Heir of Starlight
Title : Heir of Starlight
Series : Sea of Stars, Book #2
Author : Nicole Kimberling
Publisher : Samhain (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Fantasy
Length : 200 pages (e-book)
Published : June 25, 2013
Trust is the only light that will guide them home.
Sea of Stars, Book 2
It’s been seven years since Karl Alton sublet his human body and let his soul be transferred to an orangutan. Now that the contract is up, Karl is ready to live a less hairy existence. Except his body has been stolen.
Devastated, Karl turns to his boss, Lord Adam Wexley, for legal advice. But instead of using his noble connections, Adam realizes they need to fight magic with better magic. And there’s only one man for the job: Adam’s ex-lover, Grand Magician Zachary Drake.
Once, Drake sacrificed his prized independence to save Adam’s soul. Now under the thumb of the West Court, he’s been forced to create a terrible weapon and bound to a vow of silence. Yet when Adam comes to him for help, no amount of bitterness over his lot will let him refuse.
Soon they discover that Karl’s missing body is only one thread connected to a plot to destroy the kingdom. And now the desperate race is on to find who—or what—has a finger on the trigger.
Contains vengeful bankers, noble lawyers, waxed divers who don’t wear wetsuits, and one trip to the vice principal’s office.
This book can certainly be read as a stand- alone, the author does a great job incorporating necessary background information, but seriously, do yourself a favor and read the amazing Ghost Star Night first. That story is fantastic and I believe Heir will be even more enjoyable to readers that have full benefit of the incredible world building and character history told there.
I am stating right here and now that the predecessor to this story, Ghost Star Night, left a very profound impression on me when I first read it nearly 4 years ago, and that impression held true on a recent re-read. I was over the moon to discover that I was being given the privilege of reviewing the sequel, Heir of Starlight. Needless to say, the anticipation for this book has been long and strong, and I’m very happy to relay, Nicole Kimberling delivers – fantastically!! 😀
The story begins 7 years after we have last seen the characters of Ghost Star Night. It boasts an elaborate plot with multiple threads that the author combines fabulously to create a truly captivating read. Tom Myrdin (although he goes by Gantry these days) is having premonitions. This is nothing new…however these involve notably confounding and disturbing signs. Even though Tom’s legal guardian is Grand Magician Drake, Tom is living and training with his custodian Madame Gantry, who just happens to be the Guardian of the City. Although she is in rapidly failing health, Madame Gantry is feeling these signs as well. While Tom’s powers are great, and he is heir apparent of the Guardian title, he has not been fully instated as such by the King. Thus, his avenue of investigating the signs and acting on them is limited.
Karl Alton’s soul has inhabited the body of an orangutan for several years, ever since he sublet his body for reasons he has never discussed with anyone. The contract is expiring, the time has come for him to reclaim his human body. Only…not so fast. Seems Karl’s body has been lost – or stolen. Enter Adam Wexley, who for several years now has been not only Karl’s boss and friend, but a lawyer representing The Inhabited Animal Defense League.
Upon hearing of Karl’s plight, Adam realizes they are going to need some powerful assistance in solving the mystery. Karl is surprised to hear that Adam intends to pay a visit to Grand Magician Drake. Oh, yes. That. It seems it’s surprising because Adam left Drake 5 years earlier to strike out on his own and find a bigger purpose in life. He’s found that purpose, but how will Drake feel about having Adam appear once again in his home, and yes, in his very life?
Hmmm, yes..Drake. We find him living a rather bleak emotional existence under the thumb of Lady Langdon and the West Court. Seems he signed a contract with them binding him in more ways than was initially realized. Save for the existence of Tom in his life, Drake pretty much lacks a sense of purpose since Adam walked out and effectively broke his heart. He is now obligated to do the bidding of Lady Langdon, although the time may have come for him to refuse, given her latest devious project and schemes ….the ominous Zero gun, an insidious soul swapping plot and an action that Drake dreads beyond most anything else…
While investigating the disappearance of Karl’s body, Drake, Adam, Karl and Tom discover something far more sinister than just the illegal trade of soulless bodies. Indeed they find themselves pawns in a power struggle that includes the very throne of the city. Can they foil the plot? Who will be left with political power, with magical prowess? Will they all make it out, body and soul?
Along the way the men also make some personal discoveries…and re-discoveries. 😉 Throughout this search there is a large focus of on Tom and the increasingly alarming premonitions and signs of impending doom that he is experiencing …just what are those squiggles?? How do they figure in with what else is going on? We find out a lot more about Karl, why he sublet his body, the quirks of his personality, what his dreams had been – and may continue to be.
I really enjoyed how Karl and Tom grew as friends to something more. Especially since most of this kindling of their relationship occurred while Karl was still in the body of an orangutan, and of course Tom being under the effects of a spell that had taken 18 years off his physical body, but left him with the experiences of his true age of nearly twice that (hey, where do I sign up for that spell?).
Once Adam and Drake were in each other’s presence again, there was no denying their pull on each other. I found their reconciliation process to be touching and very effective – low on angst and high on passion. Drake had dreamed of it and apparently Adam had not realized how deeply his leaving had affected both Drake and himself. Once they were back together – aided both by circumstance and their friends – it was so obvious the two were where they belonged. ♥
I so love this world that overlaps the existence of a seemingly contemporary society with mythical occurrences such as soul swapping, magicians, guardian stars and inhabited animals. Nicole Kimberling’s imagination is a wonderful thing!
The climax of the story is amazing, surprising, and deftly intertwines all the story arcs. Plenty of room remains to explore what happens next in this world to these characters. Karl and Tom were vibing all over the place during the story but did not really become a couple until near the end. I would love to see where that relationship leads. I fervently hope the author plans on more in this series. I would really enjoy exploring more of this fantastic world with the characters I have come to love.
Rated 5 stars by Dianne