Review: Dark King by C.N. Crawford

Posted February 27, 2020 by Amanda in Reviews / 1 Comment

Review: Dark King by C.N. CrawfordDark King by C.N. Crawford
Series: Court of the Sea Fae #1
Published by Self Publish on 2019-07-22
Length: 296 pages
Reviewing Kindle from Kindle Unlimited

A snarky fae, a sexy king, and forbidden desire deep as the sea.

Once, I was a fae princess with sea-magic at my fingertips. Now? I’m a hunted supernatural in a squalid shop, stripped of my power. My only comforts are stale cookies, Elvis records, and my hula-hoop. Until a lethally sexy fae king arrives and rips even those away.

After the brutal king throws me in prison, I strike a bargain with him: my freedom in exchange for helping him find a magic blade. What Lyr doesn’t know is that the blade might restore my stolen magic.

But as we journey, the gorgeous jerk is starting to make me feel things I’ve never felt. When Lyr touches me, desire ignites. I see raging passion in his eyes, too. If I give in, I risk losing my chance at reclaiming my power. Even worse... I could be forfeiting my life.

This book dives into plot really quickly with a fast pace. Aenor Dahut, displaced and disgraced princess of the fae island of Ys is captured by the god of the sea and the Ankou (a servant of Death), Lyr. We’re immediately thrown into the intrigues of the Court of the Sea. Someone drowned Aenor’s home island. The world thinks it was Aenor, but she knows differently. She doesn’t know who he was, she just remembers that he was a Fae, shining like a star. Aenor is living much as she has for nearly 200 years since her home was destroyed and her magic stolen – hiding underground. She has found her mission in life to be protecting innocent humans when and where she can, having made a name for herself doing so. For the moment, she is protecting a girl named Gina. When Lyr comes to capture her, the only reason she agrees to go is that he promises Gina will have more than adequate shelter, food, and transportation to school. Lyr has come to her, and intends to use her in a quest (there’s a good trope for ya). They are tracking an athame, an enchanted and deeply magical blade, which has the power to vanquish an army of Fae spirits called fuath. Lyr believes the fuath are coming to claim him, and needs Aenor to track the athame – and since the blade is made of the bones of her people she is able to “listen” for it. She, like a siren, has the ability to use music to enchant, but also to track, meaning she can “hear” the athame. The adventure really begins when they find themselves in Israel, via portal for which only Lyr has the key, fighting a horde of possessed fae warriors, being chased by an unknown ancient fae, and a surprise foe controlling the fuath.

There are so many variations on Fae lore, that it’s hard to follow when the myth doesn’t exactly line up with other Fae lore I’ve read. This one felt semi-hard to follow – it’s kind of all over the place, the Fae race isn’t exactly homogeneous like it is in other lore, in other books. For example, there isn’t a lot of glamour used which is confusing – but it is established very briefly in the book that humans know of Fae and their roles in keeping demons, goblins, and illegal magical peoples in check. The fact that humans know about the Fae AND the fact that they CAN lie make this a weird lore for me. If a Fae gives their solemn oath, then it’s unbreakable (the fae that breaks an oath will die), but they can otherwise lie. They also have no regard for human law, Fae law is eminent, but what exactly fae law is is never really established clearly. Another problem I have is that Crawford has crammed SO MUCH into the lore, like portals to other worlds, gods and demigods, athame, fae with wings like butterflies, immortality, magic, fae languages…it makes it REALLY difficult to sort through and follow.  The settings could also have been more played up, the sights and textures and such. Some places are described vividly – I mean you can almost SMELL the dungeon Lyr locks Aenor in at the beginning. But Jerusalem, which is a SIGNIFICANT city to say the least, is just a vague sand-colored background where none of the magic or violence is glamored from the humans? I don’t know how big of a fan I am of Stockholm syndrome, either – falling in love/lust with the captor, it’s a little predictable. But the constant action is enough to pull off the concept, because they do need each other multiple times.

HOWEVER – I still LOVE Aenor and Lyr together. There’s some good sexual chemistry, but I don’t know how much intellectual chemistry they have, it seems to be all sex, which is still good because it adds to the tension and their protectiveness of each other. (If that’s something you’re sensitive about, just be aware that you’ll see some graphic sex scenes and some cursing.) I’m hoping to see some mention of the concept of “mates” in the second book, because that would explain the intense attraction and pull they have for each other. I wish there was more character development, as I’m not as attached to either character as I want to be. I would love to see some more fleshing-out of personalities in the second book, too. I *do* love that Aenor went from an opulent princess life to living in a tunnel – but still wears high heels with her shorts and t-shirts. Also: Lyr is Mr. Broody McBroodster – which you KNOW Lillian and I LOVE. 

I honestly could not put this book down, the action is non-stop. I have to know what happens and how it all wraps up. I have questions that I need answers to! The romantic in me hopes Lyr and Aenor are mates (or some approximation thereunto) and end up together happily ever after and make little royal/demigod golden babies with blue hair (what can I say..I love blue hair). Is this book going to deeply affect me? Probably not. Overall, I’m still glad I read it, and I’d love for you to read it, too.

About C.N. Crawford

C. N. Crawford is not one person but two. We write our novels collaboratively, passing our laptops back and forth to edit each other's words.

Christine (C) has a lifelong interest in New England folklore - with a particular fondness for creepy old cemeteries. Nick (N) spent his childhood reading fantasy and science fiction which may partly explain why he is also a scientist.

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