Fae Syren has been alone in his forest pool for 300 years, ever since his human lover sacrificed himself to help create a “break” between the human and fae worlds. Otherwise, the fae, led by a cruel prince, would have wiped out the humans. Syren was the only fae left on the human side, and his only company, aside from the magical sword that killed his beloved, is a bluebird he named Beryl. Now, the barrier between the human and fae worlds is weakening, helped along, it seems, by the foolish king's construction of an opulent palace on the site where the fae queen's castle once stood. When the new palace suddenly vanishes, it takes the king and most of the royal family with it. The only heir to the throne left is the king's bastard son Audric. Although unprepared for the responsibilities, Audric feels duty-bound to protect his people from the fae, and to do that he needs to obtain the sword from Syren's pond.
“Pool of Dreams” is a rather slow-burn romance that's also a bit angsty. That's generally a bad combination, and the story does drag a bit in spots. Fortunately, the characters' indecision is quite understandable in the circumstances, and the action side of the plot provides enough reason to keep reading.
The chapters alternate points of view between Syren and Audric so that we get to know them both quite well. Audric is a rather classic heroic underdog, a man who never thought to be king yet steps up to the task better than many of his detractors would. His attraction to the sharp-tongued fae seems to catch even him by surprise and sets up his dilemma as to whether or not he can put his happiness ahead of the kingdom.
Syren lives up to most of the canon regarding fae. He's arrogant and capricious, and doesn't think much of humans. But, it soon becomes apparent there's an immense sadness in him over what he's given up to create the barrier between the fae and human worlds. His aversion to being hurt again by falling for Audric is entirely understandable.
This book wants to be an epic love story, and it comes close, but doesn't quite hit it for me. Still, it's well worth the read.
“Pool of Dreams” is available from Amazon.