Review(Some Spoilers): Prince In Exile(Books 1-3) by HJ Bradley

Prince In Exile: Books 1-3
Covers of Prince In Exile(Books 1-3). Cover art by Gabrielle Prendergast. Published by Nightchaser Ink Publishing. To view the full covers visit H.J. Bradley’s profile on Goodreads.

Blurb for Prince In Exile: Book One

From Goodreads:

Ukonsaari.

Ruled for three hundred years by the greedy, jealous, and dangerous Ivanovs this island nation is on the verge of civil unrest. In the Autumn of 1979 the twenty-two year old Prince Teuvo executes his Grandfather the King, and prepares to take the throne in his stead. Yet on the eve of his coronation a military coup rises up and takes control of the country, leaving the young Prince to flee alongside his two lovers. With the fiery Princess Astrid and his ever faithful bodyguard Olani, Teuvo must seek asylum from Ukonsaari’s neighbours. Can they survive the gathering assassins, as well as the mysterious Mr. Black who promises to help him regain his homeland, or will this be the end of the Ivanovs?

Blurb for Prince In Exile: Book Two

From Goodreads:

After fleeing from Ukonsaari, Prince Teuvo sets out across Finland to seek refuge in Stockholm with the one person who is sympathetic to his cause.

However with the dark shadow of the coup still haunting him and the changing dynamics of his relationships with Olani and Astrid, he discovers that the one thing that will secure his place as king has gone missing.

Samu, a mysterious thief in Mr. Black’s employ offers his services, but can Teuvo trust that he has Ukonsaari’s best interests at heart or is there something darker going on?

Blurb for Prince In Exile: Book Three

From Goodreads:

Ukonsaari.

Ruled for three hundred years by the greedy, jealous, and dangerous Ivanovs this island nation is on the verge of civil unrest. In the Autumn of 1979 the twenty-two year old Prince Teuvo executes his Grandfather the King, and prepares to take the throne in his stead. Yet on the eve of his coronation a military coup rises up and takes control of the country, leaving the young Prince to flee alongside his two lovers.

With the fiery Princess Astrid and his ever faithful bodyguard Olani, Teuvo must seek asylum from Ukonsaari’s neighbours. Can they survive the gathering assassins, as well as the mysterious Mr. Black who promises to help him regain his homeland, or will this be the end of the Ivanovs?

Review of Book 1

Rating: 5/5 Windmills

This book doesn’t gently ease you into the political situation of Ukonsaari. From that first page you’re given a glimpse of the man that Prince Teuvo wants to be: A man not anything like his Grandfather. He wants to become the King that the people of Ukonsaari has always deserved. Sadly, he won’t be given the opportunity as things crumble around him. There’s intrigue afoot and nothing good comes of it. You’re introduced early on to the two people Teuvo cares about most: his bodyguard, Olani, and Princess Astrid. These two, of course, are also his lovers. Through these two you come to know more of Prince Teuvo, a man with a dark personal history, and gain an understanding of his strengths and weaknesses, and the struggles he deals with daily. The main struggle seeming to be trust; something I gathered early on that he doesn’t do easily — except where Olani and Astrid are concerned, of course.

In these two you also see the qualities of the people he allows to get close to him. Neither can be called stupid or weak; showing intelligence and bravery in a frightening situation. This is something that impresses even moreso in Astrid’s case since she’s not a soldier-type like Olani. Both would give up their lives for Teuvo, and not solely out of duty, but refuse to let him make a martyr of himself. It’s their stubborn insistence that makes him flee when wanting to stay, and fight, which would’ve been foolish.

The pacing of this book suits the action well. Start to finish it moves along quickly and holds your attention the entire way. While it is a short read — as suits a serial — you become emotionally invested right out the door in the characters, and the world isn’t lacking content either.

Review of Book 2

Rating: 4.5/5 Windmills

This book changes pace, starting out in a more laid-back manner. The tension, the urgency are both still felt given the situation, but it suits as the action is not the focus here. Little of it happens since the characters are on the move and in hiding. Attention becomes locked on the characters and the dynamics of their relationships. This is the first book where the erotica aspect really makes an appearance, as in the first book you get the slightest taste and nothing more, and WHOA! is it ever steamy to read. Needed a long drink of cold water afterward to cool down. The beautiful thing though is that the romance and love felt since the first book isn’t lost amidst the sexual aspects. Instead it becomes deeper as Olani and Astrid grow closer to each other — though they still entertain with good-natured bickering — as well as to Teuvo.

