Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Archer’s Arrow

Author: A.J. Marcus
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62798-438-6
Genre: {M/M} contemporary Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

During his teenage years Robin Lockwood was an Olympic archer but he gave it up when the pressure got too much. Now he uses his archery skills to run a booth at the Ren Faire, traveling from one festival to another. He likes his life but it changes the day an arrow from his booth almost hits John—another faire worker.

John Aquitaine and his friend Pete have a comedy show at the faire. He’s shocked when a customer at the nearby archery booth almost shoots him with an arrow. The archer apologizes and sparks fly between them, but a childhood trauma haunts John, forcing their relationship to go slowly.  John still has nightmares and when he sees a familiar face in the audience one day, the memories come back and he knows his abuser’s identity.  When John is kidnapped by Uncle Fred once again, can Robin and their friends rescue him in time?

The Archer’s Arrow is the latest release in the Ren Faire Romances series by A.J. Marcus. As the series progresses and more recurring characters are added, I have to recommend the books be read in order.

There’s a lot about this series that I like—the setting and the vivid descriptions of the faire, the colorful secondary characters and the unique plot lines. I’m having more trouble with the couple in this one-John and Robin. It’s not that I don’t like them or can’t even see them as a couple. It’s how they became a ‘couple’ so quickly, considering the trauma John underwent as a child. This guy should have had counseling—he still needs counseling—and it’s never mentioned—a big niggle for me. And while I feel I know John and his background well, I’m struggling with Robin’s on more than a superficial level. Don’t get me wrong, Robin’s written as a kind, thoughtful and caring guy and he’s wonderful to John. I just think, to be realistic, their relationship needed more time. 

Now to other things. It was great seeing characters from the previous two books. They grounded the piece, added depth, friendship and a sense of community and family. External conflict abounds in this story, so look for some twists concerning John’s family.  Then there’s the villain of our story. It’s obvious from the blurb that it’s Uncle Fred, so it’s not a spoiler to say that he’s written well as a man filled with evil—his character is well done—even if he does deserve a knife through the heart. So, despite my niggles, it’s a worthwhile read—a case of good triumphing over evil. I can’t wait to see who will be featured next and will be watching for the next one.

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