Insanely Belated Team ALBTALBTS TBR Challenge Review: The Sea King by C. L. Wilson

The Sea King (Weathermages of Mystral Book 2) by C. L. Wilson
Fantasy romance published by HarperCollins on October 31, 2017

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 begins 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.

I’ve been on what was an epic quest of reading adult high fantasy romances. It started over the summer, and it’s still going on low-key, but over the summer I read something like 100. And let me tell you, it wasn’t an easy task because there simply aren’t that many. (As compared to other romance sub-genres.)  Authors – take note: there is a ravenous readership just dying for high fantasy adult romances!  There are some such books though, and C. L. Wilson’s Weathermage Series perfectly fits the bill.

First though, I have a confession to make. I read this book back in September. I received an ARC even earlier but … that’s another story. I have this thing where especially with high fantasy romances, I want to read the entire series in one go. Clearly, the Weathermage series is not yet complete. However, I made an exception for this series, and am pleased to be able to inform you that each book can stand alone. Also that you should read these books, especially if you’re a fan of (high) fantasy romances.

I read The Winter King and The Sea King one right after the other, so forgive me if I make any mistakes/confuse the two. (Literally within minutes of hitting “The End” of The Winter King I was immediately paging through to Chapter One of The Sea King.) Or forget things. I had the best of intentions for this review to be written and go live in a timely manner for October – the “Paranormal or Romantic Suspense” prompt and I figured fantasy fit the general PNR bill because hello fish people and such.

Gabriella Coruscate aka “Summer” is known as the gentlest (and of course *eyeroll* weakest) of “The Seasons,” but quelle surprise, she is not. That being said, I liked how fully developed she was – and how she not only has her faults, but admits them. I also liked the spin of her actually being the “strongest” of the sisters. (But then what about Storm?) What I loved less is what made it seem like this is something we can expect from each sister(‘s story). I also don’t want to address one of the biggest factors about Gabriella because I’m not sure if people would consider that a spoiler … so … that’s important to know. If it sounds all vague and like I’m not saying much, it’s because I don’t want to throw [too many] spoilers out there.

We actually meet Dilys Merimydion in The Winter King and just … Calbernan men are Something Else. (Unless they’ve gone totally evil, which oops of course has happened with some in this race…) The Calbernan men are ridiculously, beyond perfect. The women are amazing too, of course, but it’s the men that are infamous throughout Mystral. Basically imagine Aquaman Jason Momoa only taller, and better. Amazing warriors, scholars, and lovers. Literally, they’re trained in pretty much everything since childhood. So Dilys is the prince of Calberna and he’s the best of the best. He’s also, as prince, fully willing to make a political marriage, and happy to marry … any of the Seasons. He also has some moments where he’s an ass, however, because … well he’s been the best at everything his whole life, and actually is smart. But this leads to him making some assumptions, which just doesn’t work with Summer.

I liked the book. I want to be very clear and state I enjoyed reading it, and can definitely see re-reading it in the future. In fact, I’ve already re-read The Winter King a few times. We have a whole cast of extremely dynamic characters, a balanced romance with give and take between the hero and heroine, and a lot of plot.

Now here’s the flip side. I found the pacing an issue. In my initial book notes I wrote that I thought it took me “forever” to read the book. It took me two days. (Which for reference, when I’m blowing through books, even ones of a similar length, I read them in a few hours and am on to the next one.) I felt that it took too long for Gabriella and Dilys to get together because we knew they’d be together. There was a bit too much manufactured [non] conflict in my opinion.

Then there were just … a lot of other hijinks one wouldn’t expect, with kidnappings and mental rape and … I think a trigger warning would not be amiss. She’s not technically physically raped – but they strip her mental defenses, and violate her mind, as well as keeping her naked and forcing unwanted physical contact. And I felt the trauma and aftermath of this wasn’t really addressed. Then there was the thing with her sisters. Essentially, I felt there was way too much attention given to minor issues, and then hugely traumatic events and issues are practically glossed over.

I had to check the grade I left for the book upon finishing it … I gave it a C+. More than three months later … I think I’d give it a D+ or a C- … so we’ll give it an even, and very solid… I enjoyed reading the book and very much like this series. The Sea King, however, didn’t win me over as much as The Winter King. I definitely can’t wait for the next books though! I’m curious as to where all this craziness will go! (And hopefully have a definitive resolution, and soon!)

Grade: C

This means I liked the book. I thought it was good and enjoyed it. I didn’t think it was great (a B grade) or AMAZING (an A grade). I liked The Winter King best in this series, so far. I’m also looking forward to reading the others, and any spinoffs as well!

You can read an excerpt of the book here or buy a copy here.

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