There are many great things to say about this book: the strong writing, the realistic characterizations, and the world (historical fantasy). All of those by themselves make it worth it to read this novel.
But I really want to talk about the sex.
Usually I hesitate to talk about the sex in a novel, because I am wary of spoilers. I can’t exactly say things like, “When So-and-so stuck his cock down So-and-so’s throat, I thought was going to lose it,” because that may take away the anticipation of the scene.
I’m going to do this without spoilers.
The sex in this book isn’t perfect (yay); it’s admittedly rough around the edges – literally rough. The violence in these scenes is either blatant or it colors the characters and the acts slightly, but it’s always present. The power play in every scene is fantastic.
I have to admit, I sometimes get bored with sex scenes in MM Romance. For many reasons. This novel was like a blast of fresh air. Voinov masters the art of crafting power struggles. Truly, he’s fucking brilliant.
Voinov’s use of power play tugged me from one character to the next, sympathizing with one character one minute and another the minute after that. It felt like a violent dance, and the give and take of the motion was well-crafted and breathtaking. I have a lot to learn from Voinov, but besides that, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Also, and you don’t see this often, the sex wasn’t just between the protagonist and the main squeeze. There were a lot of different sex scenes. Orgies, slaves, enemies… I loved the variety.
I’m not sure what you all are looking for when you read, especially when it comes to MM Romance. I suppose everyone is different. What I get out of MM is the unset and fragile gender roles, the romance (either good or bad), the sex, and the characterizations. I have always felt that books needed more sex, and Romance seems to have better characterizations than other genre fiction, so MM Romance suits my fancy.
This book met my entire checklist. And fuck, did I mention the hot sex and mastered power struggles? Check it out. I’m definitely going to be reading more Voinov. Oh, and did I tell you? This book is part of a series.