Title: The King’s Courage (North Pole Tales #6)
Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 20, 2017
Genre(s): Gay Seasonal Fantasy
Page Count: 77 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
With the wedding of Jack Frost and Rudy Rein Dear only three weeks away, everyone travels to Jack’s palace in Svalbard, Norway, where the happy couple will exchange vows beneath the northern lights. Festivities have been planned leading up to the wedding, and Dasher eagerly anticipates not just the fun, but staying under the same roof as the blustering winter spirit who’s caught his eye—the King of Frost, Jack’s father.
A long-ago tragedy has left Eirik fearing to ever love again. As the King of Frost, Eirik maintains his distance from everyone, especially the young Christmas elf who insists on intruding on Eirik’s solitude. But Dasher is determined to find a way to show the lonely king that his heart still beats and he shouldn’t fear allowing it to beat for another.
This is the sixth in a series of seasonal short stories. Each is a stand-alone tale but, having just re-read the full series, they make far more sense when built on what has gone before. Some context is provided to each story but this is not fully developed. The benefit of this is that there is little repetition when read in one go. Each tale is a love story that explains the development of the relationship between two characters. A secondary plotline, usually only one, provides context as well as challenge and reward for the lovers.
There is some development of backstory as well as world building. Where provided it is well done and is realistic in the context of the story. Characterisation is effective and the personalities are interesting and fleshed out with enough depth to keep the reader interested.
The lead characters in this tale have both been introduced in earlier stories as has the initial interactions. In this case it was necessary to do so given the individuals concerned and their roles. It becomes apparent that both need love and are a matched pair both emotionally and historically. The emotions and sex are presented well although the differences between the characters do make this less credible in the timespan provided.
There is a steady pace throughout; with light tension there is little need to rush a short story of this length. The book can be read at a single sitting but is not so short as to trivialise the content.
A happy ending is provided, which is in keeping with the rest of the series. It is noticeable, as the series progresses, the development of backstory and context allows for the potential of richer stories in future. These are enjoyable reads.