I received this book for free from The Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on October 22, 2022
Genres: Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling, Fantasy, LGBT, Love & Romance, Romance
Source: The Author
The Court Jester marks his targets with a ribbon. That’s how I find out I’m next.
The moment that band of scarlet fabric appears on my pillow, I know it’s a promise—a bad omen delivered by someone wicked.
He’s powerful. He’s sinful.
The jester rules this sensual court more than the king. Words are his weapon. He can ruin you as quickly as he can steal your virtue.
They whisper about him in the castle’s shadowed halls. Everyone fears his devilish tongue, yet everyone desires his heated touch.
With each seductive temptation, I fall under the jester’s spell. With every forbidden moment, he ignites a fire that I’ve never known before.
But the jester is guarding a treasonous secret. And wanting him is dangerous.
As a good little princess, I should know. Because if I don’t risk my ruin, I’ll surely sacrifice my heart.
It’s a rare event that I get to review one of my favourite books for a second time! This is a new edition of Trick and it kickstarts a new series of books set in the Foolish Kingdoms world with extra spice and more adult content and themes. Can’t wait to dive in!
Before I get into the nitty gritty, I just want to make clear that I am on the author’s ARC Team but that in no way affects the content of my review – all opinions are my own. I am, as always, very grateful to Natalia Jaster and it’s a huge privilege to be one of the lucky ones who get a chance at being an early reader.
Trick is one of my favourite books ever so I was really curious as to whether or not the changes to the story would enhance or detract from the original tale. It had also been a year or two since I’d read Trick (and I was due a re-read anyway) so when this ARC landed in my inbox I was more than ready to take another tumble into this world.
The overall story remains pretty much the same: a disciplined and principled princess meets a roguish court jester and over the course of the book they fall deeply in love despite their different stations in life.
Briar and Poet stole my heart from the very first pages of Trick and that hasn’t changed at all in this new, racier version. Where this revised edition really sets itself apart is by how much richer and fuller the world is; yes, it is a lot more erotic and steamy (that goes without saying!) but the real beauty is in the way the characters feel even more well-rounded and the story really benefits from the more mature viewpoints.
Briar is one of my favourite heroines; she is upright, and comes across a little uptight at first, but when you realise the reasons for this you cannot help but love her all the more. She is a girl whose past actions have had deadly consequences (which she blames herself for even though the events were not fully her fault). Briar is forthright and cares deeply even if she hides herself behind an aloof mask.
Poet is a remarkable hero; clever and sharp-tongued. A commoner by birth, he has maneuvered himself into the role of advisor to his royal patrons. He has good reasons for why he has put himself into this untenable position; he wants to help guide change for how the kingdoms view and treat those they consider lesser: those who have the misfortune to have mental disabilities which makes them property of each kingdom’s monarchs and who are treated with disdain and often outright cruelty.
When Briar and Poet meet; sparks fly. Their connection is not immediately romantic (though you could make the argument that the attraction was there from the start). Briar is predisposed to dislike everything about this seemingly carefree jester and hates that he has such a hold over everyone, most particularly her good friend Elliot. Poet, in return, finds great delight in mocking this unfeeling princess.
However, events transpire which throws this unlikely pairing together and they both discover hidden depths within each other. Briar isn’t as cold and unfeeling as she seems, nor is Poet the rake he so often makes himself out to be. A deep connection forms and the unlikely twosome find joy and freedom in each other’s embrace.
Yet, their world is not forgiving of certain transgressions and Briar and Poet will have to fight if they want to keep their relationship and families together and bring the change that each of them so dearly wants for their world.
This book is just sheer perfection; every time I’ve read this series I find new things to discover and now reading this revised version there is so much more to find that it has made my head spin. It took me a while to gather all my thoughts (which is why I’m a little bit late with my review) but I wanted to do this book justice (and not re-tread over my previous review which you can find here).
Everything I loved about Trick before has only been amplified here with this extended cut. The characters (which were already so well-defined) have even more flavour and the world-building is more richly detailed than ever before. Briar and Poet are of course the heart of the story, but the supporting characters (darling Nicu, Jinny, Elliot, Briar’s mother and the ladies-in-waiting) also get more chance to shine.
I also raged with Poet and Briar over the treatment of the so-called ‘fools’ and despaired with them at how slowly changing attitudes and policies take. I want to wrap all of them up in a big hug! I know where the story eventually winds up but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t frustrated at the awful prejudices the courts displayed. It’s still so hard to read about but I am also glad that it is given focus; it’s an important topic that will always resonate with me.
to sum up
Briar and Poet have my whole heart, their love story and the various setbacks they face is deepened and given more focus – I honestly didn’t think it was possible but this book just gives more and more without becoming too much. It’s really hard to put into words but there is just so much more to love.
I am so glad that Natalia Jaster has returned to this series. I have loved all of her output but the Foolish Kingdoms books hold a very special place in my heart and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here!