“Caged” By Bey Deckard
This was Deckard’s first book. He published and edited and did the artwork himself (amazing), so it’s pretty much as indie as you can get.
Pirates, adventure, romance, gay sex, a titch of MMF, a splash of BDSM, and a dash of MMM. This book has everything. It’s refreshing to read a MMM Romance that blows convention out of the water and doesn’t seem like it was written for straight girls. I also liked the world. It’s on the edge of fantasy, and many things can be done with it. He’s got a sequel coming out soon, and that’s exciting.
For the main characters the sea became a fulcrum of their strengths and desires, and Deckard’s love of it shines through. The little quotes at the beginning of the chapters were poetic and they possibly hinted at what was to come, which was a treat for a reader like me.
The romance between the men was well done, who got what from whom. It made a surprising amount of sense. The power dynamic was huge between all three characters, but there was this one scene between Jon and Baltsaros that dramatically shifted the power between them. It was unexpected. The MC’s are changeable, something that you don’t seen often in literature. This quality is probably more accurate for real people and it gave his characters flesh and souls.
Jon’s empathic ability was interesting, but I think it could have been developed more, and Baltsaros is more than just “deeply flawed”. His evil deeds make him despicable one moment, and then he does something kind and you like him the next. This story is as much his as Jon’s, and they both go through major character development, but his character may have been better seen from the “outside”, especially since he’s an unreliable narrator. So you have Jon, the new kid; Baltsaros, the cold-hearted; and then Tom. Tom is an fascinating mix of feisty and submissive, but I have to admit that I didn’t feel as close to him as I did Jon.
I felt like I could have had the entire story told from Jon’s POV, and the shifts were sudden (no page breaks) from one paragraph to the next. It made it difficult to stay in one character’s head for a good period of time.
The world balances precariously between fantasy and historical fiction, and there were some things that weren’t believable because of it. Jon’s abilities could have had more of a magic twist, also Baltsaros may have come across better if his brutalities were a part of some kind of sorcery. I wanted all of this to be more clear, but it’s possible I’m putting magic into things that shouldn’t have magic. Because magic is cool, but so are pirates. And so is this book.
Yarg! Read this book, and then read the next one.