Review: The Golden Key Chronicles, AJ Nuest

April 14, 2014 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: The Golden Key Chronicles, AJ NuestRowena's Key by AJ Nuest
Series: The Golden Key Chronicles #1
Published by HarperImpulse on 2013-2014
Genres: Adult Fiction, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 400
Source: Author
Amazon • Amazon UK

The key would unlock his future and the safety of his kingdom, but he never imagined the sorceress would unlock his heart…

Antiques restorer, Rowena Lindstrom, finds herself the owner of an ancestral armoire containing a hidden key and a magic mirror leading to another realm!

But the handsome warrior prince waiting on the other side is truly the final straw. This must be an elaborate joke, right? As she struggles to discover the truth, Rowena learns Prince Caedmon Austiere needs the key to save his kingdom. In the end, she cannot deny him anything. Including her heart.

angelyas_reviewA steamy romantic fantasy set both in our world and in an ancient realm, The Golden Key Chronicles is made up of four novellas of about a hundred pages each.

rowenaskey candrasfreedom caedmonscurse braedricsbane

Rowena, an antiques dealer in modern-day America, takes delivery of an ancient armoire that is more than it seems. It contains a mirror which is actually a veil between worlds, showing her an ancient kingdom where she is hailed as a powerful sorceress. The younger prince of the kingdom, Caedmon, is chosen through prophecy to bring a key and the sorceress through the veil to save the kingdom from war. Caedmon and Rowena find comfort in each other, even as they are forced to make sacrifices and carry out brave deeds for the kingdom’s survival.

I was sent these novellas for review from the author, AJ Nuest (thanks!), and as I hadn’t read the description for a short while I was expecting some light fantasy romance – I was slightly taken by surprise by the first steamy sex scene! The whole story told over these four novellas is a very enjoyable one, even if the events taking place were secondary to Caedmon and Rowena’s relationship. Yes, there is insta-love or close to it, but this is an erotic romance in a novella format – if it takes too long for characters to fall in love there would never be any juicy bits, would there?

Rowena was a great heroine: Strong, resourceful and decidedly kick-arse. I’m glad that she ended up having to use her own physical abilities to get things done, rather than being able to use magic like a sorceress is supposed to. It made her a slightly more believable character. Caedmon, on the other hand, is all brawn and the brain seems to be firmly in his nether regions! I suppose he is romantic at times and he does genuinely love Rowena, and hey, these are romantic shortish stories so I’ll forgive him!

My enjoyment of the story was slightly lessened by the fact that it appears that it wasn’t edited very well. The writing itself is gorgeous and I have no problem with the general structure of the stories, but there were a couple of things that really bugged me and they popped up a few times. For example, women should generally not be referred to as “maidens”, especially not after they’ve just had steamy sex with the handsome prince. Also, “whence” means “from what place”, as in, “whence did he come?”, and not as it is used several times here, in the place of “when”. My inner grammar nerd was displeased!

The writing style in these stories is very beautiful, with detailed descriptions of scenery and action sequences. The pacing in each was just right for a shorter story, ending on cliff-hangers but keeping the action rolling throughout. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for other works from AJ Nuest!

Rating for the whole series: four-stars – An enjoyable fantasy story with plenty of steamy romantic elements.


Anni lives in Brisbane, Australia with her young family. She loves everything fantasy and science fiction and believes sleep is really very underrated.

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