Review - "Distant Rumblings (Lords of Arcadia #1)" by John Goode
Terrific worldbuilding, characters, story
Very Highly Recommended
The problem with Athens, Iowa was that it was not normal enough for Kane Vess. That's a funny thing for a young gay guy to think, but it's true. The town is full of eccentrics, and the more outrageous the personality, the better. So for Kane, he just wants to get the hell out of high school and go to college. Find a boyfriend. Be...normal.
Then this gorgeous hunk of a guy, a new student at school, runs Kane through with a sword and everything in his life changes. There's no damage, but what. the. hell?
Prince Hawk has been sent - exiled - from Arcadia by his parents for his safety. With his shape-shifter protector, Spike, to protect him, he's trying to adapt to mundane human life. And not doing a great job of it.
Then he runs into Kane. The two dance around an attraction, finally landing on a fragile truce of friendship an budding romance. As Kane tries to show Hawk how to fit in, Hawk teaches him lessons in life, responsibility. New ways of looking at himself and his own world. And the favor is returned.
When his enemies find him, and betrayals become apparent, Hawk is in danger. How far will Kane go to help his friend? Will their romance happen? And will Hawk live to fight another day?
I don't want to give away too much, because John Goode has done a terrific job of world building here. He starts with simple Americana, adds layers of eccentricity with the local townsfolk. Then we get to meet Kane's family; his flautist father, his lovely mother (who I suspect we will find out a lot more about in the near future), and his best friend. Then we add Prince Hawk. Spike. Arcadia.
And it just keeps getting better and better, richer and deeper. Mr. Goode's characters come to life and stretch and yawn and fill the space he built so lovingly built for them. Kane goes from bored young gay-boy to thoughtful, funny, interesting and honorable young man. Hawk - he flexes and we see him grow from spoiled princeling to courageous, regal, loyal man with so much potential.
Mr. Goode does what he does so well. He starts us on a journey with wonderful characters, entertains us with their humor and goodness, then blinds us with the sheer real-ness of their hearts and souls.
I look forward to each of his books with a little touch of bittersweetness (if I may coin a term). I want to read it, can't wait to unwrap it like I used to when was a kid and saw my birthday cake. My mom used to bake it from scratch and we would savor every crumb. And then it would be gone. That's how I feel about his books. They leave me full, satisfied, but wanting just one more crumb.
I can't wait to see what comes next. The cliffhanger - I almost took off to Texas to wring Mr. Goode's neck, but then I might not get my next fix.
Ah, hell. Guess I will have to be patient.
Good night, sweet prince.