Title: The Soldati Prince (Soldati Hearts #1)
Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 23, 2016
Genre(s): Gay Contemporary fantasy
Page Count: 97 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
One moment Riley Murrough is living a normal life working in a coffee shop, and the next he’s running for his life from demons, learns he bears the mark of a shape-shifter king from a magical realm, and—worst of all—he’s destined to become the mated prince to the arrogant tiger shifter he would rather strangle.
Khalon, the shifter king, is equally distraught at the idea of being bound to a human prince, and along with his Soldati warriors, he sets out to return Riley to his own world where he belongs. On their journey they might discover why the priestess brought them together—if they can escape the demons and make it to her alive.
This is a well-written contemporary fantasy novella. Similar in some respects to the author’s THIRDS series but this is clearly in the fantasy genre. The characterization is good as is the contextualization. Whilst this story begins in the ‘real world’ most of the content is based in a hidden region that is more classical in its setting. Given the size of the work it is understandable that there is no extensive crossing between the two worlds, although the parallels and relationship is explored throughout. There are however a couple of areas where there is a lack of clarity. The ease with which the human copes with the extremes of the new reality is at times frustrating, but then it is later shown that he is really a Soldati. How this is possible is not explained. Similarly, the shifters stay hidden in their world as well as hiding from humans, but then so do the demons. It is unclear how the demons are contained within the hidden realm and why they hide from humans.
There is a strong positive bond between all the lead characters as well as an instant attraction between the two central actors. As with other aspects of the story the reasons for this underlying attraction are not fully explored
There is good pace to the novella with some tension throughout. There is a clear goal provided although this ultimately is a means to an end.
There is significant scope for this story to be developed more fully, either as a full novel or as the first in a series. The characters and their world are appealing and would make further tales attractive to readers of this genre.