Servant of the Seasons 3: Spring by Lee Benoit – review

Rating: 7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ Title: Servant of the Seasons 3: Spring
Author: Lee Benoit
Genre: Speculative/science-fiction
URL: Torquere
Price: US $2.48
Other Information/warnings: Violence, m/m
Summary [from the publisher]:
Edor, Lys and Tywyll continue to work hard to make their land and home better as winter turns to spring. They’re focused on keeping the spring floods their home, building channels so the water reaches their fields instead. They also continue to learn more about Cynar, the Novigi they found during the winter, who comes in very useful for keeping their farm secret from passers-by.
Varas has not forgotten Edor and his two helpers though and he shows up, making demands in return for not giving away the secret of their existence to the Salters. Edor and Cynar refuse to give Varas what he wants, fighting against the Salters who come to take their land, which helps the two grow closer every day. Can they keep their little farm, and family, afloat?

My review: This addictive and beautiful series continues to compel. Benoit nicely manages to keep an edge of uncertainty both over the happy threesome’s relationship, and their all-too-precarious Eden in this harsh and dangerous world. The newcomer, Cynar, who we met right at the end of Part 2, plays a central role in this one, and I thought his simultaneous lonely and loner personality was well-depicted. Edor is the one who has to tease this hurt, wary and often obnoxious youngster into the fold, and does so sometimes clumsily, but realistically.

I did think the attraction between the two was not clearly led up to – that it was a bit like the spare male thing in slash stories where the author tries to pair everyone up – though the actual pairing is something that works well enough. Edor’s delicate situation as friend and sometime lover on the edge of a committed mate relationship is nicely depicted, and I like very much how Benoit shows each of the four bringing their talents and their flaws to bear, how they balance each other. Cynar is nothing at all like the other two Novigi, but the story shows his worth to the group, even though he’s so much harder-edged than the others.

The pacing is fine, and the story is imbued with the chilly yet lively atmosphere of Spring. The tension is maintained well throughout and once again, we leave Edor and the others at a precarious point in their existence, so the reader is ready for the fourth and final part.

I had two criticisms of the writing – a conspicuous overavoidance of the word said at points, which showed a clumsiness which I really don’t expect from this fine author; and the sex scenes, while fun and tender, did seem a bit sparse on detail. A bit lacking in the sensory information that Benoit gives so freely elsewhere. I also thought a couple of phrases were a bit on the accidentally humorous side – diving onto or nursing pricks don’t give me quite the erotic image the author was hoping for.

But these really are minor nitpicks in an otherwise very enjoyable and welcome addition to this series, and I will be eagerly looking for the next installment. Recommended, as are the previous two in this series (and if you haven’t read those, this one will make no sense at all.) The previous stories were reviewed here:
Part 1
Part 2