“A Taste of Gold and Iron” by Alexandra Rowland: Gorgeous Romance

Kadou, the shy prince of Arasht, finds himself at odds with one of the most powerful ambassadors at court―the body-father of the queen’s new child―in an altercation which results in his humiliation.

 

To prove his loyalty to the queen, his sister, Kadou takes responsibility for the investigation of a break-in at one of their guilds, with the help of his newly appointed bodyguard, the coldly handsome Evemer, who seems to tolerate him at best. In Arasht, where princes can touch-taste precious metals with their fingers and myth runs side by side with history, counterfeiting is heresy, and the conspiracy they discover could cripple the kingdom’s financial standing and bring about its ruin. 

There are two reasons I really loved this story. It has a gorgeous romance and in addition, among all the politics and intrigue, is an excellent depiction of anxiety. But there is so much to this novel that I think even if you don’t prefer romance, you will still find yourself enjoying this story.

The author introduces an intriguing world to begin with. The Prince Kadou is not the ruler, his sister is, which is intriguing enough. Then add in that she is not married to nor intends to marry the father of her child. Kadou has interesting skills, the ability to touch-taste precious metals which will aid him or possibly bring about his downfall, depending on the intrigues and conspiracy they must combat. 

As for the romance, I love that the pair do not start out liking each other. Evemer is very dedicated and while he eventually grows to like Kadou, the two must come together to combat the intrigue and political conspiracy that could ruin the kingdom. I love that part of the worldbuilding is in their interactions, explaining how society is run in this fantasy world but also giving us a taste of the diversity and characters that are incredibly interesting. In addition, Kadou struggles with anxiety, fear as he calls it and it is an excellent depiction of that condition as we get to see how he deals with the condition and finds ways to work with it in his daily life. 

While I fell in love with Kadou and Evemer, it is not only these two that are so fun to read. I also love the secondary characters, Kadou’s sister, his previous bodyguard, the variety of people surrounding and protecting him. It also offers such a diversity with those who don’t identify as male or who identify and gender neutral, all written so seamlessly into this breathtaking world.

If you love rich worldbuilding, diverse characters, and a truly gorgeous romance between two men, I highly recommend this novel. I wanted more immediately and am hopeful there will be a second novel set in this world with these characters.

Rating: 5 out of 5 bodyguards

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