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August 19, 2023

To Charm a Dark Prince by Kathryn Ann Kingsley ~ a Review

by MK French

graphical representation of review of To Charm a Dark Prince by Kathryn Ann Kingsley

When Gwen is transported to an Avalon trapped in crystal by Mordred, the Prince in Iron, she sees little means to escape. Striking a deal to get home, she joins Mordred's court intending to ruin his plans. The two have an instant attraction, complicating everything.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of dark fantasy novel To Charm a Dark Prince by Kathryn Ann Kingsley
August 2023; Second Sky; 978-1837904648
audio, ebook, print (298 pages); dark fantasy

To Charm a Dark Prince
 is the first book in the Iron Crystal series, and is an enemies-to-lovers romance in a fantasy realm. Gwen is a nineteen-year-old living on a farm in Kansas with anxiety and panic attacks that leave her passing out when she stops breathing. She curses a lot and has few prospects for her future, but a fire in the house has her jumping through a portal into an Avalon devastated by war. Arthur was once a real king, and the Knights of the Round Table were real as well, and Avalon was an island realm that was kind of a pit stop between other ones. It sometimes infuses people with magical power, making them an elemental. Unfortunately, it's random and didn't help Arthur. Instead, Mordred was infused with power, and he can control iron. This is one of the few things that can inhibit magic, so he created an iron crystal to hold all of the elementals of Avalon so they would stop capriciously waging war with each other.

Gwen is now a fire elemental, and the first novelty on Avalon in hundreds of years. Magic changed her shape to be just about irresistible to Mordred and Lancelot, so she's caught in the middle of old rivalries and the factions that want the crystal broken and Mordred's desire to keep it intact to protect the very people that revile him. She sees both sides of this argument but is also stricken by how inflexible and absolute Mordred's rule is. Given this is the first book of a series, we know that it won't end in a neat way.

For all that Mordred is hundreds of years old thanks to magic, and so are the remaining Knights of the Round Table, they all act like high schoolers with their first crush. It's a bit off-putting for me because I found Mordred's behavior too inconsistent. Then again, he and the other Knights lived in something like stasis for those hundreds of years, with nothing new or challenging to help them grow. He's emotionally on the same level as Gwen, so at least their mutual attraction made sense. I'm not sure who to root for, because this is an Avalon that's lost much of its luster and is full of misery. I can only hope that whatever the ultimate outcome in the series, it will be better for the changes that are coming.

Buy To Charm a Dark Prince at Amazon


Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever. 



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