Title: Bad Boy’s Bard (Fae Out of Water: Book Three)
Author: E.J. Russell
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 301 Pages
Category: Urban Fantasy, Action/Adventure
At a Glance: Bad Boy’s Bard neatly tied up the many plot points that had been so cleverly dangling in the previous two stories, and restored the last of the Kendrick brothers to happiness. I just wish we could have seen more of a sweeping romance to close out this final chapter.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: As far as rock star Gareth Kendrick, the last true bard in Faerie, is concerned, the only good Unseelie is . . . well . . . there’s no such thing. Two centuries ago, an Unseelie lord abducted Gareth’s human lover, Niall, and Gareth has neither forgotten nor forgiven.
Niall O’Tierney, half-human son of the Unseelie King, had never lost a wager until the day he swore to rid the Seelie court of its bard. That bet cost him everything: his freedom, his family—and his heart. When he’s suddenly face-to-face with Gareth at the ceremony to join the Seelie and Unseelie realms, Niall does the only thing inhumanly possible: he fakes amnesia. Not his finest hour, perhaps, but he never revealed his Unseelie heritage, and to tell the truth now would be to risk Gareth’s revulsion—far harder to bear than two hundred years of imprisonment.
Then a new threat to Gareth’s life arises, and he and Niall stage a mad escape into the Outer World, only to discover the fate of all fae resting on their shoulders. But before they can save the realm, they have to tackle something really tough: mending their own broken relationship.
Review: I wanted to love this third novel in the Fae Out of Water series, Bad Boy’s Bard, as much as I did the first two. I was excited to finally understand why the third Kendrick brother, Gareth, was so much of a loner—and so angry with his brothers. I was intrigued by the fact that it had been hinted at that Gareth had once loved a human and had been pining for him for over two hundred years. I wanted to finally understand the depth of his grief—a sadness that covered him so completely that he denied his fae home and retreated from his family to the point where they barely spoke to each other. All this plus the fact that he was the last living fae bard, whose musical powers could sway even the hardest of hearts, had set my imagination on fire, and I could not wait to get my hands on this third installment.
I will tell you that this story does have some incredibly thrilling action sequences, and that Gareth’s lost lover, Niall, is truly a gorgeously written character, one that just about ripped my poor heart in two. His life for the past two hundred years has been a living hell, and then some, and when his brother, the newly crowned king, restores him and deposes their insanely evil father at the end of book two, I was standing up and cheering. The third book starts out so well, setting up the first moments when Niall and Gareth will come face-to-face after so much time apart. It is teeming with characters from the previous book while giving us a few new ones, bad and good and somewhere in between.
We get to meet Gareth’s supernatural bandmates, who go a long way in both morally supporting Gareth and keeping him grounded. But, it is really Niall who steals the show here. Unlike the previous two books where it was the Kendrick brothers who outshone their counterparts, Gareth almost disappeared in this story for me. In the previous stories, where both Alun and Mal were transformed by their new found loves, Gareth barely seemed to change at all, and, quite frankly, I had trouble warming up to him because he came off as so very selfish and self-absorbed. Admittedly, he didn’t really know what Niall had suffered all those years, and Niall refused to tell him, but still, I found it hard to believe that Gareth had pined so deeply for Niall when he barely seemed invested in the relationship from the get-go. Rather, it was Niall who stole my heart, who grew and changed as the story unfolded, and who selflessly loved Gareth so very much and showed that love time and again.
I did feel that this final book dealt with the history and past details of the seelie and unseelie heritage much more adroitly than it’s predecessors. Rather than getting bogged down or jolted from the main plot line by a heavy handed history lesson, I felt the author wove the past and present together fairly seamlessly, and it served to enlighten and further the plot overall. But where that aspect of the novel excelled, the love story itself seemed to falter. I was disappointed that this incredibly gifted bard seemed lost when it came to the language of love and how to woo the man he’d been missing for hundreds of years.
All in all, Bad Boy’s Bard neatly tied up the many plot points that had been so cleverly dangling in the previous two stories, and restored the last of the Kendrick brothers to happiness. I just wish we could have seen more of a sweeping romance to close out this final chapter.
You can buy Bad Boy’s Bard here: