Hi, everyone, and thank you so much to Divine Magazine for letting me visit today! I’m Antonia Aquilante here to talk with you about The Sorcerer’s Guardian, which is out from Dreamspinner Press today.
The Sorcerer’s Guardian is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Tournai series, though it can be read as a stand-alone, as can the other books in the series. It’s the story of Savarin, a powerful sorcerer, and Loriot, captain of the royal guard, as they clash and get closer and ultimately fall in love while on a mission from the prince to solve the mystery of Tournai’s weakening magical protections.
Today I want to introduce you to Loriot if you haven’t met him in previous books and tell you a little more about him even if you have. Loriot first appeared in The Prince’s Consort, the first book in the Chronicles of Tournai series, and has made at least a brief appearance in every book since in his role as captain of the royal guard. At the time Loriot first showed up on page, I didn’t intend to write his story. In that book, Prince Philip and the man he loved were in danger, and I needed a royal guard captain. Loriot was a minor character in the story, but I guess he didn’t want to stay that way. The more I saw of him, the more I learned about him, and I knew he had a story I wanted to share with you.
A younger son of a minor noble family, Loriot joined the royal guard as soon as he was able and worked his way through the ranks until he attained the captaincy. He is devoted to his duty to protect the royal family and has become someone who is trusted by the princes. He accidentally found out about the royal family’s magical Talent, a secret they’ve kept for generations, but he is held to be trustworthy enough to keep their secret and be a valuable ally in protecting not just their lives but that secret as well.
Loriot isn’t only devoted to his duty but also to those he loves. His desire to protect them and care for them is strong, and he sometimes feels the conflict between his obligations to the royal family and the need to be with his own family, especially his son. Loriot is raising his son with the help of his sister, and he tries to keep the little boy well away from his work to keep him safe.
When the princes send Loriot on a journey with Savarin to protect him while the sorcerer studies Tournai’s weakening magical protections, Loriot is less than pleased. He feels torn in multiple directions—not wanting to leave his son for so long, not wanting to leave the royal family when his first duty is their safety but also having to follow their orders. He goes with Savarin and protects him to the best of his ability. It starts out as duty and obligation but soon turns into something more where Savarin is concerned as their relationship changes. Savarin comes to be one of the people Loriot cares about and is quite protective of, which causes its own complications. Loriot has no magical Talent of his own and is extremely wary of magic. He knows the good it can do, but he has also seen all the harm that can come from it, especially from powerful magic. And Savarin is very powerful. More than the risks Savarin’s magic might cause toward others, Loriot worries about the risks Savarin takes with himself when he performs certain types of magic. When the solution Savarin finds to strengthen the weakening protection spells also poses a not inconsiderable risk to Savarin himself—and the royal family—Loriot finds himself torn once more.
The Sorcerer’s Guardian by Antonia Aquilante
Savarin, the most powerful sorcerer in Tournai, has honed his Talent through years of study and made magic his life. Among the wealthy and noble circles he moves in, no one would suspect the handsome, refined, and arrogant sorcerer’s humble beginnings, which is how Savarin prefers it. Tournai’s princes task Savarin with studying and strengthening the spells that protect the principality from magical attack. They are complex, centuries old, and exactly the type of puzzle Savarin is eager to solve. To his annoyance, the princes insist Loriot accompanies him.
Loriot worked his way up the ranks of the royal guard to captain and takes pride in his service. He must obey the princes’ orders to protect Savarin, despite believing his skills would be best used elsewhere. And despite his wariness of magic. UnTalented himself, he has learned not only the benefits of magic but also its potential for harm—and how to counter it. Loriot and Savarin clash during their journey, but there’s another reason for the tension between them, and passion develops into feelings neither expected. But Savarin must still fortify Tournai’s magical barrier, and his only solution endangers both him and the royal family.
M/M Fantasy Romance
Series: Chronicles of Tournai
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Release Date: November 28, 2016
Review by Elaine White
Book – The Sorcerer’s Guardian (The Chronicles of Tournai #4)
Author – Antonia Aquilante
Star rating – ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 310
Cover – Gorgeous!
POV – 3rd person, dual POV (with Amory and Philip too)
Would I read it again – Yes!
