A Taste Of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson – Review & Giveaway!

I can’t stress to you all how much Fantasy and Science-Fiction with LGBTQIA characters mean to me, especially those centering Queer people of color. So when I heard about Kai Ashante Wilson’s follow-up to Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, I was ecstatic. Gay romances set in fantasy worlds really get to me, y’all. I am so thankful to writers like Kai Ashante Wilson for being fearless and unapologetic in writing stories with Queer characters, especially in the current – hostile – political climate. 

I read A Taste Of Honey before Sorcerer of the Wildeeps because even though the stories are set in the same world, they are not linked in any other way, so the order in which you read them does not matter.  This book was my introduction to the author’s writing. And what an impression he made!

The story follows a young man named Aqib bmg Sadiqi, he’s the youngest son and heir to the Master Of Beasts, as well as a fourth cousin to the royal family of Great Olorum. So Aqib is important, but low on the hierarchy. He’s meek, quiet, and loves caring for animals — just a wonderful human overall. One day, an embassy from the nation of Daluçan enters Olorum, and among the embassy is a beautiful soldier name Lucrio. The scene when Aqib and Lucrio meet (almost) literally melted my heart. The first line of dialogue is Lucrio shouting “Hey beautiful” to Aqib when he sees him in the distance, taking the prince’s Cheetah for a walk. Aqib does not at first think Lucrio was calling him beautiful, for in Olorum, relationships between two men are forbidden, as they defy the Saintly Canon. But for the next ten days, while Lucrio’s embassy is in Olorum, these two young men fall in love and Aqib must make a decision. Will he remain in Olorum, forsaking love, to fulfill his duties to family and country? Or will he leave everything behind for the love, happiness, and freedom a beautiful young soldier he just met offers him?

The narrative structure in A Taste Of Honey cleverly shifts between the 10 days during which Aqib met and fell in love with Lucrio and his future life. The chapters showing us Aqib’s future were gut-wrenching and upsetting to me because Aqib married a woman out of obligation to his family. One chapter, Aqib is blissfully happy in bed with Lucrio, and the next shows us a glimpse into a future in which Lucrio does not even exist. We are left wondering what could have possibly gone wrong to ruin such a perfect and lovely match. The mystery of it all will keep you engaged and turning the page, and the ending completely — well, you’ll have to read for yourself to find out! 😉

Kai Ashante Wilson is a gifted wordsmith and can create a turn of phrase that will enchant you. The lyrical, gorgeous writing enhanced my reading experience. Something else he’s great at is hinting at the vastness and history of the fantasy world in which A Taste Of Honey and Sorcerer Of The Wildeeps take pace. Reading this novella feels like more than an isolated story about two men who fall in love. You get the sense that this is a breathing world with traditions, laws, and history. The bits of world-building that peppered the story was fascinating. We get glimpses into divine beings, the role of women as the intellectuals in society, and much more. The potential to continue telling gripping, yet gorgeous stories within this same world is certainly there. I do hope Kai Ashante Wilson taps into that potential and creates an ongoing series!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.

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A Taste of Honey


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36 thoughts on “A Taste Of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson – Review & Giveaway!

  1. Gah! I am so glad that you were able to read this and share your thoughts with us! This has been on my TBR for a bit, but I may just have to read it sooner! I would want to read it just from how you described the meeting of Aqib and the solider alone!

    Great review as always 🙂

  2. The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps broke my heart when I read it. I’m so excited to read A Taste of Honey as my library hold is finally on its way to me! I agree that Kai Ashante Wilson is an excellent writer and does novellas so well. I’m hoping at some point he turns to novels as I’d love to see how he handles a longer narrative. His work is rich enough in world building that I believe he could do it.

  3. ooh this sounds really good! I really like the idea of the setup where you get to see them get together and then flash forward to them not being together- definitely makes me intrigued! Plus the world building in this sounds really complex! Shame I’m not a US citizen or I’d enter 😉

  4. Dude, I just recently got this book when it went on sale on the Kindle app. I have yet to read it, but it’s on my TBR for this month, and I’m so glad to hear you really liked it! I actually had no idea it was set in the same world as a previous book, lol. It is reassuring to know, however, that I won’t need to read said first book before this one, since I really wanna get to this book after I finish my current one.

    1. It was never quite clear (to me) if Lucrio was a POC. It wasn’t explicitly stated, I think? Perhaps he was left racially ambiguous on purpose. It’s interesting how even the cover leaves it unclear. But Aqib is precious, and a beautiful MOC, I need to see him in another story. 😭

  5. This book sounds both heart-wrenching and amazing! I added The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps to my “to read” list on Goodreads because it sounded interesting and seemed unique among SFF given the diversity aspects. I now have to add this one as well. I might have to buy the Kindle version and read A Taste of Honey before I get to Sorcerer…

    Thanks for featuring this book and author. I am going to have to prioritize these in my reading. Much love! <3

  6. So glad you liked this one! And thanks for the giveaway (okay gotta say beforehand, super sorry for filling in one of the wrong forms, whoops lol.)

    Aqib sounds like an amazing character. I love the quiet, compassionate, genuine ones out there who are really low-key but ultimately you just GET, you know? It sounds like I would love reading through his narrative. The forbidden romance also sounds soooo good to me – that’s one of my favorite tropes, and it sounds like the author wrote it really nicely in this book. I also really like the cover and that color scheme, very mysterious and draws the eye. 😛

    Wonderful review!

  7. I didn’t realize this was the second book in a set– but I LOVE it when books are set in the same world and yet not serially written. This book is totally up my alley. It’s been on my TBR since I first heard of it many months ago.

    I agree that queer sci-fi/fantasy is something I am passionate about. It’s great to explore the diversity these worlds allow. Besides, I’m shocked at how underrepresented any sort of QUILTBAG relationship is in these genres. They basically scream for these sorts of relationships because they can be accepted as status-quo. More please! 🙂

    Great review, Naz. As always, you sold me.

  8. I’ve had Sorcerer of the Wildeeps on my kindle for a while and have been putting off picking it up. I might see if I can buy a copy of A Taste of Honey and read that first because it seems to get much better reviews generally than Sorcerer of Wildeeps, however, I am on a book buying ban so I’ll just have to see which one I end up tackling first!

  9. Thank you so much for another wonderful review! I have had the e-book for a while now and I can say it is rocketing to the top of my e-tbr. The book sounds very engaging and now I really want to know how the story ends! Thank you for another giveaway. I am not entering because I already have the e-book and want someone else to win it.

  10. I’m glad you really enjoyed this one!! I also really like more diverse characters in sci-fi and fantasy. I love the sci–fi genre but have recently tried to find more books by diverse author’s too. Thanks for putting this on my radar!

  11. ‘…taking the prince’s Cheetah for a walk’ – as we all are, at some point during the day 😉

    Great review Naz! 🙂

  12. Any book that features queer POC automatically goes on my TBR. How could it not? Also, “The first line of dialogue is Lucrio shouting “Hey beautiful” to Aqib when he sees him in the distance, taking the prince’s Cheetah for a walk,” this is the moment where I decided I was going to buy this book and The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps (which has just been chilling out on my TBR for a while now) to keep me company during my upcoming book buying ban.

    Great review as per usual, Naz!

      1. It’s less ban more “I gave up book buying for Lent, and now I’m probably going to go into withdrawal.” So, I have to sit here and twiddle my thumbs until April 16th. On the plus side, I’d already pre-ordered a few books that’ll drop during this time, so I can get surprise book mail.

        Oh, I really need to tell myself not to buy books when I know I don’t have time to read them because I’ve gotten bad over the past year and have way too many unread books I thirst-bought.

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