A Strange and Stubborn Endurance

Macmillan Audio (The Tithenai Chronicles, Bk. 1). Jul. 2022. 18:55 hrs. ISBN 9781250856340. $32.99. FANTASY
Meadows’s (A Tyranny of Queens) latest fantasy focuses on Velasin “Vel” vin Aaro, the third son of a high-ranking family in the intensely homophobic country of Ralia. When Vel’s preference for men is dramatically revealed, the envoy from neighboring Tithena arranges a marriage between Vel and Caethari “Cae” Aeduria, in the hopes of improving relations between the two countries. Although powerful forces attempt to destroy their newfound alliance, Vel finds a home in open and flexible Tithena, coming to accept himself with the patience and compassionate support of his new husband. Narrator Vikas Adam expressively reads Vel’s first-person narration, bringing out Vel’s sensitivity and portraying his growing strength and confidence. James Fouhey narrates the part of Cae with a maturity and stolidity that hints at his soldierly background. Trigger warnings of rape, suicidal ideation, and bodily harm appearing at the beginning of the novel should be noted, as this novel touches on weighty issues.
VERDICT Recommended for readers looking for an absorbing queer fantasy, complete with intricate world-building, tantalizing mystery, and a slow-burn, tender romance.
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