Book Review: Fool Me Once by Ariana Nash

Fool Me Once

Author: Ariana Nash
Series: Court of Pain, book 1
Publisher: Independent (March 3, 2023)
Kindle edition, 315 pages
Fantasy, Dark Adult Fantasy M/M Romance


The king of the Court of Love wants me dead, the queen wants me in her bed, and the prince… He wants the only piece of me I will never surrender.

They call me jester, dancer, trickster, lover.
I exist to entertain.

But behind my sideways smiles, my quick hands and magicians tricks, I trade in their lies, their secrets. I know their deepest desires, their wicked schemes. Their sins are my currency.

The Court of Love is a card castle, and I hold the card that’s about to bring it all down.

And they say I’m the fool…


Fool Me Once is a dark MM fantasy brimming with courtly spice, morally ambiguous anti-heroes, and a fool who plays them all.

This is a dark world with adult content. For triggers, please see the author’s website for details.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Holy shit.

I needed a few days before I could write more than the above for my review, haaaa. First of all, if you’re sensitive to any triggers, please do read the content warnings on this one. There were a couple moments where I sort of had to switch gears to something fluffy to shake off the shudder (Razak, ick).

This book destroyed me. Also, fair warning, it does end on a cliffhanger. Book two, Fool Me Twice, comes out in June 2023 and I have ants in my pants waiting that long. I NEED TO KNOWWWWW. I also really hope the sort of love triangle element goes the way I WANT it to go, but with how dark this book is I’m not getting my hopes up too high.

I love Lark. A “beautiful lie” is the perfect way to describe him, and I just have such a soft spot for broken boys who are soft inside but have iron walls so thick you can’t ever get to their gooey marshmallow center. My heart also breaks again and again for Arin.

For the first half of the book, this is told in Lark’s POV, but about halfway through we also get Arin’s POV (which I love!) Both of these men are so complex and layered, if we didn’t get the story from each of their points of view we’d miss out on SO MUCH. Their chemistry is explosive, and even they aren’t really sure from moment to moment if they want to kiss or kill the other – heck, maybe both!

High, high angst in this one, which usually isn’t my jam but it’s just so good.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

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