Reviewed by Jenna
AUTHOR: JC Owens
PUBLISHER: Etopia Press
LENGTH: 140 Pages
RELEASE DATE: March 1st, 2015
Secrets, madness, lies…and a love forged in the flames of betrayal.
Imprisoned, starved and abused by his captors, Darcel finds his only escape in the depths of madness. But he’s tormented by his own demons, who taunt him with the memories of his past and of his beloved prince, Alasar of Rais. The man who condemned him to this prison for killing the enemy’s high king. The man who betrayed him, when he should have returned a hero. After three years of torment, Darcel is about to give up, to turn himself over to the demon for the blessed release of death. Until he hears the pounding of boots up the prison stairs and finds Alasar in his cell, overjoyed at finally finding him, distraught at his condition, and desperate to save him, with no knowledge of how his friend had come to be there.
After tending his wounds, Alasar transports Darcel back to the palace by sledge, no easy task since it’s deep winter and Darcel is barely alive. But when the enemy raiders attack their party and capture Darcel, it’s clear they seek vengeance for the murder of their king. Until their new king, Harlech, explains that Darcel was not captured, but sold to them. By Alasar.
Caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and betrayal, Darcel does not know whom to trust—or whom to serve. With two warring leaders both demanding his loyalty, and both men earning his love, how is Darcel supposed to know what’s real, or where his heart truly lies?
Content note: contains dubious consent, intense emotional elements, and male/male love
The story begins with a glimpse of Darcel in prison, being tortured by a demon that may or may not have been a product of insanity. The demon showed him truths that he refused to believe—that the prince he loved betrayed him by throwing him in prison and then sold him to the enemy. When Darcel comes back to himself, he thinks he’s been recaptured, and the hardest thing for him to accept is that the enemy may be more trustworthy than the man he thought he loved.
First of all, I’d like to say that I’m a big fan of dark erotica as well as dark fantasy. All the elements we1re present in this book, and the plot was very entertaining. However, the execution threw me off time and again, which resulted in me having to start the book over from the beginning at 30%. On my second read, things started to come together, but there were still parts that made no sense to me until later in the book. I think the biggest issue was that so much was narrated. There were very few scenes in the first part of the book and the narration jumped forward and backward in time to give the history of what happened to Darcel.
So when Darcel finally ends up in the hands of the enemy, this is when I started to take interest in the story. I loved the relationship that builds between Darcel and the enemy prince, but the main issue in the book—that Darcel’s former lover had betrayed him, really wasn’t something I could care about. I saw only a glimpse of Alasar in narration, which wasn’t enough for me to form a clear picture of him. Despite these issues, I was able to enjoy the second part of the novel which ended in a HEA.