REVIEW: Lord Mouse by Mason Thomas
Scoundrel by nature and master thief by trade, Mouse is the best there is. Sure, his methods may not make him many friends, but he works best alone anyway. And he has never failed a job.
But that could change.
When a stranger with a hefty bag of gold seduces him to take on a task, Mouse knows he’ll regret it. The job? Free Lord Garron, the son of a powerful duke arrested on trumped up charges in a rival duchy. Mouse doesn’t do rescue missions. He’s no altruistic hero, and something about the job reeks. But he cannot turn his back on that much coin—enough to buy a king’s pardon for the murder charge hanging over his head.
Getting Garron out of his tower prison is the easy part. Now, they must escape an army of guardsmen, a walled keep and a city on lockdown, and a ruthless mage using her power to track them. Making matters worse, Mouse is distracted by Garron’s charm and unyielding integrity. Falling for a client can lead to mistakes. Falling for a nobleman can lead to disaster. But Mouse is unprepared for the dangers behind the plot to make Lord Garron disappear.
Dear Mason Thomas,
I love fantasy with a gay romantic storyline and the blurb of your book sounded intriguing. I decided to take a chance on your novel even though it was a debut and overall I am glad I did. Your writing grabbed me from the first pages and the main character both amused and intrigued me.
The set-up of the story is what the blurb describes. Mouse, who is a thief and maybe also an assassin, is hired by an unknown man to go to the rival duchy and save Lord Garron. I realized that I cannot state with certainty whether he ever got assassin jobs. I can say that he is definitely somebody who has no compulsion against killing people when they are in the way of his completing the job he has been given. Mouse realizes that there is something fishy going on with this assignment, but the guy who hired him promised a whole lot of money and Mouse could not resist. The blurb mentions murder charge hanging over his head, which was really the reason that he began the life of a thief and sometime killer. I do not want to say too much, but I think the author did a nice job of portraying an antihero here – it is not that Mouse does not have a moral compass, but it was often pointing to a grey area.
Basically the whole story is about Mouse working on his mission and in the process, of course, finding Garron and falling in love with him. The world-building was not very detailed. I hope it is clear from the blurb that the story is a fantasy, the word “duchy” should not make anybody think that the book is dealing with historical events. There are rival duchies (I am not even sure how many) which are led by dukes, and there is a king who is in charge of all of them. I suppose the author wanted to give a nod to the Middle Ages, but really, not much reminded me of that period. Ah, there was word “fealty” mentioned in the story once or twice. Don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing the book for not being a historical, I just want to make sure that readers who are thinking about picking it up know what they are getting. There is also some magic happening, but honestly, I did not think it played a major part in the narrative.
As I mentioned before, the story is about Mouse trying to save Garron. Mouse goes to the duchy where Lord Garron has been falsely imprisoned, talks to people whom Garron knows and does not know, does a lot of strategic planning, and eventually gets to the place of Garron’s imprisonment and tries to get him out.
I thought the writer managed to make the rescue mission pretty entertaining and the story was paced quite well – as much as I would worry in romantic fantasy, I worried about what was coming next for our heroes. I thought some sections about Mouse obtaining information and him figuring out how to get out of the Tower could have been tightened up, but overall I thought it was nicely done.
I really liked Mouse’s characterization – it is not that I’ve never met his type before in fantasy, but I enjoyed meeting *him* in this book if that makes sense. I really liked that Mouse had no qualms about enjoying casual sex and the story had no issues with his character enjoying sex. Mouse’s “character flaw” seemed to be that he sometimes killed too easily, not that he liked sex. I put “character flaw” in quotation, because it was a little bit more complex than that and I enjoyed watching how this was explored in his characterization – killing people and what he really wanted, and why he did that. Add to this that Garron was somebody who did not like unnecessary killing, and I thought the tension about that issue made perfect sense.
I said that Mouse liked sex, however overall the story does not have many sex scenes. Our heroes share some kisses and one explicit sex scene, and I liked that because they were running for their lives. The other couple of sex scenes happened early in the story before our heroes met. Mouse was having sex with couple of other people. I would have been annoyed if the main characters started having sex in the midst of trying to run from the bad guys.
And there is the fact that they just met. Yes, they definitely fall in love fast, the whole story takes place over a week or so (there are several months that pass between the chapter before last and last one), but let’s just say I have read much worse Insta!Love scenarios. I’m not sure if this is comforting or not, readers.
There is a mystery of sorts in the book, which is about who was behind Lord Garron being arrested in the first place. It is all revealed in the last two or three chapters. It made sense to me, because the mystery is usually resolved at the end, however because *so much* was being revealed, the ending did feel rushed.
The copyediting was not very good. As I said before, if I start catching misspellings of the character’s name and missing words in sentences, then it is very likely that there were plenty others which I did not catch.