Audio Review: Mary Calmes – The Servant

9970336Author: Mary Calmes
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: DreamSpinner press
Genre: M/M

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Summary:
After saving his younger brother’s child, Daemon Shar is cursed by a witch and runs far from home, a stray who will seemingly never be anything more. But destiny is hard to outrun, even for a man who is now more cat than man beneath his robes and cowl. A chance battlefield meeting between he and Ehron, a foreign lord, gives him purpose amidst the darkness of his accursed life. Soon Daemon finds that his true nature cannot be corrupted no matter the form he inhabits.

As Ehron’s consul, Daemon plots and plans to shape his new lord’s future so that he may leave it blessed when he runs away yet again. But he never counted on his soul hungering for Ehron’s brother Gareth or for his past to catch him by the tail at last.
Review:
First and foremost, this story is outstanding in its complexity and creativity. Because of that, it can be a bit confusing at times. There is a host of characters with uncommon names and a kingdom, or two, with equally uncommon people, places, and things. Thanks to the narration of Greg Tremblay, who was clear and concise in his diction and provided a variety of voices for all the main and principal secondary characters, I was able to not only follow it, but absolutely delight in it.

Daemon Jadin Sahr, accompanied by his faithful servant, finds his brother’s castle under siege as he arrives to rescue his sister-in-law and nephew. In fact, it’s an all-out slaughter, and he has trouble making his way to the family apartment. Just as he arrives, his sister-in-law is under attack and trying valiantly to save her child. When Jadin manages to save the child, his opponent, a witch, casts a spell changing him to an animal. He manages to get the child back to his brother, but won’t let anyone see what he now looks like in cat form and insists his servant remain behind with his brother as well. All he wants is what he gets—to get away and never bring harm to his loved ones.

Years later, the story picks up with Daemon now being the faithful counsel for a soldier named Ehron who happens to be the son of a landed lord in a different kingdom. Daemon, no matter the outer form, is still a fighter, a champion of the underdog, and he’s taken on the project of not only getting Ehron home to his family, but also getting Ehron into a formidable position within the court. As I said before, the story is quite complex and the disadvantage of listening to audio is that I can’t use the correct names of all the characters and the locations, however, there are a few that were memorable and I likely spelled correctly. Among these is Gareth, the younger son of Ehron, who Daemon falls in love with when they first meet.

Gareth had thought that when his brother returned from war, he’d be usurped as his father’s heir to the land, however, due to Daemon’s machinations, much more is in store for Ehron, and Gareth’s place is secured. Gareth is intrigued by Daemon and wants nothing more than to bed him, but circumstances keep coming between them and this becomes a very slow build sexually charged relationship. I was rooting for these two to get together, and then I was rooting for these two to get together, if you know what I mean. Finally! And it was so worth the wait.

Mary Calmes built a world as complex as the world in which one of my favorite series takes place—Change of Heart. It’s uncanny that one mind can build the world of Jin and Logan Church, but it’s incredible that that same mind can build an entirely different world that is just as complex and fascinating. This book is very underrated by reviewers. It’s incredibly intricately detailed and does require time to absorb as one is reading or listening, however, it is so outstanding I highly recommend it to all lovers of MM romance in a fantasy or historical setting.

The ending was a surprise, which is always nice in my opinion. I enjoyed the entire story, but surprise endings are the icing on the cake. As I said, this story requires concentration and attention to detail. It’s not a simple tale, but it is so worth taking the time to read or listen to. In this case, I highly recommend the audiobook version as Greg Tremblay did an outstanding job in setting a pace that was easy to follow by inserting clean pauses between scenes and focusing on clear pronunciation of names and places. In fact, I think it’s the best I’ve heard from him. Don’t miss a chance to listen to this one!

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