The Firebird’s Tale begins with the end of a familiar story: aThe Firebird's Tale Prince who never smiled, and by Imperial decree, has to marry the one who managed to make him do so.

Except that it was all an accident, and the Prince would say he didn’t actually smile at the thief who dared to rob a Tsar, and the thief was not even a woman—or, as it turns out, even human.

I received an eARC of this novel through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, Less Than Three Press, in exchange for an honest review.

I picked this book based on the premise, and I really wasn’t disappointed. This book was a very cute gay romance, with some magical fantasy plot surrounding it. The prose was lovely, like in this quote.

Time is a weaving with many patterns, many layers. Humans need a beginning and an end. We understand that there is no beginning, no end. Some beginnings are endings, some endings are beginnings.

Aleksei and Nazar start out the book completely disinterested in each other, but over the course of the novel, they warm to each other in an adorable, and occasionally irritating fashion. I was worried about the power imbalance between them, but over the course of the novel their power became much more balanced in the relationship, and it became much more palatable to me. They worked well together, and I loved seeing Aleksei grow as a person.

I do wish that we’d gotten a little bit more background on Aleksei and the kingdom before they were officially married, or a more in-depth description of the wedding, in order to learn a little more about the culture of the kingdom. But, there’s always time for that in future books, if we’re going to get any.

I enjoyed that there were other queer couples mentioned without a blink, but the only other one who was named outright was also a member of Faerie, which gave me a weird feeling.

I wished for a little more depth, but I’d definitely read a second book with these characters and in this world. This is a 3.5 or 4 star read for me, but since I don’t do half stars here, I’m rolling it up to four stars.

four stars and one empty one meant to signify a four star review

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