A Taste of Gold and Iron is a very introspective book, we follow prince Kadou as he seems to almost bumble at times though his life and duty, we discover very early on that he suffers greatly with anxiety and I thought that was written in a sensitive way and as an anxiety sufferer myself I had a lot of understanding in the situations he was in. When I first picked it up i was flying through the pages convinced that this was going be a five star read but whilst i liked that we spent a lot of time with Kadou initially, by about half way through i was starting to get tired by the lack of plot progression, by that point i realised that this was more of a character piece than a plot driven one and when I readjusted my expectations from the story i was able to get back into the flow.
A Taste of Gold and Iron is at its heart a romance book and palace life is secondary to that, so do keep that in mind if you, like me , were expecting an epic fantasy. The burgeoning relations between Kadou and Evemer are sensitively written given its shaky start and Evemers preconceptions about Kadou. The story does start in tragedy worn by a relationship that should not have become as close as it had and even if i felt it could have been condensed, its only right that Evemer took as long as he did to reach that point. We have tropes for days, with miscommunication, enemies to lovers, forbidden romance, one bed, honestly if you’re a romance fan there is a whole lot for you to love in these pages.
When the action gets going it is fast paced and the time spent getting to know the characters really gripped you in their sense of peril, one of my absolute favourite scenes is with Kadou and Evemer who have to think quickly to create a ruse, it is just wonderfully done and its continued effect on the rest of the story really helped pull it back round for me, how two pins of metal could make my heart burst as much as it did is quite the achievement. The worldbuilding when you get it is wonderful, a really rich environment is woven in the pages. The description of the palace and the clothing really pulled me and I could picture it all perfectly.
In the end, i did really enjoy this book, even though it wasn’t quite what i was expecting it to be, I really bonded with the characters and liked the way it played out, if the romance had been more balanced with the political plot it would easily have been a 5 star read for me.