Note: This review contains some spoilers about the events of the previous book in the series. Continue reading at your own risk.
In the wake of the executions that came at the end of the last book, Law of Beauty, things start to settle down for the new cubi king Daniel. But there’s still a lot to do, like solidify the cubi’s relationship with the two nations they share with the humans. With his two lovers Seladon and Caledon, the young king starts to focus on the future, of all his people.
This eighth installment of the Cubi series, on the surface, doesn’t seem to be “about” anything, yet there is a message below the surface, and it’s implied by the title of the book. While the cubi prize beauty to the point of vanity, since it is after all how they seduce humans to feed them, there are those among them that at least temporarily aren’t very pretty. Most of them are the guards who have fought to defend the cubi from the recent human attacks, yet they’re hidden away because their wounds make them unattractive. Even Daniel doesn’t know of their existence until the old king Elakdon brings them to his attention.
While the book may lack any big dramatic turns, it still manages to draw you into the everyday cubi world and make you want to keep reading to find out what happens next. The author has quite a knack for slipping in seemingly inconsequential scenes that turn out to be significant a few chapters later. This is how the underlying theme of the book slowly creeps into the story line without you really noticing it.
It’s quite remarkable that, even with many months between installments of the series, you can quite easily re-enter the fantasy world the books have created. That’s in large part because the characters remain so consistent. And, even though there are a large number of secondary characters, the focus is always on the young king and his two lovers. It can be difficult keeping track of all the people around Daniel, but there’s usually enough of a reminder about who they are to jog your memory.
“Unseen Beauty” is available from Amazon.