This book made my Top Ten LGBT Reads of 2014.
The main characters: Ashleigh Trine and Kieran Trevarde. Both have been sentenced to life in prison, a special prison for people like them, people with magic. Trine and Trevarde are an unlikely couple; Trine is shy, soft spoken, and generally likable, while Trevarde is a murderer, a whore, and all around unpleasant and prickly.
I liked Trevarde the best, and could have probably been happy with his POV only, but I understand what Hajicek was trying to do, and I think he made the right decision by having two viewpoints. I just really liked Trevarde, and apparently have a thing for surly assholes. Hah.
Worldbuilding. Steampunk, set in a world similar to the US Wild West. Fabulous descriptive work; I felt like I was a part of every scene. There’s magic in this world, but it starts off subtle and then builds up, ending titanically.
I respected the hell out of this. It was probably the gritty details that won me over, being often crass and raunchy. Even though this was technically a fantasy of sorts, it had a certain realism that kept me firmly in place, experiencing every scene. At one point I swear I tasted blood and dirt in my mouth. Awesome.
But through all of that, it was a sweet love story. Fragile and uncertain, Trine and Trevarde’s love is tested time and time again. I was almost breathless under the suspense. This isn’t a pure and happy romance, but the victories that those two boys shared were worth the pain for me in the end.
Hajicek doesn’t seem to have a lot of works out, but I will be keeping an eye open.