*I received an ecopy of this book from the publisher. This has in no way influenced my review.*
This book had a lot of potential, but it was one of those books in which the issues just kept pilling up for me.
– I didn’t understand why the three main characters loved each other. The best I could figure out was that Ansyn loved Inea because he had loved both of Inea’s parents and Inea was like them, Inea loved Ansyn and Kaedon because he was sheltered his whole life and they were the first two men he ever came into contact with who also liked men, and the rest of the love was based on sex and loneliness. So it felt instalove-y even though it wasn’t.
– There was so much crying. And so much angst. I like some angst in my books, but it needs to be warranted. Ansyn and Kaedon had plenty of their own tears and angst, but Inea’s was the most extreme. He had only been struggling on his own for about five months, but he was constantly having meltdowns and talking about how his heart was turning cold and uncaring and closing off and how he would soon become nothing more than a tyrant of a king who didn’t love anyone or anything because everyone always abandoned him. I never saw any of this coldness though until all the sudden around 70%, and then it just seemed like he was being petulant. Speaking of which…
– Inea himself was childish, overdramatic, and innocent to the point of it not being believable. And all he seemed to care about for a while was making Ansyn happy. He was going to change who he was just to be someone Ansyn would like. And once he got over that, all he seemed to care about was Ansyn and Kaedon not leaving him. I understand being hurt if people you love leave you, but life does go on if that happens, and Inea was supposed to be focused on getting his throne back. I don’t like to describe any character as pathetic, but… Inea kind of was. And he wasn’t someone I could see running a kingdom. Then, when another character called him out on that (I liked her, she said everything I wanted to say), he basically threw a tantrum, acted selfish, and blamed everything on Ansyn and Kaedon. And he was going to storm off on a suicide mission just to prove a point. On the other hand, he did eventually realize that he was a jerk to everyone, and that one character called him out for his behavior, so he might have been written the way he was on purpose (i.e. it wasn’t bad writing, I simply didn’t like the character). And the fact that Inea didn’t know how to run a kingdom, didn’t know what to do to gain support, didn’t know how to fight, was overwhelmed, etc. was realistic.
– Kaedon was too “perfect.” He was this big, scary ex-assassin, but he was always so kind and caring and selfless and romantic and apologetic and willing to die for them and even willing to let Ansyn kill him if that was what Ansyn wanted.
– Ansyn was the most believable character, but his emotions were also too extreme.
– The sex scenes were even more unrealistic than most fictional sex scenes already are.
– Characters were constantly getting sick from being in the cold, which is not a real thing. And even if it were, you wouldn’t get almost immediately. But it did make for some hurt/comfort, which is a plus for anyone who likes that.
The thing about this book is, it wasn’t all bad. I feel like I actually could have loved it—I like angst when there’s good reason for it, I like dramatic situations in relationships, I like heart-wrenching emotion, and I like menage romance, so the plot and romantic struggles were my kind of thing and ripe with potential for giving me all the feels… except I still need the characters to feel and act realistically with emotions that are more subtle and not so blown out of proportion that it makes me roll my eyes instead of actually feeling bad for them. And I need to understand why the characters love each other and feel that love so that I can then feel their pain when they have struggles, their joy when things work out, etc.
So overall this wasn’t quite for me, but anyone who likes lots of injuries/sickness, menage, “perfect” sex scenes, dramatic emotions, lots of angst, and innocent, damsel-in-distress type male leads would probably like this more.
Anyone who likes M/M high fantasy, menage, unrealistically "perfect" sex scenes, dramatic emotions, and innocent, damsel-in-distress type male leads.