Rating: 4 Swords
Okay, where do I even begin with this precious little book? I’ve been following and interacting with darling Selina on social media for a while now, and I knew I wanted to get my hands on Servant, Mercenary, Brother, the prequel to her Mercenary and Mage Duology, as soon as it came out. But the need was truly cemented when my friend and fellow author Jenni Sauer bought it and started raving about it on social media.
Oh my gosh, I was so not disappointed.
Servant, Mercenary, Brother follows two of the main characters from the Mercenary and Mage Duology, Regulus and Dresden, as kids. When Dresden’s parents are on the brink of starvation due to debts they owe for moving to Monparth, Dresden decides to sell himself as a servant to pay the debt back and save his family. He’s appointed a servant to Regulus, a boy about his age, and is terrified of how he’s going to be treated, as most indentured servants don’t have a good track record with their masters. But as time goes on, Regulus proves to Dresden again and again that he doesn’t want to be seen as master but instead longs for a friend.
There are so many little stories of the boys’ antics as they grow older and closer in friendship. There’s the time when they go swimming and get spotted by a group of girls, and Dresden shows himself a true flirt while Regulus wants to sink into the stream and never emerge. There’s another one where Dresden lands himself in trouble with his employer and Regulus takes the punishment to save him.
My favorite parts of the story, however, has to be when Regulus and Dresden, now young men, become mercenaries. In enters the rest of Regulus’ group of mercenaries, all of which have the BEST personalities and banter. They steal your heart almost as quickly as they get their jobs done. *winks*
There were so many things I loved about this little book and its grouping of stories, and I feel like I’m fangirling more than writing a coherent review. (Oh well — not like any of you are surprised. *shrugs*)
Selina’s characters are my favorites. Regulus is noble and gentle and constantly in his head over everything he does. He doesn’t believe he’s a person worthy of friendship and love, doesn’t believe he makes a good leader, and I just want to hug him forever. Dresden is a freaking MESS and is always getting into trouble, making snarky comments, or flirting, and I am HERE for it!
The friendship in this book is one of the best parts, though. Something I’ve constantly harped on with fiction today is that there are very few solid, healthy male friendships. They’re practically nonexistent. So to not only see a healthy male friendship grow in this little vignette collection, but to know that I can expect more of this in the Mercenary and Mage Duology is literally EVERYTHING. Selina did an amazing job of recognizing and pulling this off.
The only reason this book doesn’t have five stars is simply because one thing I noticed when reading is that Dresden’s family kind of gets written out and never heard from again. I don’t know if this was purposeful and something that will be addressed in the Mercenary and the Mage Duology or if they were simply forgotten. Regardless, it’s a minor detail, but it’s one that I was surprised about since Dresden was all about his family and then never really does anything with them again.
Still, SUCH an amazing book, and I highly recommend you go get it!!! I’m currently awaiting my copy of Prince of Shadow and Ash, the first book in the duology, and I can’t wait to revisit all of these characters!
Also, be on the lookout for an author interview with Selina coming up in the next few weeks!