Series: Sons of Britain: Books Two – Five
Author: Mia West
Length: 858 (1060 series total)
Category: Historical, Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Stars overall
At a Glance: I unashamedly and unabashedly adore this series—the romance, the adventure, the creative license, and the way West is drawing everyone and everything together in a manner that not only shows her familiarity with the lore but her love for the subjects too.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Series Blurb: They’re a long way from legendary. Amid the volatility of 6th-century Britain, Arthur and Bedwyr are just two young men, born to fight and bound to their warlord by blood and oath. But when fierce hearts collide, loyalties can shift, creating bonds far stronger—and ideas far riskier—than their world may be ready for.
Review: I can think of any number of words to describe Mia West’s Sons of Britain series, but the two that most apply are epic and bingeable. Entirely too bingeable, I’d say, given the way I obsessively hoarded my reading time to finish them.
Currently standing at more than 1000 pages of romance and adventure, with four more books planned in the series, West has embraced what was intended to be a more reality-based journey for Arthur and his one and only love, Bedwyr, and added a magical turn to the storyline in book five, Charmed by Mischief, which enriches this bold reimagining of “the once and future king” and the men who’ve joined him on his journey to greatness. This cast is growing by the book, with a current standing of four couples integral to the overall storyline, along with a robust cast of side characters who support both them and the arc of this homage to the legend. That West manages both the protagonists and the role players with a deft hand has left me in awe that not a single character ever felt less than integral to the scenes they contribute to. Master Philip and his lover Tiro, and the parents—Uthyr, Rhys and Caron, and eventually Ban, all come through for their children in love and support, even if it seemed unlikely and was rather backhanded at the time. Matthias and Britte, Arthur’s parents, stand in a class by themselves. They are both phenomenal and complement each other in ways I never suspected until West introduced them and I fell for them.
The building and fortifying of Arthur and Bedwyr’s bond plays out in Bound by Blood, during which time they must maneuver to outwit Bedwyr’s father, Uthyr, by fulfilling Arthur’s marriage to Gwenhwyfar while Gwen also commits to her true love, Elain, who happens to be wed to Bedwyr. West offers Gwen and Elain’s story in Driven by Duty, a journey that doesn’t come without some painful reminders of Elain’s past, but which ultimately delivers both women, and their children, to their future, as well as to a reconciliation between Elain and her father, Ban. I loved Elain, her strength, her self-acceptance, her backstory, and she and Gwen make a formidable pair to one day step into their own legacy and legend.
Leaping close to seven years into the future in Tempted by Ruin, West gives us the story of Gawain and Palahmed, an age-gap romance that delivers Palahmed (a sell-sword) to a reckoning of self-reflection and realization of an event from his past involving his brother Safir and an older man. While I developed a strong fondness for Palahmed, it was ultimately Gawain who stole my heart in this chapter of the legend. Gawain’s strength and his noble heart and his love and yearning for Pahlamed gave rise to his sacrifice in the name of duty to his homeland and his mother Morgawse’s rise after Pahlamed ensures Gawain’s father, Lot, would no longer be a problem. In a manner, by the way, Lot so richly deserved. West delivers their romantic journey with no small amount of emotion and conflict, and it runs a close second as my favorite behind Arthur and Bedwyr.
The fifth and most recent publication of the series is Safir and Morien’s story in Charmed by Mischief, which was a pairing I didn’t necessarily see coming when these men were introduced along the way, but which West makes a convincing and lovely case for as their bond unfolds. Safir is a sell-sword himself, something he came upon in league with his brother Pahlamed when Pahlamed stole away from their homeland with Safir in tow, under cover of darkness, to deliver them to what seemed would be a safer life, which gives you an idea of how Pahlamed saw their lives at home. Safir is a rogue who lives coin to coin and finds pleasure from one bed to the next, taking full advantage of the brothel and the warm and willing bodies he enjoys there. Morien is the son of Black Rhys and Caron (who owns and operates said brothel). Morien is kind and gentle and is introduced as a friend and companion to Gwen, and becomes caretaker to Gwen and Elain’s sons. Morien has a secret, though, that not only gives him somewhat unrestricted access to Safir in unexpected ways, but one he believes, if revealed, would also spell a definitive end to the connection he feels to Safir.
West handily gathers Arthur’s band of loyal men together into a formidable force against the Saxon’s in this long and winding journey, giving rise to what we all know as the Knights of the Round Table, with a surprise near the end that will lead to Arthur’s brother Cai’s story in the next book. It will be nothing less than a redemption story. Frankly, I’m not at all ready to forgive Cai, but I am anxious to see if/how West pulls off rehabilitating his character. Somehow, I have no doubt Cai will win me over.
I unashamedly and unabashedly adore this series—the romance, the adventure, the creative license (most especially the way Arthur gains his sword), and the way West is drawing everyone and everything together in a manner that not only shows her familiarity with the lore but her love for the subjects too. That she doesn’t homogenize and white-wash the story, giving queer people, Black people, and People of Color their rightful place in the annals of history and the shaping of this land, entrenches it in its own realism. This series has spanned eleven years thus far, an epic hero’s journey, to be sure, and a quest I’m anxiously awaiting to continue to see where she takes these brave women and men next.
You can buy Sons of Britain Series here:
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