Book Review: The Prince of Secrets by A.J. Lancaster


Wyn knows falling for Hetta Valstar is a bad idea. She’s not only human but the new magically bonded ruler of Stariel Estate. If their relationship gets out, it’ll cause a scandal that could ruin their attempts to sort out the estate’s crumbling finances.

And it doesn’t help that Stariel has decided it doesn’t like him.

But more than jealous sentient estates and Hetta’s good name are at stake. Wyn’s past is coming back to bite him. Ten years ago, he broke an oath and shattered the power of his home court, and the fae have been hunting him ever since. Now they’ve found his hiding place, they won’t rest until he’s dead or the debt is repaid–and they don’t play nicely.



I don’t know why I waited to read this sequel because it was absolutely delightful. Maybe I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to the first book, which was one of my favorite reads of the year, but I think it not only lived up to it but surpassed it in some ways.

There will be spoilers in this for the first book so if you haven’t read that one yet you may want to skip this review for now.

This story starts out a couple of weeks after the ending of the first one. Things are ramping up for the winter solstice celebration at Stariel and Hetta is not only getting used to her knew position as Lord of the mortal fae land, but also her change of relationship with Wyn. Meanwhile, Wyn is also dealing with several of the Valstar’s finding out that he’s actually a fae prince and this new relationship with Hetta as well.

A lot of the story is set from Wyn’s POV which I really loved. After being such a mystery in the first book it was great to see things from his perspective. He’s such a gentle and caring soul, even though his fae side can be fierce when needed. Most of the fae consider his personality as a weakness and Wyn spends a lot of time thinking about that and how he’s not sorry and he doesn’t consider it a weakness (even if it does cause him problems among the other fae). He also spends a lot of time thinking about pulling the old ‘noble sacrifice’ trope and I love that Hetta knows him well enough to call him on it and try to dissuade him or at least tell her and not just run away without saying anything to her because they’re in this together. I feel like up until now Wyn’s been quite alone and used to handling things on his own so this is taking some getting used to for him.

Much of the story is about Wyn’s past coming back to him. Now that the law forbidding the fae from crossing over into human lands has been revoked his family is free to come and seek him out. He has a lot of unfinished business from when he ran away a decade earlier and all this comes to a head again. His own court is after him as well as those of a rival court who he had broke an oath with. Breaking oaths is serious business for the Fae. I continue to love how the various Fae are depicted here. They all have their own personalities but they also all feel something other than human, excepting maybe Wyn because he’s been living among them so long and adapted so many of their ways. Anyway, as this is the major conflict of the book, trying to figure out how best to protect Stariel and its residents from the Fae that are after Wyn without sacrificing Wyn in the process, this brings a lot of tension to the story. This one also has a surprising amount of action in it, which I was pleased by. I feel like the pacing is nicely balanced between lovely little moments between various characters and action.

As for other characters, I love Hetta. I don’t know, I feel like I enjoyed her a lot more in this book than in the previous one. Maybe I just can’t spend that much time in her head or maybe it was seeing her so much through Wyn’s POV that made me love her so much here. Either way, she’s fantastic and taking well to her new position. I also love that she doesn’t hold back from Wyn too much in letting him know what she’s thinking. It’s clear to her how important he is to her. I also loved all the other Valstars in this. Jack and Marius being over protective of Hetta was quite funny if only because it showed how much they cared. They both still have things they need to work through from things that happened in the first book, but they are making progress and that’s nice to see. I liked that this book focused on less of the Valstars as I think in book one there was just a little too much going on with all of them compared to this book which felt more focused.

Overall, I had a lot of fun with this book and breezed right through it–it’s a light and fun read that is full of great emotional content. I pretty much loved everything about this story and am looking forward to book three. 5/5 stars.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: The Prince of Secrets by A.J. Lancaster

    • waytoofantasy says:

      They’re really fun! And quick reads. I’m super looking forward to diving into book 3 but am trying to hold off because book 4 comes out later this year. I hope you get a chance to check these out. πŸ™‚

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Yeah, I thought that was really interesting. In a way it put me in mind of how some fae stories treat Faerie as a bit sentient. The estate is like a part of Faerie that’s not inside of Faerie in a way.

  1. cari lyn jones says:

    I am happy to see that I am not the only one who enjoy this series so much! To me, it has almost a regency feel to it, with its pacing and focus on family and social expectations. And yet the setting makes it so much more! The ending was a bit quick on this one, but totally forgivable. And I love the interesting creatures that the author includes and the beautiful way she describes them. Not to mention that the characters are so easy to become attached to, even if you have just met them.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Yeah, it very much has a regency feel to it although it also feels very…Edwardian maybe? If that’s the right era? Because the technology is a little further along. But it’s definitely fantasy of manners, that’s for sure. I love that subgenre.
      I agree the ending was a little rushed but I loved so much about this book it’s hard to find fault with it. πŸ™‚

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