Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: Poison Marked
Author: T.J. Nichols
Series: 2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers
Heroes: Nikko & Rodas
Genre: M/M Fantasy
Length: 56 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 1, 2017
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Kill his lover or disobey his king and instigate civil war?
As the feared court poison master, Nikko is sworn to do as his king bids. As the lover of the king’s nephew, Lord Rodas, Nikko must hide his affection or risk being labeled a traitor and punished. A former thief who clawed his way into the palace from the filthy streets, Nikko longs to be deserving of Rodas’s love.
A respected war hero, Rodas is in a delicate political situation. He is not the kingdom’s natural heir, though many support his claim over the wastrel, Prince Fortin. The last thing Rodas wants is war. His highest ambition is for Nikko to openly wear the jewels he’s bestowed on him as a public declaration of their love.
Neither man is prepared for the king to order Nikko to poison Rodas during the solstice feast or for the deadly intrigue they’re plunged into, which exposes their affair and rocks the foundations of the kingdom.
This was a surprisingly delightful story! I really adored the world-building and the depth this author went to explore the setting of the book. I thought it was such a compelling story and I really liked the premise of Nikko in such of a predicament of either his life or his lover’s, Rodas. Nikko was an interesting character and I liked exploring who he was and how different he was from others. I didn’t feel like we got to know Rodas much or their relationship aside from the fact they saw each other a few times a year (it sounded like, I could be wrong though) and that they had their own little language to relay what they want or needed in front of others, which was pretty cute, IMO, especially with how much they trusted one another.
However, while I really liked this one, it was way too short for what I felt like could have been an amazing story. I wish it had been longer and more in-depth in certain areas so that we could have really understood the characters better. As it was, I felt like we didn’t know the characters. Considering they were ‘in love’, I didn’t get that feeling since it sounded like all they did was have sex when they saw each other.
In the end, though, I really loved the world-building and I enjoyed the intrigue of seeing how things would play out. I felt like there should have been more depth to Nikko and Rodas and their relationship as I didn’t get the vibe they were in love. It felt more like friends with benefits with a mix of ‘will die for you’ thrown in. However, I still really liked this one. It’s fast-paced and intriguing so definitely give it a go if you’re looking for a little holiday story outside the norm.
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*