For Ress, survival is a complicated nightmare. Caught between two masters on different sides of the law, his life is falling apart one bad decision at a time. All he wants is to be is a good person, a loyal family man, and a successful metalsmith–a dream he can never obtain while he works for the Shar-denn, the violent gang that plagues the republic of Kattal.
To make matters worse, he works as an informant for the High Council. He scrapes through both jobs waiting for his last breath. As the Shar-denn motto says: the only way out is dead.
No stranger to living complicated decisions, Adren is caught between worlds of cir own. As the child of a Shar-denn faction boss, cir life is conflicted tangle of expectation and duty. When cir family is arrested, Adren manages to escape, but nowhere is safe. Desperate and on the run, Adren is determined to punish Ress for turning in cir family. No one who betrays the gang can live. Ress must pay the price, even if Adren has to go against everything ce is.
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I adore this series. I loved getting to see Tash and Mayr again along with Aeley and Lira. It was fascinating to see how the religious and political landscape differed from the viewpoint of characters that aren’t from the upper echelons of the society; from more common members of the society. This story focused more on the Shar-denn and how they influence the world Ms. Leah created. The romance isn’t as prominent in this story. We get more of the overall story arc building and continuing in this story. You get more sense there’s other things going on and the overall arc gets fleshed out more in this story. I’m very excited for where this series is going to go and to see how it builds over the next few books.
Ress hurt my heart. He gave everything of himself for others. He never got the credit he deserved or the happiness he needed. You could feel the weight of his responsibilities as you read. He deserved to be happy. I adored seeing how he fell for Adren over the course of the story. I enjoyed seeing Ress being asexual and, eventually, accepted by his partner about it. I took him a while to accept himself and you could feel his struggle as he went through those emotions. The Council used Ress and I liked getting to see him have a life of his own by the end of the story.
Adren was fascinating. Ce had been given a bit of a crap lot in life. Ce didn’t know anything other than the Shar-denn way. Adren was so conflicted with cir feelings when it came to Ress, what ce deserved and how to proceed because of the circumstances of cir’s arrival in town. Adren hurt my heart thinking ce didn’t deserve to be happy or to have anything other than what the Shar-denn gave cir. There were times I wish Adren would have talked with Ress and trusted Ress more than ce did. The scene where ce lets Ress unwrap was so sensual and showed cir trust. You get the sense by the end of the story Adren has hope things will work out for good now ce and Ress are starting anew.
I loved how all of the characters worked together throughout the story to help Ress and Adren gain the happiness they deserve. I truly enjoyed seeing the world expand and more of the religious and political atmosphere. We get to see more of the inner workings of the Council and the history as it relates to the pieces we see so far. I’m eager to see how the concept of Goddess touched and its ramifications play out in the coming books. There was an intriguing bit of foreshadowing when everyone is in front of the Council directed at Mayr specifically but also hinted at greater things to come for the world. I’ve got a few guesses on some things but I very much want to see how this series progresses.
Adren and Ress are a bit of an unlikely pair at first. It was interesting seeing how they both respond to each other at first and then when all of the cards on the table. The way their relationship changes and evolves over the story was wonderful to watch. They are a bit slow to start down their journey but the build up makes for some great tension. These two are so happy by the end of the story. They still have some external obstacles to overcome and are truly just beginning their relationship. However they are solid and will work hard to make their feelings last. I can’t wait to see more of them in the next book in the series.
Four and a half
Archer Kay Leah was raised in Canada, growing up in a port town at a time when it was starting to become more diverse, both visibly and vocally. Combined with the variety of interests found in Archer’s family and the never-ending need to be creative, this diversity inspired a love for toying with characters and their relationships, exploring new experiences and difficult situations.
Archer most enjoys writing speculative fiction and is engaged in a very particular love affair with fantasy, especially when it is dark and emotionally charged. When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a geek with too many hobbies and keeps busy with other creative endeavors, a music addiction, and whatever else comes along. Archer lives in London, Ontario with a bigender partner and rather chatty cat.