From the New York Times bestselling author of The Winter King comes a breathtaking new tale of love and adventure set in the mystical land of Mystral…
He wasn’t supposed to choose her…
Seafaring prince Dilys Merimydion has been invited to court the three magical princesses of Summerlea. To eradicate the pirates threatening Calberna and to secure the power of the Sea Throne, Dilys vows to return home with a fierce warrior-queen as his bride. But politics has nothing to do with unexpected temptation.
She didn’t dare wed him…
A weathermage like her sisters, Gabriella Coruscate’s gentleness exemplifies the qualities of her season name, Summer. Yet her quiet poise conceals dangerous powers she cannot begin to wield. Better to live without excitement, she reasons, than risk her heart and lose control— until an irresistible Sealord jolts her awake with a thunderclap of raw desire.
Until evil threatens everything they hold dear…
When pirates kidnap Summer and her sisters, Dilys is in a desperate quest to save the woman he loves. Only by combining his command of the seas with the unleashed fury of Summer’s formidable gifts can they defeat their brutal enemies and claim the most priceless victory of all: true love.
Note: This is the companion sequel to The Winter King. However, this review will not have any major spoilers for the series.
Also: This book contains mature content (sexy times) and graphic violence. Please be aware!
After finishing The Winter King and thoroughly charmed by the sweet and powerful romance, as well as the expansive fantasy world that Wilson builds, I was instantly ready for the companion sequel. However, I wasn’t as enchanted with this sequel as I was with the first book. It was still a fairly good and diverting read – especially for a romance novel – but there were some things that just made it drag and felt slow for me. There is definitely a certain amount of cheesiness in the book that made me pause while reading, romantically and as a part of the world. Sometimes I’d squeal in second-hand embarrassment, and half the time I’d low-key enjoy it. Let’s just say I let this cheese slide because it helped develop the romance. Overall, I would recommend the first book over this one, although still recommend this one for readers who have already started the series.
The Weathermages of Mystral series revolves around the daughters of the king of Summerlea, a kingdom that is part of the creative world of Mystral. The first book, The Winter King, was about Khamsin, who reigns the power of lightning. Each of the books in this series focuses on the romance of one of the daughters. The other four daughters are nicknamed after the four seasons and this book is about Summer, who uses the power of the sun and an unexpected secret power. She is regarded as the weakest of the seasons, in both temperament and magical ability, but all of that is just a façade to temper down her incredible gifts. There’s a bit of a “conceal, don’t feel” vibe going on, as Summer has learned to repress her powers since she was little and accidentally killed. However, this repression starts lessening as she gets courted by the Prince of Calberna, Dilys.
“She knew everyone thought she was so sweet and king and gentle that she would never hurt a fly. That’s what they were supposed to think.”
This book is actually packed with a lot of things – a courtship, an adventure, a kidnapping, and lots of magical natural disasters. However, the courtship takes a half or so of the book and became really drawn-out and long-winded at some point. I really admired Summer’s initial resilience against Dilys’s advances. Even though he’s confident and sexy, she doesn’t trust herself to fall in love and release the power inside of her. This push-and-pull dynamic was rather fun in the beginning, but got repetitive quite soon. I feel like many pages could have been saved if Summer didn’t have to repeat her thoughts of “I love him but can’t love him” so often.
For the most part, I appreciated the world that Wilson builds. All the characters are POC and dark-skinned. There is no discussion nor distinction of characters based on their skin tone – it’s just another aspect of the setting and characters. The only complaint I have is when Summer’s skin was compared to chocolate cream – it was only once, but I’d rather not have read it in the first place. Other than that, the author does a good job in building distinctions between the people and the kingdoms they’re from. In Calberna, where Dilys is from, women are revered and on top of the social hierarchy. I admit, the necessity of having “mates” in their kingdom was a bit much for me but hey, it’s a fantasy romance. Much of these are rather large on these kinds of happily ever afters. I do like the fact that Dilys doesn’t excessively push Summer into accepting his courtship. Instead, he’s super patient as he sweetly wears her down with gifts and actions. When he felt that he pushed her a bit too much, he was immediately chastised and apologized. I think that kind of balance really sealed the deal for the relationship for me.
“He was the flame that would light the world-destroying inferno inside her.”
Another nice thing I like about these books is that there are no damsels in distress. In both stories, the woman pretty much saves herself (or everyone around her). There are many powerful women in this fantasy world, and even when the significant other does go to save them, they end up saving themselves more often than not. Summer is stubborn to the core, but eventually manages to open up to Dilys and trust him. Although the pacing and so much back-and-forth between the characters made the romance drag so much, I ultimately enjoyed the progression of the relationship and thought it was very sweet and thoughtful, as both sides of the are respectful of the others’ emotions and feelings. I just feel that throughout the entirety of the rather large book, many scenes could have been condensed or redacted because of the repetition. Towards the end, a part of the plot kind of got grating for me as well as so many things were just happening, but that’s just me personally.
I think that romance readers will really like this series and the powerful females that capture the hearts of, well, just as powerful men as their counterparts. There are several Khamsin/Wynter cameos in this book, and definitely more stories to come for the rest of the Seasons of Summerlea. I’d like to read their stories, and here’s hoping they manage to capture my interest as much as the first two had. The Sea King didn’t have the magic to enchant me like its predecessor, but it still instilled a very sweet and thoughtful romantic relationship in a very detailed fantasy world with many plots going on. Busy, but no less romantic.
Thank you Edelweiss and Avon for the review copy!