Review: Black Snow by EAB

Prince Brier Snow has lived in the shadow of King Snow’s exalted memory. However, his fate changes when he nears his majority and Lirend’s steward queen attempts to dethrone him by exploiting an obscure requirement in the late king’s will: a yearlong sabbatical.

Brier travels to the desolate land of Aire to train under the Ceve guild, scorned refugees of war, including their guarded leader, Roland. Brier’s skillful master unlocks hidden potential, and what begins as a dutiful bond turns into ill-fated affection. When Brier returns to the capital, he’s carrying proof of his indiscretions with Roland—and his condition grows more apparent with each passing day. An affair with the huntsman is a scandal Brier’s enemies can use against him, but the birth of an heir is a burden even Brier is not sure he can bear.

Roland Archer, a man with a murky past, is skeptical of the contract to train the prince but willing to do anything for the guild’s freedom. Despite his best intentions, he is smitten by Lirend’s future king. Roland has resigned himself to solitude, but fate has other plans—for him, for Brier, and for Lirend’s oppressed subjects. Can Roland help Brier face a power-hungry queen and a country torn asunder? Either they will bring equality to a land that desperately needs it, or they’ll be thwarted by cunning enemies and an illusory curse.

Wow and wow again. This book was something else and that is a high compliment with lack of better words. I am going to try and review this with some sort of meaning but there was a lot going on in this story. Beware, this shall be Rambling Review by Red.

First, this is a long book but now that I look back at my notes, it almost reads as three books in one. You have the beginning which is about Brier being sent on his sabbatical and all he learns in life and love with Roland. You have Brier’s return to Avenough and the whole Mpreg deal that I LOVED from the realization the King is knocked up to the birth *smirks* and what Brier’s body allows him to do. And then you have the reveal, the lies brought forth and all the deceit that comes with it to the end. BUT… there is an epilogue and at first I wasn’t buying it and full on side eyed it but what I was given at the end… OH HELL YEAH. *grabby hands* Gimme the next book.

I have to gush about the cover for a bit because it’s gorgeous. Honestly, it’s what drew me to the book but when you realize how well it fits, when you actually get those moments of intimacy with Roland and Brier, the cover is so damn swoony. I just can’t take it.
“But how did she come to love the prince who had only loved her for her beauty when the huntsman had loved her for her heart?”
“How indeed.”
“And the poor huntsman, who had died, rather than to disgrace himself with the blood of his beloved. ’Tis a sad story indeed, Marietta.” Brier pouted. “Although you said it was a happy end.”
“Well….” Marietta sighed, bemused. “I did not think of it in that way, little prince.”
“I think that I should marry a huntsman over a prince,” Brier decided as he flopped his head into the mountain of pillows, smiling softly.
“And why not a princess?” the nurse questioned, crossing her arms.
“That is because I should like to be kissed by a huntsman,” Brier answered matter-of-factly
So, from the prologue we know this is a tale based upon the Snow White fairy tale with a twist. I adored how we got a young prince Brier being told the story and how at the end, he declares he wants to be kissed by a huntsman rather than a prince. I mean, why wouldn’t he when the huntsman wouldn’t kill Snow White because he fell in love with her heart and the prince fell in love with her beauty. It was adorable to see Brier’s reaction and it gave foreshadowing to the story, even if you didn’t know the tale of Snow White.

So Prince Brier who has not yet reached his majority to take the throne as king, is sent by his evil queen and step mother on a sabbatical to learn how to hunt, fight and all that stuff you need to learn to be a man. *grins* He is sent with Roland Archer, a huntsman whom he will live with for the year. Brier is intrigued and quite quickly has a crush on his new, “Master” but Roland is so stand offish. *sigh* There is a total teacher/student as well as a May/December and maybe a bit of Dom/Sub going on with these two and let me tell you it’s beautiful. I loved every single slow burn moment of the sabbatical and it broke my heart.

I won’t go into too much detail because I think it is total plot spoiler but this book is gorgeous.

Prince Brier has silver leaf markings on his skin that have grown from a single leaf at birth to cover most of this body. Brier has been told they are an abomination by his step monster and he is ashamed of the marks or as he calls them scars and is careful to hide them. Yet Brier remembers being told they are more, a gift and would be known once their magic is revealed. Yeah, I know. What the hell are you talking about Sara? I am just trying to throw the fact out there that they exist and are magic and yup. There is a point and maybe you could read the story to find out, eh?
“Does this mean you’ve taken a liking to me after all, little prince?”
So anyway. Brier and Roland spend almost a year together BUT... directly after the little prince’s swoony birthday aka his majority and becoming a man, a knock at the door comes at the crappiest time. Brier is being fetched early for his coronation and taken away from Roland with a crumbled note from the queen. Ugh. What was in that note? What is Roland hiding? Oh boy, when we find out I was shocked and then fell in love with how this story blends that of Snow White with this all together new tale of Prince Snow.

