Book Review – Duke the Hall by E.J. Russell

Royal Powers #9
Publisher: Indie
Pages: 129
Characters: Tarik/Sander
POV: 3rd
Genre: Paranormal, Shared World, Series

A yuletide wedding brings tidings of comfort, joy… and peril.

Eighteen months ago, Tarik Jaso, Duke of Arles, would have been thrilled if Sander Fiala, Duke of Roses, sank beneath the waves along with his stupid boat.

That was then.

Now, Tarik can’t wait to head out on a private sail with Sander—a sail that will culminate in a highly public, politically significant wedding. Their union will be the first one between North and South Abarran royalty in centuries. If all goes to plan, it will usher in a new era of peace and cooperation between their countries.

But as the big day approaches, their meticulous arrangements begin to fall apart. Can Sander and Tarik weather the storm of political opposition, familial objection, and outright betrayal to reach the altar at last?

Duke the Hall is a 41,000-word M/M superhero rom-com featuring two dukes determined to tie the knot, relatives both helpful and annoying, spiteful thunderstorms, superhero sabotage, and hints that things are not all they seem.

Note: Duke the Hall is not a stand-alone story. It’s the sequel to Duking It Out and as such contains spoilers for the earlier book.

Buy Link


I love this shared world/series, so grabbed this to read as soon as I spotted it, and enjoyed it as much as the original, Duking it Out. The characters are great, the twist on superpowers a little different from the norm, and I love the humour in the mix.

I enjoyed catching up with Sander and Tariq eighteen months later. Although they’ve been together a while Sander is still struggling with doubts that Tariq is having second thoughts about their wedding. I thought that felt realistic, considering Sander’s history, and his old nickname which some still use. Tariq and Sander are sweet together, in love, and it shows. I loved how they’re able to complement each other’s powers, and how far they’ve both come in controlling them, and using them to their advantage, rather than their powers ruling them.

The supporting cast are great, especially Katalina, Luken, and Bastien. Bastien needs his own HEA. I loved that Cousin Bianca keeps making it rain on Tariq. She was a strong presence in the story, despite not appearing on page. Nicely done. I was very happy to see Hugo and Remy again. I enjoyed their story.

I thought this was a wonderful sequel, and I enjoyed their HEA.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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