Title: Stolen Token
Author: Felix J. Léon
Length: 119 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
At a Glance: There is no doubt Felix J. Léon loved telling this story and held his characters in great affection. That sincerity endeared them to me as well, by simple virtue of realizing I was being introduced to a world where the author meant to show that love prevails.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Thibault’s life is good. He has friends, family, and a hopeless crush on the most brilliant guy in class. At least he thought so until he meets Osten, the fabulous Allegory—a divine envoy walking the Earth on behalf of the gods—who opens up a whole new life to him. One that could be so much more than he’d once believed.
However, Osten needs help—the kind that could either ruin Thibault’s career or let corruption spread to the city. He is at a crossroads: continue living his suddenly monotonous life, or plunge feet first into a world of glitter and mirrors that he does not yet understand.
Review: There is something whimsical about Felix J. Léon’s debut fantasy romance that makes it feel a bit Shakespearean but rather than, say, the mischievous fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream manipulating the humans in the story, in Stolen Token it’s the gods’ envoys, the Allegories, who walk amongst humans and bestow their divine presence upon them. With absolute power comes absolute corruption for one Allegory, though, which provides the drama and conflict that Thibault must overcome to make amends for a terrible wrong and complete a quest that means life or death for Osten, an Allegory whose token—their source of life and magic—has been stolen.
Thibault follows the teachings of the Virtues, an irony considering they are the deities of rules and money, and we all know politics and capitalism aren’t intrinsically virtuous. Thibault, however, is an affable, one might even say naïve, most certainly trusting, sort, who may have been unprepared for the task assigned him, and made mistakes along the way, certainly learned a harsh lesson about placing trust in the wrong people, but ultimately lived up to his promise and proved he was indeed a man of honor and integrity, earning the title of hero in his own story.
Osten is an Allegory of the Muses, and their nature befits their calling. They are, in no uncertain terms, an interesting character whose pronouns are they/them/he/him, depending on how they feel at the moment, and I would have loved to know more about them; though, given the length of the book, the world-building is limited to remaking France into a mythical and magical alternate reality rather than fleshing out the magic in the machine. In the end, however, the aim of the story is met charmingly in the quest Osten sets for Thibault and in the ultimate goal of this modern day fairy tale—its happy ending.
There is no doubt Felix J. Léon loved telling this story and held his characters in great affection. That sincerity endeared them to me as well, by simple virtue of realizing I was being introduced to a world where the author meant to show that love prevails.
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