Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: The Solstice Prince
Author: S.J. Himes
Series: Realms of Love #1
Heroes: Jaime & Maxim
Genre: M/M Fantasy
Length: 173 pages
Release Date: November 24, 2017
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Rescued from slavers, healer novice Jaime Buchanan finds himself alone and free in Pyrderi, a kingdom of magic, mythical creatures, and a culture as open and kind as his homeland was cruel and close-minded.
Despite his rescue, Jaime is not left without scars, both mental and physical. Traumatized by his experience and hiding his gift, Jaime struggles to earn his place in the kitchens of Angharad Palace, the heart of Taliesin City. His former life as a student of the healing arts leaves him at a disadvantage in the kitchens, and his damaged state is becoming more apparent by the day.
One day, when necessity and fate intervene, Jaime meets someone unexpected—Prince Maxim, youngest son of the Pyrderian king, a sword master and a devastatingly kind man. Unaccustomed to powerful people with compassion and heart, Jaime flees. A cascade of events reveals Jaime’s hidden talents of healing, and he finds himself not in chains, but at the beginning of a new life.
This swift change of fortune opens Jaime up to new possibilities, including a smitten prince who cautiously courts Jaime, easing him away from his fears and reminding him that compassion and love can make him strong. The winter solstice is quickly approaching, and Prince Maxim shows Jaime the enjoyment and excitement to be found in a land that embraces the ice and cold, and the mysteries of all things magical. He learns to see the man under the royal mantle, and Maxim is more than even Jaime suspected.
The winter solstice is nigh when tragedy strikes, and Jaime learns that his past of grief and sorrow can be a pillar of strength for his solstice prince. If there is one thing that Jaime believes above all else, it is in the healing power of love.
A few months after being rescued, Jaime struggles to settle into a life as a kitchen helper. He’s still traumatized from his time as a slave and the abilities that ostracized him in his homeland. When it becomes known that he has the ability to heal, Jaime flees because he fears what will happen to him when others find out about his curse. Surprisingly, the new city he calls home cherishes and embraces his gift and Jaime’s life turns around for the better. Especially when the prince he was too scared to talk to before is there for him to show how much he cares. As they spend more time together, the feelings grow until death strikes the kingdom and the tables are turned with Jaime comforting Maxim. With so much happening, will they be able to explore the new love that’s blossomed between them?
WOW! I’m at a loss on how to review this one because I loved it so much. It’s hard for me to express exactly why, though. I was sucked in as soon as I started the story. I honestly loved how vulnerable and broken Jaime was. It was heartbreaking but I liked seeing him at his lowest. When he became known that his abilities weren’t a curse but were cherished in the new city he was in, his life changed drastically but he still was that broken guy at times. However, he changed into someone who was respected and who others depended on.
As for Maxim, he was a bit surprising. As a prince, I expected him to be more cocky and arrogant but he was really down to earth and kind. I adored the fact that he could be with whomever he wanted and his father wouldn’t have had an issue with it. Even when Jaime worked in the kitchen, Maxim still tried to show interest without taking advantage. Plus, I really liked that Maxim was trying to ‘woo’ Jaime and show him the things he’d been missing.
My only compliant on this one is sometimes it became too wordy and rambled on and on. I felt like a portion of the book could have been removed because at one point, it was becoming a little too repetitive.
In the end, this was a phenomenal story. I was drawn in right from the start with how vulnerable Jaime was and this author managed to keep my attention throughout the story. I adored Jaime and Maxim as a couple and really enjoyed the relationship they developed. Give this one a go if you’re looking a sweet m/m fantasy story with some good world-building.
Overall Impression: I loved it!
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*