Guest Reviewed by Gyn
Title: King John
Author: Edmond Manning
Series: The Lost and Founds #4
Heroes: Alistair Robertson/Vin Vanbly
Genre: M/M Fantasy
Length: 245 Pages
Publisher: Pickwick Ink Publishing
Release Date: September 10, 2015
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: English attorney Alistair Robertson can’t quite believe an astonishing tale of kingship and transformation he hears at Burning Man, the annual counter-culture art festival in the Black Rock desert. Who are the Found Kings? Is “being kinged” as magical as it sounds?
Determined to find the mysterious garage mechanic named Vin who helps men “remember who they were always meant to be,” Alistair catches his quarry amid the extravagant sculptures, fire worshipers, mutant cars, and lavish costumes. After searching for three years, he’ll finally get to ask the question burning inside him: “Will you king me?”
Wandering together through the desert, Vin Vanbly and Alistair explore Burning Man’s gifting culture and exotic traditions, where they meet the best and worst of their fellow burners. Alistair’s overconfidence in Vin’s manipulative power collides with Vin’s obsessive need to save a sixteen-year-old runaway from a nightmarish fate, and the two men spiral into uncontrollable, explosive directions.
In this fourth adventure of The Lost and Founds, beneath the sweltering summer sun and the six billion midnight stars, one truth emerges, searing itself on their hearts: in the desert, everything burns.
I first fell in love with The Lost and Founds series back in October of 2012 when I read King Perry in preparation for meeting the author at a gay romance convention. And as a side note, meeting the amazing human being that is Edmond Manning and having the opportunity to get to know him, even a little, was a highlight of that convention for me. But I digress and get back to the topic at hand.
In my 5 star review (a rare occurrence for me) of that first book, I used the words ingenious, vivid, deep and one-of-a-kind. As I read King John I realized that all of those words still applied but I kept trying to come up with a single word I would use to describe them all. The best I could come up with was ‘human’. The story, the characters, the lessons—everything about King John and The Lost and Founds is just so human.
Vin is in one of his very places on the planet, The Burning Man festival, in this book. I love this setting so hard! You absolutely should Google it and check out the photos of this annual event. I would love to experience such a thing, but since I doubt that will ever happen, Manning at least brought me into the world and showed me around. The camps, the people, the sites and the outrageousness all came to life.
Speaking of life, Manning’s writing is just chock full of it. And I’m not just talking about the vibrancy, the kindness, the acceptance and the love. This story has all of those things but it’s also heartbreaking and gut-wrenching. I am absolutely not a crier but I shed tears three times between the pages of King John, some of them happy and some of them sad.
Alistair, the man desperate to be kinged by Vin in this installment, is not one to shed tears either. He gives word service to a desire to give in, to submit and let go, to love completely, but his actions speak differently. He’s guarded and has defensive walls built a mile high. He may just be my favorite of all the Kings. Manning walks you through his journey, a path that dips and weaves, and it’s a beautiful thing to be a part of.
I also love being a part of Vin’s journey and, four books in, I am getting anxious to see this through to the end, especially since… CLIFFHANGER!!! You’re killing me, Mr. Manning. Killing me. I want answers to my questions (giggle) and I want them now!
Until then, I guess all I can say is “Fuck your burn”.
Overall Impression: It was amazing!
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*