| A Hearts On Fire Review
"Who are you? Why are you here?"
Lord Mouse, debut fantasy novel by Mason Thomas, is a snarky-filled, hilarious and fun prison break and escape quest headed by Mouse is a master thief, so who better to rescues a rich noble from a hard to read prison.
The money is great and can solve the worst of Mouse's pesky blackmail problems. He travels to a less than tolerant city, goes on an entertaining reconnaissance and retrieval mission. Mouse snarks his way into feelings (for someone who doesn't do feels because damaged) and a HEA with the person he least expected to.
Mouse and Garron, the prisoner form an alliance though Mouse has a hatred for all thing noble. During their escape, they become close, discover a few secrets along the way of a ton of action scenes.
Mouse, as a character, he gets 5 Hearts from me. He is snarky, quick on his feet, devious, brilliant, cunning and looks unassuming. He is everything I love to read in a criminal in my romance. He might be short but his personality is 10 feet tall.
"You are an uncommon sort. It is not often I encounter someone bold enough to look at me so directly. Even in here."
I had hearts in my eyes from the first few pages in chapter one. That doesn't happen often. But the mouth on Mouse...
"I will gut you from ass to ear, you pusillanimous, pig-fucking louse."
"Oh friend, I know there's no chance you sired me. For me, I know who my father is. He's a good deal more comely than you are and, unlike yourself, has the advantage of all his teeth and a thorough cleaning less than a month ago. Second, I'm fairly certain you couldn't find a pussy to stick that tiny dick of yours into with the help of a road map, so there's actually little chance of you siring anyone."
No pretense, just pure unadulterated Mouse.
"Do you want to run the guild here?" Mouse said to the donkey. "There's sure to be an opening soon, and you're better qualified." The donkey raised its ears as if considering the offer.
While Mouse gets a full stamp of approval, full on bucket of hearts...this story isn't perfect.
At most, if I look only on the story and ignore the quibbles, it's a generous 4 Hearts. Averaging the story's merit and Mouse is how I got my rating. For a first time author, the story entertains, had memorable side characters to volley the larger than life Mouse's wit and delivered fantasy yum yum.
But some things weren't as polished.
There were editing mishaps (like time jumps in the same scene it's afternoon on one page, after midnight in the next).
The pacing - on average was engaging like the characters but if little bits here and there were shaved (the quest takes up the majority of the book and dragged in parts)
The last 15-20% - we went from awesome adventure to romantic fairytale. I'm not knocking fairy tales, but Mouse's bold determination got weak, he sorta lost himself in a sense. I would have expected him to return what he did in the past. I guess the insta-love could be argued. Also the blackmail angle, it kinda flopped for me. I was intrigued in the beginning, but by the end, it was too easily solved. A major arc was solving Mouse's background...and it suffered some from the prison heist and hiccups in the pacing.
I love characters who can't emote their feelings. But for Mouse, it started a little late in the game. Explanations were shown for why he is a damaged soul, and there's really own two routes to go with a character like him, either he falls in love and gets mushy. Or he becomes stronger from being in love, a true partner in a partnership. I'd have thought he'd go with the latter route.
Even with my issues, the story is one to read. The good and intent of "Lord Mouse" outweighed my quibbles.
It's told from Mouse's POV, the other protagonist was nice. I liked him but wasn't fully sold on him, his personality wasn't a constant. But it was good enough for Mouse, so I won't gripe too much. I'm sure the two will have a lovely mushy life together. The romance happened quick but I tend to be more lenient when it comes to life or death situations for the main characters. You don't have time for a full background check, there is a romance that needs to happen.
There is sex - just off page and fade to black, so smutsters stand down. I would've love if there was one smutastic scene with a certain Mouse topping the hell out of his love. But I guess I'll have to use my imagination. As is, the story was a mix of cool caper/Disney adventure.
Recommended read for sure. Just for the pleasure of reading Mouse. ;D
Fans of Tali Spencer's "Thick as Thieves" or the film "A Knight's Tale" would enjoy this. You know the sort of modern, partly historical, fantasy fun. I'll definitely be reading future works from this author.