This is a strange book to review.On one hand it did keep me interested in the plot and characters right through.
On the other hand it did unsettle me. Not in a ‘let’s think of the darkness of humanity’ kind of a way, but the ‘please stop leering over the young sex-slave boys’ way.
Don’t pick it up if you are expecting a romance novel. They are hinting that it might evolve into one later in the series. Opposites attract and so on, but for now it more about getting to know the characters and the situation they are in. Both being unpleasant. Mainly rape, brutality, pedophilia and slavery. I guess how someone will react to all that, depends on the person. I was never shocked. Just uncomfortable.
It is not an erotic novel, but it is very sex heavy. (That’s a term, right?) As stated above, there is rape in this book; but because of their culture all the characters are very blasé about it. All besides the viewpoint character, Damen. Apparently they treat sex slaves better where he comes from. It’s a bit
a lot iffy.
As a fantasy, the world building is not grand or flashy, but it works well. The two different cultures are opposed nicely, with the one being greekish and the other loosely French based. (Correct me if I am wrong). Some descriptions do feel crow-barred in randomly and the story honestly reads like only a third of a bigger plot.
I like how well written the character of Laurent is. He is portrayed as a sadistic spider coldly manipulating his web of people; but throughout the book you get the sense that there is more going on with him. Damen was harder to gauge. A lot of the time I thought he was being hypocritical. I did listen to the book on audio and the reader did make Damen sound smarmy, aloof or cocky. It could have contributed to why I had trouble engaging with him.
It will split opinions and it’s not the championed LGBT book some have claimed. Not at all. It’s not the type of book you can recommend to others either. You might get strange looks afterward. It is a book that you can decide for yourself to pick up and read as a guilty pleasure or throw down in disgust. It’s really up to you. To me it was lukewarm.
The political intrigue and the ‘will/wouldn’t they get along’ is enough to tempt me in picking up the second book.