The Jouster’s Lance
Title: The Jouster’s Lance
Author: A. J. Marcus
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press May 2013
Blurb: Dale O’Toole, aka Diederik, the Demon Duke of Denmark, takes his Renaissance festivals seriously. He has been on the jousting circuit for five years and enjoys his gypsy lifestyle, traveling to faires around the country. It’s fun and he has good friends.
Austin Renfro has worked in a pirate gift shop at the Colorado Renaissance Festival for several years but has a life outside the medieval fantasy world. When Austin spies Dale during the first joust of the season, he knows he must find a way to meet him, even if the jousters and royal cast don’t normally associate with the working class.
Their first chance meeting causes more than a little embarrassment for both men, but they don’t let that stop them. They try to let their budding love find its place while keeping it from becoming common knowledge. But when a particularly conservative knight catches them in flagrante, it’s bound to cause problems. After all, jousts are dangerous….
Review: This was my first renaissance festival romance. It had me intrigued enough to google and see if there was a local one in my area, to be honest. A little gypsy, a little carnie, a lot of fun. I enjoyed the world the author described. We were able to know what it’s like to be traveling jouster.
But I had a hard time with a couple of things in the storyline that made it difficult for me to connect with our couple. First there was Austin’s relationship with his ex, if you can call being broken up all of 24 hours an actual ex. I cannot commit to emotionally investing, as a reader, in someone who goes from one person to another without a backward glance or any grieving. If it was just a trick for some sexy time then fine, but it read like there was supposed to be an emotional connection from the very beginning between Austin and Dale. It annoyed me and made me grumpy seeing Austin jump straight into bed with Dale. Even with an ass of an ex.
The second thing that bugged me was the very obvious villain. Things escalated extremely quickly and the level of psycho was impressive, but pretty unbelievable even for a fun fiction read. I’m not saying that extreme religious fanatics don’t make good bad guys, but it felt forced and overdone.
Dale was great. The author spent the time giving us background and a solid history to his story. I was captivated by him and his life before I was even introduced to Austin. I liked everything from his love and care of his animals to the portrayal of his jousting matches.
I thought this story had a unique idea, with the renaissance festivals and peeks into the life of a traveling entertainer. There was a good supporting cast that I enjoyed getting to know. But it lacked the awesome the blurb and setting had me hoping for. There were too many stereotypes and cliches for me to get lost in the story.
Reviewed by Beans
Posted on May 11, 2013, in Beans and tagged Beans, Contemporary, DSP, fantasy in modern times, Flagrant misuse of Old English, Friends, Gypsy, Horses, Jouster, M/M, Pet Lovers, Renaissance Fairs, romance. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.