The bond of the three gradually cements itself into the possibility of something more. Revelations are made concerning the feels of Teuvo toward Olani from Astrid, and then of Astrid toward Teuvo from Olani; the Prince quite oblivious in some ways. You’re also given a taste of more side characters; Mr. Black making another appearance, the first appearance of Crown Prince Oskar of Sweden as they take shelter at Karson Manor, and later Mr. Black’s associate Samu. Through Mr. Black’s appearance we are also introduced to more of the thickening plot. Quite an interesting plot too as the intrigues go even further down the rabbit hole than initially suspected.

Now, the only thing I disliked, and part of the reason why I gave it a 4.5/5 rating, was how easily Astrid cowered to Teuvo’s upset. I have nothing against a woman crying, don’t buy into the nonsense that it makes women not strong, yet it felt odd here. Almost as if it didn’t suit her. Young or not, this felt like an area where some of her Princess knowledge — even a little haughtiness — should’ve come into play as she was in the right to divulge what she did. I also wasn’t fond of the way she switched gears from the issue that made Teuvo feel betrayed to the relationship stuff involving Olani. Was it sweet Teuvo then worried about comforting her instead of his anger? A little. Yet I couldn’t get over my disappointment that Astrid became a weepy woman when she did nothing wrong given the circumstances. The other part of my rating concerns how Astrid gets less focus than Olani where Teuvo is concerned.

Even when Teuvo’s supposed to be talking to her. . . it somehow becomes less about her and more about Olani — as is the case with the gear switch above during the talk. It’s obvious early on that while Teuvo cares about Astrid, it’s Olani that he intensely loves, and that’s fine cause as I said things evolve in this book. Except Olani reveals Astrid’s feelings to Teuvo and they don’t really get discussed at all during the talk. Instead with the next chapter we see that after dinner Teuvo finally gets Olani alone and talks to him, and it is a more significant talk than the one he had with Astrid. This doesn’t make me dislike the characters or the story(obviously) considering I read the next part and want more, but it is something that bothered me.

Review of Book 2

Rating: 4.5/5 Windmills

Remember that possibility of more? Oh my, is it delivered on! I needed a drink with the last book, but for this one I felt like I needed a dip in a lake — in winter. That bond between the three gets stronger, Olani being more willing than in the previous two books, and the three take their sexual relationship to the next level. There’s little doubt left after this book that while he may still be a little bit of a grump, and an adorable one at that, he cares about Astrid and has grown protective of her. Again the pacing changed to suit the feel of the piece: leisurely at first, fast-paced cause of the assassination attempt, and then slowed with a sense of increased tension once safely at their destination. Seeking asylum for Teuvo from Astrid’s Father, King Harald of Norway, is uncomfortable — since Harald hates Teuvo. Seeing the situation Astrid finds herself in, he does as is expected of a Father and asks who is going to marry her. This puts all three characters[Teuvo, Olani, and Astrid] on the spot. To appease her Father, and get asylum for Teuvo, Astrid says she’ll marry Teuvo. While she loves Teuvo, this is monumental as Astrid has been adamant about not wanting to marry. Naturally her Father’s pleased, Olani is upset yet understanding, and Teuvo is angry. Why do I mention this in detail?

Cause once more Astrid seems to cower beneath Teuvo’s anger though, again, there was wisdom in what she did — something Olani points out in a manner of speaking. You will see Teuvo get repeatedly upset, and almost have tantrums, cause decisions are being made for him, which is understandable given stuff we learn about him, but that Astrid doesn’t fully stand up to him when he’s acting like a child is aggravating. Another thing is that the focus is on Olani’s well-being, and that is sweet of Astrid as she’s not heartless, but then Teuvo makes a cruel accusation considering what was revealed in the previous book and then the talk is cut short without the matter being approached again. In this book that does leave me a little worried as far as dynamics — will Astrid always be second to Olani where Teuvo is concerned? I do hope not as she’s just as great a character as Olani, and I hope that Teuvo soon opens his eyes.

Obviously Astrid intends to go with Olani and Teuvo, refusing to stay behind, and she isn’t going to expect a change in relationship as she knows how Teuvo and Olani feel for each other. That’s smoothed, after a fashion, and the plot takes focus again as they go about getting what Samu needs — floor plans. We’re given a gorgeous party with beautiful outfits, and Astrid looking fabulously as befits a Princess, that introduces another side character of interest and then eventually we end on another to be continued. Am I eager for book 4? Oh yes, I am!

Prince In Exile(1-3): Overall

This is a really enjoyable, steamy read. I’d personally call it a casual or leisure read, but don’t mean that in a negative way. I devoured these 3 books in barely a day while feeling lousy and wanting something light to read in bed — it was a perfect choice. I have to say as well that the settings are beautiful; giving you such a picture that you’ll feel like you’re visiting each place with the characters(including the bedroom!). The books are well-written and the AU History aspect is creatively done too. I definitely recommend picking up this serial if you’re a fan of romance, erotica, mystery, action, and LGQBT(m/m and polygamy for example) works.

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