Series: Foolish Kingdoms #1
Published by CreateSpace on November 27, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling, Romance, LGBT
Source: I Bought It
There is a rule amongst his kind: A jester doesn’t lie.
In the kingdom of Whimtany, Poet is renowned. He’s young and pretty, a lover of men and women. He performs for the court, kisses like a scoundrel, and mocks with a silver tongue.
Yet allow him this: It’s only the most cunning, most manipulative soul who can play the fool. For Poet guards a secret. One the Crown would shackle him for. One that he’ll risk everything to protect.
Alas, it will take more than clever words to deceive Princess Briar. Convinced that he’s juggling lies as well as verse, this righteous nuisance of a girl is determined to expose him.
But not all falsehoods are fiendish. Poet’s secret is delicate, binding the jester to the princess in an unlikely alliance....and kindling a breathless attraction, as alluring as it is forbidden.
‘Trick’ by Natalia Jaster first came to my attention through the art work of Noverantale (go check out her work – you will not regret it!) It sounded so intriguing I just had to check it out for myself.
Well, to say I loved this book would be vastly underselling it. This was the book I didn’t know I needed in my life. I have read a lot (and I mean a lot) of fantasy. Some great, some average, some truly mediocre. I know when I have happened across something special. Believe me, ‘Trick’ is something very special.
One of my all-time favourite fantasy series is Robin Hobb’s epic ‘Realm of the Elderlings’. The Fool (her greatest creation) is my favourite literary character, bar none. So when I say that Poet is pretty much giving The Fool a run for his money – well, you know he means business!
I am going off on a tangent here, so I am going to try to bring it back round to the matter at hand; the monumental task of trying to convey just how much I love this book. Not to mention stopping this from sounding like a business transaction! So, without any further rambling, here is my review for ‘Trick’ – the first book in the Foolish Kingdoms series.
My Review of Trick by Natalia Jaster
The Kingdom of Whimtany is a whimsical place; a place where a court jester can hold power with his clever mind and deft tongue. It is also a place of great prejudice. Those deemed to be mad or foolish are cast out of society and treated with disdain and often cruelty.
The Autumn Kingdom is more accepting than most places and it is where our heroine, the Princess Briar, hails from. Briar is a disciplined and serious-minded girl. She has no time for frippery or foolishness. The only distraction she allows herself is spending time with her good friend Elliot on her annual visits to the Kingdom of Spring.
Poet is a jester, beloved by Spring’s royalty and common folk alike. Clever and cunning, wise and oftentimes manipulative, Poet is a source of both entertainment and guidance for his monarchs. Briar dislikes him instantly on principle. When she discovers her friend Elliot’s infatuation with the lyrical and handsome jester; she is even more predisposed to enmity with Poet, especially when he seems to delight in humiliating her at every turn.
Briar is convinced that Poet is a devious and malicious liar. Thinking him a fraudster of the highest level, she sets out to expose him. Unbeknownst to her however, Poet is hiding a secret; a very dangerous one. A game of cat and mouse entails but it isn’t until circumstances throws them together that Briar realizes that Poet is also kind, brave and someone she could fall in love with.
However, their fledgling courtship is soon put to the test. Briar has to make some very difficult choices. Can she truly trust this man and is she worthy of him in return?
My New OTP: Briar and Poet
Okay, let me start by saying how much I love both Briar and Poet. Poet stole my heart pretty much right away. Briar, well it took me longer to warm up to her but when I did, boy howdy! I think they are such a perfect match, so beautifully opposite and yet so right for each other. If only they could get their act together!
I wasn’t just enamoured with Poet and Briar. I pretty much loved all the side characters too. Elliot was a great character and I loved his and Briar’s friendship. I also loved Briar’s mother, the Queen. But by far and away my favourite secondary character was Nicu. Such a sweetheart, bless his heart. This soft boy deserves all the love in the world and I just wanted to wrap him up in cotton wool and make sure no one ever hurts this poor baby again. Ahem, I very protective of Nicu, alright? 🤗
the other stuff
The world-building in ‘Trick’ was absolutely amazing. There is much to fall in love with and I think the setting is fantastically detailed and thought-out. Also, I appreciated the underlying themes of prejudice against those with mental and physical disabilities. I don’t mean to say that I am for this in any way, shape, or form. Rather as someone who suffers with a mental illness myself, I know how it feels to be discriminated against and I applaud the author for including this in her story.
Natalia Jaster doesn’t shy away from difficult topics but handles them in a direct but sensitive way. Everything is not all sorted out by the end of the book by any means, but attitudes are starting to change and the protagonists are the trailblazers for that change.
The writing is also gorgeous – Natalia Jaster has a certain flair for lyrical prose. Poet’s dialogue is witty and sharp and he runs circles around most of the other characters. In Briar, he has found his match. They are both clever and brave and forward thinking.
Can I also say as well that the LGBT rep in this book was on point. There are various LGBT characters including Elliot who is gay. Poet is Bi and it’s a huge part of his characterization actually. Poet is a great lover of both men and women but when he falls, he falls hard for Briar. Their romance is positively swoon-worthy and I loved watching them go from adversaries to friends and then eventually to lovers. Enemies to lovers – this is a trope that hooks me in every time!
To Sum Up
Overall, I adore this book. It is one I will treasure and I know I am going to revisit it many times over. It is definitely a contender for one of my top 5 books I have read this year (and I have read a whole lot of fantastic books!) I have already read book two (and now three because I was so lucky to get an ARC from the author). The series just goes from strength to strength but Briar and Poet have captured a piece of my soul; they have carved out a space in my heart and I am not about to let them go anytime soon.
Seriously, I cannot recommend this book (and series) enough. Go on and give ‘Trick’ a whirl and you will see what I mean about this series being special. 😉