King Mai (The Lost and Founds: Book 2)
Title: King Mai (The Lost and Founds: Book 2)
Author: Edmond Manning
Publisher: Pickwick Ink Publishing
Length: 322 pages
Rating: A List
Blurb: Adopted from Thailand and never one to fit in with the local bubbas, life has been rough around the edges for Mai Kearns, even before he came out of the closet. Now, almost ten years past the torture of high school, Mai still can’t catch a break: he and his parents stand to lose their beloved farm.
How will a “King Weekend” help change Mai’s fate? What has narrator Vin Vanbly been up to for the four weeks he’s been sneaking around Mai’s hometown? At the urging of a ransom note from ‘The Lost Kings,’ Mai embarks on an impossible treasure hunt chasing mystic poetry, Fibonacci Hopscotch, ancient prophecy, the letter ‘x,’ and a confounding, penguin-marching army.
The stakes are high: if Mai fails, the Lost Kings will permanently claim him as their own. Finding the treasure may unlock the secret to saving his family farm. But can this angry farmer risk opening his broken heart before the weekend is over? Mai Kearns has 40 hours to get very, very curious in this second installment of The Lost and Founds.
Review: What to say about book two in the “Lost and Found” series without sounding repetitive.
Each King weekend means so much to Vin Vanbly, our narrator. Every weekend is planned to the last detail; so much effort put into it, so much thought and preparations.
And when you finally get there, in Mai’s case you start wondering, what’s the meaning of all this? As there is a lot more going on, aside from a crazy treasure hunt all over the corn fields.
But with Mai it was a completely different experience from what it was with Perry, our first found King. This story takes place three years before Perry, and as we know Vin only takes a handful of Lost Kings through the King weekend.
What makes Mai so unique, so deserving of Vin’s love? His complexity and confusion, the constant struggle that he lives, inside and out, make him beautiful to Vin.
Mai’s ambivalence towards the farm and the life of a farmer was palpable. He lives in a constant dichotomy. Mai’s love for the corn and everything that comes with being a farmer. His hatred for the corn, for the farm. His desperate need to save the farm. The thought that he would be responsible for losing the farm was a pain he didn’t believe he could survive. His resentment towards the life that he feels he didn’t choose but given the opportunity will do everything in his power to keep and chose again.
The friends, the ones that were never supposed to be his, but are still there. His sexuality, one that he owns without being proud, the lover that he lost and doesn’t feel worthy of.
But above all, is his love for Vin, his honesty, his hurt, his pain, his desperation, all that makes him worthy of Vin’s attention and love.
“I need to be touched this way, to be loved this way.
See beyond my anger, and find me.”
This is by no means your typical M/M book. You never know what’s next with Vin, Edmond makes him unpredictable. And it is not the type of book you can just pick up and read a couple of chapters, because it is so intense in all the emotions that you need to be in a very particular mindset to read and enjoy.
I was doing a great job at reading it like a mission, like a true treasure hunt. But then we get a glimpse of the real Vin, the lost one, the young one and that moment broke me.
This book is a unique experience; it is so profoundly moving for me. I identify with that search, with the choices we must make. When our expectations meet our responsibilities, how do we balance what or who we want to be with what we are supposed to become?
I love Vin’s voice, and he is a crazy character, he speaks at such a fast speed that it’s hard to follow sometimes, and he is amazing in his planning and executions. How exhausting and terrifying it probably is to love with all you’ve got, with all you are for just that one weekend, right? And then let it all go, say goodbye, walk away and survive. Not just survive, but thrive and plan it all again with another beautiful lost King.
Mai is the complete opposite. Analytical, stubborn, guarded with his feelings, he’s the type that doesn’t trust easily. And I doubted him, I doubted his King heart.
He surprised me, not only by sticking to the weekend, but also by reaching out to Vin, opening up to him and getting Vin to share a bit more about himself. Let the tears flow freely again.
The closing scene will seal the deal if you haven’t cried by then.
Thank you, Edmond, for such a remarkably unique story. I need more Lost and Found kings, whenever you are ready.
Reviewed by Connie