After the battle, Reshi realized that he loved Kestral, and he left. Loving someone was too much like being owned by that person for him to accept, and so he ran. Six months have passed and Reshi has started to woo some royals in order to live in the castle and get close to his step-brother, the king’s “legitimate” child Niko. He is also in contact with his exiled mother, and is avidly trying to avoid his murderous brother Velyn. Kestral stayed with Kila and has been hunting for Reshi for the past six months as well. He is desperately in love with him and would do literally anything to have him back, but Reshi keeps avoiding him. Whenever he manages to get close to Reshi, he shapeshifts into a creature that he can’t keep track of and runs away again. Kestral has to find some way to get Reshi to trust him so that they can finish off Velyn and finally be safe, but Kestral has to get Reshi to stay in one place long enough to explain himself first.
I have to say that even though the chase may get annoying for some readers, I truly enjoyed Kestral chasing after Reshi in this book. All Reshi does is usually run away from a situation when it becomes to difficult or too dangerous for him to face, and it has worked for him in his life so far. Now, there is finally a person begging Reshi to stay in one place. Their personalities are complete opposites, but now they are becoming more one alike one another. Kestral used to be the quiet one who avoided Reshi’s advances, now Reshi is forced to be quiet to stay in hiding away from Kestral. They are also struggling with being apart from one another, even though Reshi would never admit it. I loved this couple from the beginning of the first book to the end of this book. They had their hiccups, but no couple is perfect. I still believed that they were a perfect match by the time I finished this novel.
My favorite part of this book was watching Reshi bond with his brother Niko. I wasn’t expecting them to get along as well as they did, given that Reshi lived a stressful and impoverished life while Niko got to live a privileged life, but Reshi was able to see through Niko that life as a royal was not amazing either. Niko had been sick all his life and had barely been allowed out of the castle many days. He struggled with being alone and having no friends because of this, and he never got to experience many of the luxuries of being the prince because of his sicknesses. Reshi originally was jealous of his brother, but then he began to befriend and even pity him to some extent. Only thing I was worried about was that Niko was accidentally going to develop a serious crush on his brother before they were properly introduced, but that was avoided completely. I would love more stories of just the two of them learning how to be true brothers to one another!
The action of this story was intense as a lot of “final battles” occur. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that I was happy with the ending. All the twists and turns leading up to that ending went perfectly, and I was happy with how all the characters ended up. If things had been any different, I don’t think I would have been as satisfied. I’m especially glad that Kila didn’t get any sort of random lovers. She loved the military, and that shone through her character entirely. She did not have time for extra dalliances, and I respected her for that.
Overall, this was one of my favorite fantasy duologies, and I can’t wait to read more by this author. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a new fantasy novel to enjoy, or a new romance novel with LGBT+ characters.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books