Release Day Review: The King's Courage, by Charlie Cochet
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.
Candy Cane Perfection!
With every story in the North Pole City Tales series, there's a warmth and a sweetness behind the romances that just makes me love each book more than the last. As the final book in the series, The King's Courage is my ultimate favourite, unsurpassed by the others. It's beautiful, heartbreaking, and quite scandalous when it wants to be. It's everything I could have ever wanted from this story and more.
I can't say too much about the plot, because it would ruin the surprise, but I'll admit that I was crying before the book even reached the halfway mark, and again after that. There was so much emotion and story told in such few pages that it shouldn't have been possible to feel as connected to the story and the characters as deeply as I did. But the genius of this series is that each book has a link to the next, so we've known Dasher and the King since book one, even if their parts were small. We know them, we know their stories – or, at least, part of their stories – and there's less need for long explorations of who they are or their backgrounds.
Dasher was a bright, lovely character who reminded me of Vixen, a little. Both had been hurt and put on a mask to hide that hurt for too long. Eirik, the King, was a broken, lonely man until Dasher came along. Seeing them together, their chemistry is so brilliantly written, and I love how they become playful and open with each other. Yet it still manages to be gradual and gentle between them. There's heat – Holy Christmas, is there heat! – with the snowball fight and the whispers on the wind showing just how naughty they can be, but there's also tenderness and uncertainty, fear and doubt. In fact, it's probably the hottest, most scandalous book of the series, what with that beautiful moment of a father-son bonding conversation being sealed by Jack's parting words about that desk drawer!
Overall, I love it. From the world building, characterisation and plotting of the series, nothing has changed – it's just as brilliant as when I read the first book. Only, this time, I felt like I was returning to my favourite Christmas holiday spot, meeting old friends and celebrating their good fortune with them. The King's Courage might be the last in the series, but it's a perfect round up of all the stories, of the sweetness and spice, and a perfect ending for a perfect series. Charlie Cochet has surpassed themselves with this one.
I've just seen that the series will be compiled into a paperback, so guess what I'm getting for Christmas? Because this series is a re-read every single Christmas and there's no way I don't want a paperback where I can binge read from one to the other without even moving!