ARC Reviews,  Reviews

Sierra Simone’s Salt Kiss ARC Review

Thank you to Sierra Simone and her team for the advance reader copy of Salt Kiss, the first book in the new Lyonesse series.

The anticipation for this series is unmatched! I adore Sierra Simone’s New Camelot series, as those books were some of the first of hers I ever read. I was over the moon excited to see Sierra Simone decide to do another take on an old legend, this time the story of Tristan and Isodole. This story is definitely setting the stage for something bigger and I cannot wait to see where Sierra takes us.

I am a Sierra Simone review team member, but I remain honest and genuine in my reviews.

Tristan Thomas is lost. After leaving the Army, the young former soldier is in limbo. Until, that is, he’s hired by Mark Trevena, the owner of Lyonesse—DC’s ultra-secret club—to be Mark’s new bodyguard. He’s drawn into Mark’s dark, seductive world of power and desire, and slowly drawn to Mark himself, even though Mark is everything Tristan knows he shouldn’t want: cruel and wicked and shamelessly amoral.

But protecting Mark isn’t Tristan’s only duty: soon, Mark asks him to guard his soon-to-be bride as she travels home from Ireland on Mark’s yacht. Tristan is jealous—and hurt to learn that the object of his obsession is engaged—but the soldier in him is made to obey orders, and he goes to fetch Mark’s bride for him.

Isolde Laurence is nothing like Tristan expected, however. Young, quiet, and sharp, she’s being pushed into this marriage by her family, and as the two travel back to America, Tristan finds himself fascinated with Isolde and the glimpses he gets of the lonely but determined woman behind her reserve. And the fascination is mutual: one night, while sailing under the cold stars, they share a searing kiss.

From there, it’s a fast fall into the forbidden. But in Mark Trevena’s world, the fall is only the beginning…

The Lyonesse trilogy is a queer, kinky contemporary retelling of the legend of Tristan and Isolde, set in the same world as the New Camelot series. Readers will not have to read New Camelot to enjoy Lyonesse, although readers who enjoyed New Camelot will find all the things they loved about the trilogy here: MMF ménage, plenty of the angsty forbidden, and a sweeping retelling of a familiar story.

Check out my more detailed thoughts below…

  • Characters: First we should unpack Tristan, the character whose point of view we follow throughout Salt Kiss. He is such an interesting character as he is so contradictory – he is one of the most naive characters I have ever read while also not being naive about the mess he got himself into. I did really appreciate Sierra’s depiction of a past soldier struggling with survivor’s guilt and PTSD. But for all the war he has seen, he still had such an innocence about him. This loyal, endearing puppy of a man was prime for Mark’s much darker tendencies. I did read the prequel Salt in the Wound (which I highly recommend you do) and so I knew a bit of what we were getting into with Mark. I also saw Sierra at an event say that Mark is her first true anti-hero and he definitely is. This mysterious guy is ruthless, but there is definitely something festering under there that both Tristan and Isodole will be able to root out.
  • Setting: The home base of the story is Washington, D.C. where Mark has his infamous business the sex club the Lyonesse. I loved that setting and cannot wait for the next book to bring us to it more often. Mark and Tristan travel so much for work, and I just kept begging to go back to Lyonesse.
  • Pacing: I flew through this story, in many ways, it truly didn’t feel long enough. So I am dying for the next one and grateful I also had the prequel to read. Most of my issues with this story do have to do with plot and pacing. It takes way too long for Isodole to enter the story, so I am warning you of that now that this story is primarily an M/M and not an M/F/M. I guess I just have to be more patient because I do understand Sierra’s choices of growing a larger story here and setting up the playing field.
  • Romance: So needless to say this starts as an M/M and the corrupting of Tristan at the hands of Mark. I ate up every minute of it. They were so hot together with such great tension. I cannot wait to truly see Isodole thrown into the mix more, crossing my fingers for hopefully with both of them. I say this coming from a place of having adored all of Sierra’s poly stories and that I am craving more.

Salt Kiss receives four out of five stars.

You can pick up the story here.

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Thank you again to Sierra and her team for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!

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