Here is where part-one ends and my heart begins to break. Goodness. There was angst in this book I was not prepared for but the blurb does tell us Brier goes back and is knocked up with Roland’s baby. *rubs hand together* I was dying for the pregnancy part to begin and hoped it would take the pain of angst away for a bit.

Alone and without one another, the men struggle. Roland reveals what was asked of him after he left the queen and that he couldn't go through with it. IF you know the story of snow white, you’ll know what was asked and what decision THAT huntsman made. Sigh. This book hurt my heart after it built it up with such a slow burn romance. I hated the men apart but seeing Brier come into his own as King Snow was lovely and how he began to indeed put forth all he told Roland he would, hurt my heart. I wasn’t a fan of the separation and really just wanted to get to the part where Brier finds out he is knocked up and oh holy hell, how will Roland take that news.
His whole life he’d worried about his image and his kingdom. To ignore the whispers about his scars, and his kingship? He’d never thought of it that way.
When the couple are reunited once again and learn of Brier carrying their unborn child, they decide to be together and leave it to the wit of Marietta to decide that Roland shall be Brier's guard, giving him immediate and constant access to the man he loves and his king. But Brier still does not know of the contract Roland took and the shame he feels and I did not want him to ever find out.

I’m not a fan of lying in real life. It’s the worst thing you can do to me but in fiction, in fantasy, I get why characters do it even if I don’t like it. But this, I felt the shame and the uncertainty Roland felt of telling Brier the truth and losing his love forever. They have this connection the King and the Huntsman that wove its spell around my hopeless romantic heart and I wanted nothing more for them to be together happy and in love.

I’m going to toss this out there, I was never a fan of Prince Quintin and quite seriously side eyed him throughout the book. I thought he was always the bad guy, I felt as if he was lying 99% of the time and I don’t know why but I never felt his declarations to Brier. They felt false and maybe I was just biased because I was head over feet in love with Roland but I wanted to just shove my hand in Quintin’s face and push him back to Menlor where he belonged. I do know his reason for being there, wanting and loving Brier for his beauty just like the prince with Snow White but he bothered me. His forever company of Lord Renli who I was certain from the first meeting had to be a snake did not help his campaign with me either. Ugh.

I have to say that my first official Mpreg book was amazing. I was excited to be with Brier and Roland as they found out Brier was pregnant and how it was possible. I loved Brier going through pregnancy and loving the suffering we women go through to give birth and then the birth came. I don’t know what I was expecting but I freaking love how it was handled and how Brier’s body adapted afterward. The bit of kink tossed in with Brier’s new body is not something I had every read before but it worked for me because it worked for them and really, Roland that way was sexy.

Like I said, this is a pretty long book and felt like three in one so long book, long review.

After the birth, the couple decide to move on with their relationship even though Roland would never be accepted on the throne because Brier is Aurelian - A person of noble birth. Usually wealthy Lords and Ladies. Have immense influence in the court and Roland is Thenian or Xenothian - A derogatory name for a refugee from Thenia. Low class, with no rights. So you see, the king can’t marry a low class citizen but thankfully Brier doesn’t fucking care what anyone else thinks because he is in love and the man he loves adores him but… the man he loves still has a secret and like all good secrets, they are revealed in dramatic form.

Now we come to part three and another session of ripping my heart out. This part was painful and I read a good part of it through my fingers. The love Brier and Roland have should not be put asunder and though I know Brier’s reason for his actions, they hurt me dammit. But it was necessary to go through to get to the end and that’s all I am going say about part three…sigh.

The end was amazing and exactly what I wanted and then I turned the page and got an epilogue. As I said before it was NOT what I was expecting and when we get WHO our MC wants… I wasn’t thrilled and then a kiss happened and I was all FUCK YEAH! I am all in how long do I have to wait???

So if you can’t tell by the many, many words I have rambled through on this review, I loved this book. Brier and Roland are gorgeous. The side characters were amazing and I adored the guild and those who Brier held close to him. This was such a wonderfully rich and romantic story that I am exhausted from it now in the best possible way.

Le Sigh.

Find more info on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

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