Title: The Wolf and the Sparrow
Author: Isabelle Adler
Publisher: Nine Star Press
Publication date: November 25th, 2019
Derek never wished to inherit his title as a result of a bloody battle. With the old count dead and the truce dependent on his marriage to the rival duke’s son, Derek has no choice but to agree to the victor’s terms in order to bring peace to his homeland. When he learns of the sinister rumors surrounding his intended groom, Derek begins to have doubts—but there can be no turning back from saying I do.
After the death of his wife, Callan of Mulberny never expected to be forced into another political marriage—especially not to someone like the new Count of Camria. Seemingly soft and meek, it’s only fitting that Derek’s family crest is a flighty sparrow, worthy of nothing but contempt.
Another war with the seafaring people of the Outer Isles looms on the horizon, and the reluctant newlyweds must team together to protect those caught in the circle of violence. Derek and Callan slowly learn to let go of their prejudices, but as they find themselves enmeshed in intrigue fueled by dark secrets and revenge, their tentative bond is all that keeps their world—and their lives—from plunging into chaos.
**Thank you to Nine Star Press, Netgalley, and Isabelle Adler for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**
Derek barely has time to get accustomed to taking over his father’s title of Count before he is basically ordered to marry a Duke’s son. The Duke had just won a battle with the old count, and is sending a message by giving Derek no choice but to marry Callan. Callan is less than pleased with this, as his first wife is freshly dead from an accident. Chaos ensues when Derek and Callan are captured by the dead girl’s father and they must get out of the situation alive by trusting each other.
I think this book had a lot of potential, but fell flat in some areas. I loved the male/male relationship and how there wasn’t even a question in regards to sexuality and why a marriage is being arranged between two males. It’s not often you see a m/m relationship without more attention being brought to “coming out” or the inherit sexuality of it. It seemed like the culture in this world is such that gender isn’t so much important in relationships. However, the romance was very stilted and happened far more quickly than made sense. Like, they hated each other once day and in love the next – it didn’t work for me.
I also was not a fan of the magic system. It was not well explained and ended up being a pretty integral part of the ending – but I still don’t feel like I understand how the magic works. I think this part could have been done a lot better but it seemed like it was thrown in as an afterthought and was used more as a tool to increase sexual tension (weirdly enough).
The LGBTQIA aspect was my favorite part, along with the main conflict that brought Derek and Callan together. I think pieces of this book were very well done, but I wish some aspects were done differently, or explained better. Would recommend for those who enjoy LGBTQIA where the queerness of the characters isn’t a plot device.
Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