the end or close till there. It took a while before them to realize not everything they believed was true. I also didn’t fully feel their romance for some reason for a long time. I didn’t like Tal as much at first. Elsabeth was more likable from the start, but that could also be partly due to her love for books and science, which I can relate to more than Tal’s war focus. I did warm up to Tal more as the book progressed and I did think his actions made. By the end it was clear how much they cared for one another and I liked them together.
I liked how I was able to understand both their motivations. Especially Elsabeth had clear motivations due to her parents being murdered by the king. Tal seemed a bit less directionless at first as he didn’t choose this path, but once he was committed to helping the Kurel that changed. There were some interesting side characters, but they mostly stay to the side.
The world building is quite interesting, although it takes a long time to learn more of the world. And it is sprinkled throughout the story, which was nicely done. But at the same time I would’ve liked a bit more toward the start and middle. Especially some of the reveals later on had me curious about the world. And while this book only reveals parts of the history and current world, it is enough to make me curious. I guess I just would’ve liked a bit more overal. The city setting mostly feels like a bit medieval like town to me, with the exception of the Kurel people most people don’t know science. I would’ve liked to get a bit more about their technology level and how these people lived as now it felt like I had to fill in a lot of blanks in my head. I also thought it was a bit weird how only the Kurel know of science to such a degree that the other people think of it as magic. I am curious to see how these different people come together eventually.
To summarize: I liked the set-up and start of the book, sadly the middle dragged quite a bit for me and I struggled to get through it. And then the part toward the end was great again with action and things changing. The middle just didn’t feel as eventful with them sitting around, not doing as much and getting to know each other a bit. The plot was interesting and I liked seeing how it played out. I had a bit of difficulties feeling their romance and didn’t like Tal at first. I did feel their romance more later on and Tal got a bit more likable when he saw the error of some of this beliefs. Both Tal and Elsabeth could be a bit judgemental and stuck in their ways at first, but it was interesting to see them learn more about the other and have them reevaluate some of their beliefs. The world building was slowly sprinkled throughout the book. I would’ve liked to learn more about the world and these people, but the parts we did learn were interesting.