Book Review: Temper by Nicky Drayden

In a world where almost everyone has a twin, and twins share vices and virtues between them, lesser twins---ones with more vices---get the short end of the stick. Auben, a lesser twin, finds that his life gets even more complicated when he gets possessed and his relationship with his twin, Kasim, gets even more strained in their search for answers.

Book Review: Temper by Nicky Drayden | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy
Title: Temper
Pages: 400
My Rating: 3 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received an ecopy of this book via Edelweiss. This has not influenced my review.*

This was a unique fantasy book involving twins, possessions, vices, virtues, gods, and unexpected twists, all taking place in an African-based setting. I’m not sure if I should classify it as paranormal/urban fantasy or high fantasy or magical realism or mythology or maybe even metaphysical & visionary since it took place in a land very similar to ours in some ways but very different in others. But whatever it was, it explored some interesting concepts and ideas. However, I did have a few issues, so this seems like a good time for some lists.


– I know it was because of the proximity aspect of the twin bond, how being physically close actually made them feel physically better, but I loved seeing Auben and Kasim holding each other, putting an arm around the other, huddling close in a bed, seeking comfort with each other, etc. without any sense of toxic masculinity.

– I also loved the brother relationship in general and how much Auben loved and cared about Kasim and didn’t want them to drift apart. But they also had their issues, so it wasn’t always a perfect relationship.

– Auben cracked me up sometimes. He was the lesser twin with all the vices and did bad things sometimes, but I couldn’t help but like him. And I loved that, even though he was the more misbehaved and mischievous one, he didn’t fall into any stereotype and was also really smart when he wanted to be and did have some good in him.

– The African-based setting was interesting.

– There were some thought-provoking themes/messages in the end, especially in regards to the vices and virtues.


– My biggest issue was that I was confused about so many things. Almost nothing was explained, you were just supposed to figure it out from context, but this was a completely different world, and I needed more explanation about how the twinning and vices/virtues worked. I was also confused about the world and who was affected by the things that happened. Considering certain things, it stands to reason the whole world should’ve been affected, except it sounded like only two small cities were. I’m not even sure there was a whole world.

– Auben’s romantic feelings jumped around too much to be believable. *MILD SPOILER* He was in a relationship, then all the sudden he was saying he never had real feelings for her and was in love with someone else, then later in the book he was suddenly in love with the first girl. *END SPOILER*

Mixed Feelings:

– The writing was kind of matter-of-fact. It took me a bit of getting used to, but I did get used to it and started to enjoy it more as the story went on.

– I felt like the gender stuff in the book might be a bit problematic since, even though there were more than two genders, they were still assigned based on body type, and one character’s pronouns changed when their body type changed. But there was a trans character, and near the end, Auben had a realization that gender is about more than body type.

Overall Thoughts:

Despite the confusion, this was not a bad book. I would’ve liked more world-building and explanations, but I thought the story was unique, thought-provoking, and surprising, and other people might easily enjoy it more than I did.


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  1. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    Sorry this one wasn’t better for you but it does sound quite interesting. I do like it when authors are brave and experimental with genders and sexuality but it sounds like the world building could have been better/clearer.

    I’m going to pick up Shadow of the Fox maybe this month so let me know if you’re keen on Buddy Reading? DM me on Twitter!

  2. Crystal @ Lost in Storyland

    I love books with foreign settings and strong sibling relationships, but it’s hard for me to get into a book when I’m confused about the world or when the romance is unbelievable. Sorry this didn’t quite work out for you!

  3. Bookworm Brandee

    This isn’t something I’d normally read since I’m not much of a fantasy/high fantasy reader but I think the premise sounds interesting. The twinning element and the African-based setting are appealing. It’s too bad there wasn’t enough explanation/world building/setup because that would probably have helped you enjoy it more even if the writing was more matter-of-fact.
    Happy Monday, Kristen!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I definitely found the twins and African setting appealing too! I do like fantasy, but I would’ve enjoyed a bit more explanation. Still not bad though!

  4. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    So I think it may be confusing at times but after reading your review, I really do want to read this. I’ve been wanting it since reading Prey of Gods, the authors first book. Did you read it? It was awesome. Go read it now…I’ll wait. I need more people to fangirl over it with me.

    I honestly can see how possession could complicate your life. Sold me on that one 🙂 Great review and thanks for sharing your likes and dislikes, Looks like I’ll have to pay close attention when reading this one.

    1. Kristen Burns

      You should! I haven’t read Prey of Gods. Lol I’m sorry you don’t have enough people to fangirl with!

      Possession would definitely complicate things just a little bit 😛 Thanks! Who knows, maybe you’ll understand it better than I did! I understand some of the stuff eventually, but it took me until the end of the book lol.

  5. Greg

    Sounds pretty unique and original. Glad you liked it in spite of the worldbuilding stuff mostly. I think we’re (very slowly) starting to see more African inspired fantasy and that’s kinda nice.

  6. ShootingStarsMag

    The relationship between the brothers sounds really intriguing, and I think I’d like that aspect too. Thanks for the pros/cons list! It really helps give you an idea of what might or might not work for a reader. 🙂


  7. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I like the idea of twins having shared vices and virtues, that’s a different one. I also like the idea of an African setting, I am always happy for more diversity. Sounds like it had its flaws, I definitely wouldn’t cope with the lack of explanation for the twin thing especially if the world itself is so different. And the relationship stuff sounds really weird… I dunno, it’s a difficult one when it’s such a cool concept.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s a unique idea I’ve not come across, so I liked that too. And I think this was the first African setting book I’d read! But yeah, I struggle if I don’t have enough explanation about things.

  8. Tori @ InToriLex

    I skimmed this because I’m currently reading Temper. I do agree with the matter of fact writing being something you have to get used to. We’ll see how I feel when I’m done overall.

  9. Lola

    Oh I was looking forward to your review of this one. It sounded good. The whole twin dynamic sounds well done. I don’t think I’ve read many books with twins actually. I like the sound of how Auben didn’t fall into stereotypes and still was a likable character even with all the vices he had. And an African based setting sounds pretty unique.

    I can definitely see how the world needs a bit more explanation to make sense and come alive. That’s too bad it was so confusing at times. And that’s strange about how Auben’s romantic feelings jumped around. Glad you still enjoyed parts of despite the confusing world building and other issues.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I did like the twin dynamic! I like reading about twins too, though it’s kinda hard to find.

      Maybe I’m just not good at figuring things out lol, but I definitely could’ve used more explanation. Thanks, I’m glad I was still able to enjoy it too!

  10. Ash

    This one looks really interesting. I LOVE the cover. I hate books that are confusing though. There has to be a good line between not explaining enough and explaining way too much.

  11. Olivia Roach

    This sounds like an interesting one. I wish there were more things explained though. It sounds like it stems and crosses across so many genres that it becomes so hard to classify xD You did good for trying though! I am also all for the setting and how the twins are so close both physically and linked in all the other ways too. I’m always here for twin sibling bonds. I don’t know why I love reading about twins so much but I do 😛