The King's Harem
is a collection of four short, erotic stories set in the world of Tavamara.
Firstly, I love the subtle culture building in the stories. I think this is something Megan Derr does really well. I particularly like the cultural importance of wine - some of the wines sounded really nice, and I don't even like wine! :P
I also really enjoy the fact that the stories manage to be both romantic and erotic without resorting to any explicit sex (except in 'Knight to Rook'). It made a refeshing, sensual change.
Jumping around timelines between the stories could be quite jarring at times, but it was easy enough to settle down after that realisation.
As for the stories themselves:
'The King's Harem' - ♥♥♥♥♥ - 'The King's Harem' told the stories of the five members of King Shahjahan's harem, and how they came to be a part of it. Not very much over-arching plot, really, just mini-plots for each character within their own chapter.
I really, really enjoyed this story, and I loved the relationships the members of the harem had with their king and with each other. And each member of the harem is so unique and well-developed. It would have been so easy to have this become a series of inter-connected sex scenes, and I am SO glad Megan Derr did not go down that route.
My favourite story out of the four. :)
'Knight to Rook' - ♥♥♥ - I actually found this story quite confusing at first, probably because this story is set after Sandstorm
(another Tavamara novel) and makes references to characters and events I haven't read about.
However, I enjoyed the relationship between Rook and General Noor, and the overall plot of this story. Weirdly, I didn't enjoy the sex scene as much as I usually would, probably due to the fact I was still admiring the lack of sex in the previous story. It was
well written and quite sensual, in spite of that fact.
My least favourite story out of the four, but nonetheless a good read.
'Everything You Need' - ♥♥♥♥♥ - This story is the romance of Ikram and Valerie. I have a feeling Valerie's son, Simon, might be important in Sandstorm
, as this is set years before.
A het romance! I haven't read one of those in a little while, haha. This story was actually very romantic, and I loved the character of Ikram. I especially liked the insight into the tribes of the Sands, and how he wished he was still a member so he could just carry Valerie off! Hahaha. He was weirdly quite a gentleman for all that.
Very enjoyable story, and the wines again make an appearance!
'The Jewel of Tavamara' - ♥♥♥♥ - This tells the story of how King Shahjahan met his queen, and the start of her
harem. (That's right, this book even has a little bit of f/f!)
I enjoyed this story a lot. It was quite strange to be looking at Shah's harem from the outside after being quite intimately acquainted with them in the first story. They were quite intimidating for all that, even though Shah only had two concubines at this point in the timeline.
I would have liked to see a bit more romance between Shah and Fahima, because... well, there isn't that much. I can tell Shah was intrigued by Fahima and visa versa, but I didn't get the atmosphere of romance that I did from Ikram and Valerie.
For all that, however, it was still an enjoyable read. :)
Overall, I recommend this collection of stories highly, but - unlike me - I recommend you read them after Sandstorm
. It could save you a lot of unnecessary confusion, particularly in the second story.