Saturday, December 8, 2012

Review & GIVEAWAY of Velvet by Xavier Axelson

The first novel from Xavier Axelson is set against a backdrop of decadence, privilege, and intrigue. Virago, the royal tailor, makes a discovery that will test the bonds of brotherhood, unravel the forbidden secrets of his heart and threaten the very fabric of his existence.

In a land where cruelty is disguised as allegiance, loyalty is masked by obligation and the laws of sumptuary govern the people, nothing is more dangerous than Velvet.


Velvet is a sweeping historical story showing the ugly underbelly of royalty amidst its riches and pomp in a time where loving another man could get you killed.  Into this ugliness comes the simple beauty of a fabric that becomes the catalyst to a new life for a simple tailor, his blind brother, and a musician.  

Virago had always thought himself a friend to Prince Duir and his friends until the Prince becomes King and he comes to realize his true place and sees them in a new, less favorable light.  He sees their unending desires for only the best, their mockery of those less than perfect, and their unrelenting need to keep the lower classes in their place.  I'm sad for Virago once he realizes these truths for it's the end of the life he's known.  His safety and sense of home ends.  Luckily he has the forbidden love of Seton to stabilize him.  He's always hidden from the feelings of love he has towards men but Seton forces him to accept the truth about himself.  It's both a freeing moment and a damning one.  The moment they lay eyes on one another you can sense the electricity and their first time together is both frantic and wondrous.  Seton is exotic and larger than life and is exactly what the staid and loyal Virago needs and they're a match made in heaven.

Duir and his men are typical politicians, full of duplicity and feelings of self-entitlement.  You could always sense danger around them and there were many subtle instances, and one large scene, showing their vileness.  While their actions and attitudes were stereotypical that didn't make them any less villainous with readers rooting for their demise.  At the end of the story their lives have definitely changed too, and not necessarily for the better.

Along with the immensely likable Virago and Seton comes Virago's blind brother Sylvain.  He has a connection to animals and has a sense of the future.  He's wise, though many would think him weak because of his blindness.  I found him mysteriously sexy and sincerely hope his story will be told as I felt this story still has more to tell.

Xavier Axelson has written a very satisfying story full of vivid descriptions with a nice balance of drama and romance.  It started off a bit wordy but quickly jumped into the action.  Overall it felt like an HBO show with its ability to draw me in and kept me on the edge of my seat as history and melodrama collided.  With the promise shown here I greatly look forward to what he publishes next and will put him on my list of authors to watch.

My rating for this is a B+

*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.


Prize is a digital copy of Velvet to a random commenter.

-Giveaway is OPEN TO EVERYONE.
-To be entered, leave a comment, along with your email addy.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 12/15.


  1. I am always interested in seeing the other side of the story ;)


  2. Thank you so much for the kind and thoughtful review! And for hosting velvet :) xo xa

  3. "Decadence, privilege, and intrigue." Yes! Love historical stories, and would love to read this. Thanks!

    brendurbanist at gmail dot com

  4. This sounds fascinating and I'd love to read it.