cover image A Taste of Gold and Iron

A Taste of Gold and Iron

Alexandra Rowland. Tordotcom, $27.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-250-80038-1

Rowland (Finding Faeries) delivers a breathtakingly intimate narrative in this gorgeous fantasy, in which the political intrigue of a kingdom serves as backdrop to a romance between the softest of hearts. It ought to be a happy occasion when Prince Kadou Mahisti’s older sister, the sultan, gives birth to a daughter, but a break-in at one of the kingdom’s guilds that same night calls Kadou away. Already prone to bouts of debilitating worry, Kadou spirals when a minor confrontation with his niece’s father tragically escalates into an incident that causes the death of several of his bodyguards. His replacement bodyguard, Evemer Hoşkadem, comes off as cold and rigid—and he’s terrible at concealing his sour feelings toward a prince he thinks cowardly. Desperate to regain the perceived lost love of his sister, Kadou throws himself into investigating the break-in, dragging Evemer along with him, and the two are irrevocably bonded as they uncover a plot that puts both the royal family and the stability of the kingdom itself in danger. Rowland brings wonderful depth to the interpersonal relationships; the romance that blossoms between Kadou and Evemer puts fun, familiar tropes alongside soul-wrenching acts of devotion, and the familial bonds are just as well crafted. In exploring what monarchs owe their people, and what individuals owe each other, this achingly tender fantasy wows. (Aug.)