Title: The Soldati Prince
Series: Soldati Hearts: Book One
Author: Charlie Cochet
Narrator: Manuel Pombo
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 3 hours and 27 minutes
At a Glance: The story, particularly the ending, is pure fairy-tale romance and magic. The narration is decent, and the narrator, Manuel Pombo, has a beautiful voice. It fits very well with the story, and I can see him becoming a fan favorite—one day.
Reviewed By: Jovan
Blurb: One moment, Riley Murrough is living a normal life working in a coffee shop, and the next, he’s running for his life from demons, learns he bears the mark of a shape-shifter king from a magical realm, and – worst of all – he’s destined to become the mated prince to the arrogant tiger shifter he would rather strangle.
Khalon, the shifter king, is equally distraught at the idea of being bound to a human prince, and along with his Soldati warriors, he sets out to return Riley to his own world where he belongs. On their journey, they might discover why the priestess brought them together – if they can escape the demons and make it to her alive.
Review: The Soldati Prince is a sweet, fantasy romance and solid series starter. As a novella introducing a magical realm, the book needs to establish the romance between Riley and Khalon, and do a lot of worldbuilding and character groundwork as well. For the most part, Charlie Cochet achieves this, helped along by a magical mate bond and a two-week off-page bonding period. The Soldati realm and its inhabitants are well-written, as well as the secondary characters that make up Khalon’s closest friends and advisors.
Additionally, Cochet has the wonderful ability to infuse the narrative and characters with charming quirks and details, making the story entertaining and fun and sometimes helping cover deficiencies. For example, as well-developed as Riley is, Khalon is a bit more flat. He’s arrogant, disdainful of humans but a well-loved ruler. While there’s a bit of depth added to his character in that his earlier shortness and abrasiveness with Riley stems from centuries of yearning for his mate and his inability to reconcile the powerful warrior mate, beyond that there is no real sense of who he is or a connection to his character. I had a better sense of/connection with Khalon’s friends than the MC. On the other hand, Riley is an interesting mix of charm, sweetness, sass and insecurity; unable to find his place in the world and believing himself to be inadequate and more or less invisible. The story, particularly the ending, is pure fairy-tale romance and magic, so depending on your tastes, the ending may feel full of fairy tale magic perfection or fairy-tale magic ridiculousness.
The narration is decent, and the narrator, Manuel Pombo, has a beautiful voice. It fits very well with the story, and I can see him becoming a fan favorite—one day. As great as his voice is, his technique needs a bit more work. One of the hardest things about being a narrator is pacing and delivery, and there are many instances when Pombo doesn’t take appropriate pauses and runs sentences/dialogue/character thoughts together. He also has trouble making and keeping the voices distinct and distinguishable from one another, particularly in dialogue. However, for the most part, Pombo’s delivery of emotions is well done, the narration does not detract from the story, and his unique, pleasant voice matches this light, fantastical, fairy-tale romance well.
You can buy The Soldati Prince here:
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