What can I say?
When I knew I’d be reviewing this book, I grabbed up my paperback copies of the first three in the series (yes, I have the paperbacks – they’re just that good!) and dived right back into the fascinating and amazing world of The Chronicles of Tournai. I’d barely forgotten anything since reading them at the beginning of the year, but I wanted to make sure that all the little details were still fresh in my mind, especially since Savarin – our MC here – was just a minor character previously.
Boy am I glad that I did.
As before, this is a top notch, 5-star read. Not only does the series not have a formula that gets boring, because each book has a unique take in a world I’m already familiar with, but it plucks these minor characters out of the background and lets us get to know them in a way that absolutely makes sense.
Quite honestly, I’d love to see more. I want stories for Griffin, Bastian, Jadis and Corentin. By then, maybe little Julien and Alain will be old enough for their stories, too. I could quite happily have this series go on and on and on so that it never ended. And I bet that then as of now, they’d all be 5-star reads.
Once again, we got the dual POV storytelling that let us get to know Savarin and Loriot better, without ever feeling like we were left out. The fact that we also got to read Philip and Amory’s POV’s was great, because I love that they’re this little thread of connection through the entire series.
Another thread is that there’s an overarching storyline – from Philip being King and all that entails, to little Julien growing up, even to the threat from Ardunnian spies – there’s always some little thing that brings all the stories together and makes them really connect as a series. After reading this one, I’m now really curious about Julien’s reaction to the strengthening of the spells and Alain’s reaction to water. I find them really intriguing and only hope that means they’ll be picked up on in the next book or maybe even the one after that.
And that’s what is so good about this series. Though there are tiny little things that seem insignificant at the time, that you wonder about and that go unexplained or seem like a fluke, really they’re quite important. And, at the heart of it all, each book is it’s own individual novel and plot. All the important questions are answered, all the important characters play their part and so on. Not one of these books has ever felt incomplete.
When it came to the characters, I really wanted to read Savarin and Loriot’s stories, especially as I was re-reading books 1-3 in preparation for reading this. It just never occurred to me that they could end up together! And it absolutely worked. The banter they had, at the beginning, when they pretty much disliked each other but were reluctantly attracted to each other, was fantastic. It really set the pace and the excitement factor for the rest of the novel.
That first kiss! Holy cow! That was scorching hot and it was just a little more of what was already some pretty serious chemistry, even when they disliked each other. That storm that brought them together really was the epitome of their entire relationship – calm moments, hot and heavy flashes and some real intensity that rocked the foundations. The way they were with each other for the first half of the book was really a really nice two-way affair. They both went in with their eyes open, knowing what to expect and how long it would last, which wasn’t long. It’s unlike the way Etan and Tristan were with each other when they began their affair, and I loved that subtle comparison.
There were a few dicey moments when I really wondered what was going to happen, how things were going to pan out and if this might be the first that spread the overall plot over into a second novel, but it all worked out so fantastically in the end. I loved that Savarin got to be his bullish, feisty, argumentative self with Philip (and everyone else). But I also really loved that he and Loriot had this careful knowing, this calm understanding between them that slowly blossomed into more. The way they made a clear attempt to adjust to each other, to accept and include each other, even when it was difficult, was just beautiful.
Little Alain and Prince Julien were surprisingly brilliant side characters in this novel. I’ve always loved Julien since he first came along, but the addition of Alain was a perfect exciteable balance for the calm Prince. I’m intrigued to see them become friends and how that will fare.
The second time Savarin made that toy horse run I was almost in tears. I can’t tell you more than that because it was such a moment. But trust me when I say that it really affected me. There were a lot of moments, a lot of conversations and small incidents that had me near to tears or laughing out loud or just swooning over this sweet couple, but I can’t tell you about them. I refuse to ruin it with spoilers. You’ll just have to read it.
Overall, this was one more book in the novel that I became totally and completely immersed in. I was captivated right from the start.
Another incredible piece of beautiful writing and world building. And another paperback I’ll be adding to my shelf. Along with any others, the author writes within this series.
About the Author:
Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.
She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.
Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.
She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Rainbow Romance Writers.