Narrator: Robert Nieman
Rein Dear is a prestigious title, accompanied by admiration, devotion, and celebrity status, all of which one saucy Vixen thrives on. Alas, Vixen’s only concerned with having fun, unlike his stuffy and sensible best friend, Rudy Rein Dear, who Vixen has always been jealous of. Aside from being chosen by Mayor Kringle to be captain of the Rein Dear Squadron, Rudy’s managed to snag himself a prince, even if that prince is the dangerous and imposing Jack Frost.
All’s not lost for Vixen though. He discovers Jack’s cousin Vale has a soft spot for him. Vale Frost might not be a dashing prince, but he’s the next best thing: a decorated lieutenant for the Toy Soldier Army, and a member of the Frost monarchy.
Determined to get what Vixen feels he deserves, he sets off on a mission to ensnare the kind-hearted lieutenant. But Vixen’s selfish ways are sure to lead to disaster, and it’ll take more than a little courage to set things right.
This is a nice continuation to the series, although certainly not my favorite. It felt really short to me, but I’m not sure if it actually is shorter than the previous two books or if that’s just my perception. Maybe I’m too much like Vixen, but I also found myself getting annoyed with Rudy and his stick-in-the-mud attitude, and although I loved him in his own book, I often found him patronizing here.
But Vixen did end up giving Vale a chance, and that ended up being so sweet. I only wish we had more time to enjoy it. Vale surprised him with his thoughtfulness and care, and Vixen showed some hidden depths (although not really enough to justify Vale’s feelings). More of this would have helped to really accept their chemistry and feelings for each other, but it all happened a little fast.
Once it was clear where the drama would come from I was honestly cringing. Maybe because Vixen had been so cocky early on that it makes the fall from grace all the more painful, but it was hard to watch to the point where I debated speeding up the narration… but I held strong. There was a bit that didn’t get explained, that would have helped me be more accepting of the HEA the Toy Soldier never admitted whether or not he actually drugged Vixen or simply got him drunk to reveal the secret, and I feel like that’s a very important distinction with regards to Vixen’s culpability.
Vixen’s parents were something that was mentioned early on and that I kept expecting to pop back up in some way for closure or resolution or a full-circle bringing the themes of trust and love together… and it never did. It seemed incredibly odd to bring them up as a justification for why Vixen acted the way he acted, yet never resolve it either by Vixen realizing in hindsight that they never treated him differently but he became jealous of his brother and drove a wedge between them, or by them realizing how they mistreated him, for better or worse.
Lastly, with regards to the audio version, I stand by my assessment that this series is perfect as an audiobook. The narration doesn’t necessarily stand out as over-the-top-wonderful but that’s because the story doesn’t demand too much of it. Even with life-threatening drama and declarations of undying love, this is a light and fun series and the narration conveys that perfectly. Although not my favorite of the series, the narration remains consistent and I would recommend continuing on with series in audio if that’s how you started.