The Emperor of Evening Stars
by Laura Thalassa
Published by Lavabrook Publishing Group
Novella 2.5 in the Bargainer Series
In the beginning, there was darkness.
Before he met Callie, before he became the Bargainer, there was Desmond Flynn, the bastard son of a scribe. A boy born to a weak mother, cursed with little magic, and destined to marry a slave.
But fate had something else in mind.
Till darkness dies.
From the barren caves of Arestys to the palace of Somnia to the streets of earth, this is how Desmond Flynn, a fairy who began with nothing, became the Emperor of Evening Stars.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Violence Urban Fantasy Very interesting
Trigger warning: Rape and abuse discussed
The Emperor of Evening Stars by Laura Thalassa is the novella in her Bargainer series. It begins as a prequel of sorts, following Des's story, from his childhood, to the moment the second book of the Bargainer series ends. It gives fans a lot of insight as to why Des is the way he is, what happened with his parents, how he became king, how his powers work, his inner thoughts and his feelings for Callie.
I wasn't a huge fan of the second book, and I honestly questioned whether or not I wanted to spend time reading this novella. I didn't have a whole lot of hope that Laura Thalassa could write a novella that only features the romance in the last half of the book. I went ahead with it, and I am so glad I did. The Emperor of Evening Stars renewed my waning interest in the series. It was delightfully original, and despite featuring Callie and Des from Des's POV, it wasn't repetitive. A lot of the time, we got new "scenes" of them hanging out. The moments that feature in the past books, feel surprisingly fresh from Des's POV. I devoured this novella, and it made me excited to read the third book.
How does it happen that a novella surpasses one of the books? Whether its because we get a new perspective, or it's because the Otherworld and characters felt more rich, I am not sure. What I am sure of? If you like the Bargainer series, or it's on your TBR, read this novella. You don't want to miss it.
Des killing the slave traders, and turning the gang into something better
Des swearing to the Undying Gods that when he is able to, he will search for his soulmate, and love her.
Des killing his father
Des meeting Callie, and what he does with her stepfather
Des taking care of Callie when she was sick
Des holding her after the assault, and then going after the teacher
Des taking her around the world
Des taking Callie to the dance
The barrier finally breaking
How to you fight the darkness? You refuse to let it snuff out your light.
Des: "If company's what you want, then you should've taken Kaelie up on her offer."
Vale: "Aye, if I tool Kaelie up on her offer, I'd be scratching my balls for weeks and praying to ye old gods for deliverance."
Prophetess: "Oh, and be kind to your dear human mate. You really don't deserve her."
I swear to the Undying Gods that once I'm able to, I will scour the earth for my soulmate. I'll put my past behind me and focus on the future. And when I find her - if I find her - I won't waste time fearing what others will think. I'll cherish her, respect her, love her.
For all the days of her mortal life, I'll claim her as mine.
Galleghar: "I figure you got more of your mother's traits than mine."
Des: "I pray to the gods, you're right."
Prophetess: "Your human mate is going to drive you half insane before you find her, and even more so once you do."
It's sometime in the deep night, hours after I should've left, when it hits me for the first time -
I love her. Those three words just pop into my head, fully formed.
I love her.
This isn't some bond-borne magic being shoved down my throat. This isn't even romance. This is love-you-till-your-skin-sags-off-your-bones. Love you till then and beyond. It's not lustful, it's not selfish or petty. It's what has me lingering in Callie's room right now when I should be collecting bargains or ruling my kingdom because I can't stand the thought of her being sick and alone. It's what's made me flee Callie's room every time she gets too close because this emotion is bigger than me - bigger than the night itself - and I want things for her that my presence can't give her, like a chance to be a teenager.
It's loving Callie's heart and mind over her face and body.
She's going to break me. I fell in love with this woman's darkness, with her pain and vulnerability. That had been enough. But when she laughs - when she laughs, that's when I realize I'm a ruined man.
Des: "One day I won't have to leave you."
Love. This is love.
It's being bewitched by the curve of her lips and the way the light makes her eyes glitter. It's enjoying her vulnerability because only Callie could spend a hundred nights with me and still be unsure about my feelings for her. It's wanted to buy her a cup of coffee and some macaroons just to see her smile, or making her homework dance around her desk so I can hear her laugh. It's all those nights I fled her room because I was afraid of her seeing me just as she has every other man in her life. It's holding her close when she cries because her pain is my own and the world won't be right until it's gone.
I've held her a thousand time in my dreams and I have died a thousand times upon waking.
Des: "And mountains may rise and fall, and the sun might wither away, and the sea claim the land and swallow the sky. But you will always be mine. And the stars might falls from the heavens, and night might cloak the earth, but until darkness dies, I will always be yours."
Check out the rest of the Bargainer series below