Audio Review: Therese Woodson – Bethrothed: A Faery Tale

51epwjnxl3l-_aa300_Author: Therese Woodson
Reviewer: SheReadsALot
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: MM Fantasy

Rating: ★★★★¼ 

Narrator: Matthew Lloyd Davies

Summary:
Faery royalty have always married for duty rather than love. Prince Chrysanths should be no different—except with a human for a father, the prince known as Puck already is different. When he is betrothed against his will to Prince Sky, Puck flees to his father in the human world, only to have Sky follow.

Prince Sky Song of the Clouds isn’t thrilled with the prospect of marriage either, but is bound by duty to follow through. If he can’t win Puck over, the faery realm might very well dissolve into utter chaos. Too busy arguing, Puck and Sky are unaware there are others with a vested interest in seeing the betrothal fail. In a bid for Puck’s crown, they’ll seek to keep them apart, even as Puck and Sky realize that duty and love don’t always have to be mutually exclusive.

Review:
Must love faeries, brats and faery tales.

Thankfully, I enjoy all of the above.

Fantasy is very much my go-to genre. My favorite magical beings after unicorns and mermaids are the fae. They’re not just twee little folk when written right. (Yes, they’re open for interpretation)

Therese Woodson did a very interesting version of faeries. They’re separated by four elements: sun, water, air and earth. Each element ruled by their respective kingdom. Due to a war hundreds of years ago between the greedy Sun King and the other elements, a marriage treaty was created between the air, water and earth (the winners). The elements must be married to maintain peace…it’s been arranged.

Enter Puck aka half-human/ half- earth faery, Prince Chrysanths who is sort of a black sheep of both the faery and human world. He doesn’t fit in either realm. While faeries have tattoo like colorful markings all over their body that depict their base element, his human side mutes it to faint colors. And he doesn’t have wings and can’t fly like his full blooded mother or subjects. His ears are rounded like a human, his magic isn’t as strong and he’s regulated to seeing his father once a year, if that.

When his mother, Queen Bellis tells Puck it’s time for his arranged marriage to air faery prince Sky to happen, in three weeks, Puck does the only logical thing. He runs to Earth. Thus begins a fish out of water like experience for (Prince Sky) because of course he has to follow his betrothed into the human world (where he’s never traveled).

The story has a lot of great themes going for it that I like to read in budding romances. This reads like New Adult. Puck still has growing up to do. Sky is definitely more responsible. They’re opposites in a lot of ways. But where the author created magic (despite the obvious subject) is the little moments. Puck is frustrating but Sky can’t help but charmed by the color in his eyes, or the way he thinks about something. That makes or breaks a romance for me. I’m more of a small gestures kind of reader.

And the young men learn one another while virtually strangers in a short amount of time (about three weeks) in America (?) guessing by the narrator’s accent.

And this narrator. He is 5 Hearts all the way I want him to narrate all the things for me, especially fantasy books. I can name 5 GLBT fantasy books I want him to narrate for me right now. It’d be epic. EPIC!

My list of audiobook narrators I’ve listened to isn’t long, but I’m telling you Matthew Lloyd Davies is on my list of best narrators ever. He does the voices, the inflections, breaks at the right moment. He put thought into the characters, he breathed life into the characters. They were all distinct! I felt like I was at a production with my audiobook. (My favorite words Mr. Davies said? The dirty ones, of course!)

My one quibble with the narration is the American accents are read with a British pronunciation, so it made the American in me pause for a bit. Hearing the “mall” pronounced ‘mell’ rather than MALL with a long ‘A’ gave me acute screw face. Just for a teeny bit. Hell after awhile, Jim (Puck’s dad) accent grew on me. I thought it added charm after awhile, Jim’s accent like sounding syrupy British with marbles in the mouth. I was all for it.

Narration skills aside, the story is a modern day faery tale. We get an arranged marriage where love blossoms organically. Yes, there is a short amount of time. And there is a villain so to speak and a little outside action (very minor) But Woodson made sure to add little details from the Puck and Sky’s first meeting to detail their attraction and chemistry.

So much so, I would have been fine if they didn’t have any kind of sexual contact. And the story was strictly PG-13. Don’t worry smutsters, it’s not. ;D

I wanted to give this book 5 Hearts. It pains me not to, especially with that top notch narration. Because all the romance details work so wonderfully. But…I can’t. There were two areas where elaboration and development should have happened. The story is chugging along at a nice pace, a twist that I had a feeling was coming, happens. Cool. And then another plot twist happens, even better. But the way it just fizzled to rush to a HEA. I need answers.

1) What the hell was the malady?
2) What the hell happened with the ‘villain’? One doesn’t just plot for so long and do…that.

Unless there is a sequel? (I wouldn’t mind a sequel)

I really enjoyed the world Therese wooden created, the faery mythology and background. I even love the ingenious way faery babies are created. (So how are Sun babies made, just curious?)
This is different. Puck will try the patience of some – his brattiness can test the patience of a saint. I think Sky is a good foil for him and they make a great couple. The outcome despite the hiccups in the the last 20% or so was a good faery tale.

I’m charmed by the whole kit and caboodle that is Betrothed. I do hope to see more fantasy by this author, more from this world.

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Dreamspinner Press 

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