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Prisoner

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A man whom all men fear... General Dieter von Adolwulf has led the Scarlet Army of Kria to victory for the past decade, holding the infamous field known as the Regenbogen against Kria's hated enemies—the deceptive Illussor and the ruthless Salharans. War has waged between the three nations for longer than anyone can remember, but no one has held the Regenbogen as well as th A man whom all men fear... General Dieter von Adolwulf has led the Scarlet Army of Kria to victory for the past decade, holding the infamous field known as the Regenbogen against Kria's hated enemies—the deceptive Illussor and the ruthless Salharans. War has waged between the three nations for longer than anyone can remember, but no one has held the Regenbogen as well as the notorious Wolf of Kria and his fearsome army. A man who fears nothing... Returning home at the end of the year, the Scarlet Army is attacked in the dead of night by a single man who manages to kill hundreds before he is finally captured. A Salharan soldier with no name, no purpose but to kill, he refuses to bend to the Wolf who takes him prisoner and forces upon him a despicable Krian name. A man with nothing to lose... When the rest of his army is slaughtered by Illussor soldiers desperately seeking his prisoner, Dieter determines to hold fast—both for answers and in revenge for the men he lost. But answers and revenge are hard to come by when surrounded by secrets and treachery, and the man least likely to kill him is the prisoner who most wants him dead.


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A man whom all men fear... General Dieter von Adolwulf has led the Scarlet Army of Kria to victory for the past decade, holding the infamous field known as the Regenbogen against Kria's hated enemies—the deceptive Illussor and the ruthless Salharans. War has waged between the three nations for longer than anyone can remember, but no one has held the Regenbogen as well as th A man whom all men fear... General Dieter von Adolwulf has led the Scarlet Army of Kria to victory for the past decade, holding the infamous field known as the Regenbogen against Kria's hated enemies—the deceptive Illussor and the ruthless Salharans. War has waged between the three nations for longer than anyone can remember, but no one has held the Regenbogen as well as the notorious Wolf of Kria and his fearsome army. A man who fears nothing... Returning home at the end of the year, the Scarlet Army is attacked in the dead of night by a single man who manages to kill hundreds before he is finally captured. A Salharan soldier with no name, no purpose but to kill, he refuses to bend to the Wolf who takes him prisoner and forces upon him a despicable Krian name. A man with nothing to lose... When the rest of his army is slaughtered by Illussor soldiers desperately seeking his prisoner, Dieter determines to hold fast—both for answers and in revenge for the men he lost. But answers and revenge are hard to come by when surrounded by secrets and treachery, and the man least likely to kill him is the prisoner who most wants him dead.

30 review for Prisoner

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emanuela ~plastic duck~

    Awesome! I really lost myself - in the best possible way - in this book. The world building was fascinating and interesting. There are three nations at war. Krians are warriors and rely on their swordsmanship to keep their enemies at bay. Salharans use drug-induced magic to attack and defend themselves and the drug they use (arcen) is addictive. Illussors are a people who owns a sort of natural magic, but their magic is causing problem to their population. In this rich world, Dieter von Adolwulf Awesome! I really lost myself - in the best possible way - in this book. The world building was fascinating and interesting. There are three nations at war. Krians are warriors and rely on their swordsmanship to keep their enemies at bay. Salharans use drug-induced magic to attack and defend themselves and the drug they use (arcen) is addictive. Illussors are a people who owns a sort of natural magic, but their magic is causing problem to their population. In this rich world, Dieter von Adolwulf - the most powerful Krian general - and a nameless Salharan soldier collide. At the beginning they hate and despise each other, but their lives slowly become intertwined and inextricable from each other. Dieter is feared and hated despite his valor and he does nothing to be accepted, if not loved. I think his most sincere relationship is with his nameless prisoner, whom Dieter gives the name Beraht. Beraht, who hates the foreign name he's given from the very first moment, does absolutely nothing to avoid Dieter's anger, on the contrary he lashes out his despondency. He seldom thinks, he reacts or attacks, following his instinct, which makes him do the right thing but also puts him in danger. I think that the relationship between Dieter and Beraht is beautiful because it's basically honest. They don't need to second guess the other man, they read each other as open books. The book is anticipation at its best. It takes a while for both of them to understand that they care for the enemy and to realize that they work well together, to understand that they're already sharing an intimacy they don't want to acknowledge. Dieter and Beraht are not the only interesting characters. The Salharan spy Sol DeVry and the blind Illussor prisoner Iah are another lovely couple and they provide a sweet hurt-comfort subplot that satisfy the needs of a romance reader while Dieter and Beraht are bickering. The Illussor prince Matthias, his counselor Kalan and his beloved Esta, the Krian Kaiser and his generals, the scheming Tawn and the Salharan Brothers with their addiction, all help to weave the story during the cold and unforgiving winter. At the beginning the story moved from a character to the other, from city to city, palace to palace, and it seemed confusing, but page after page everything converges. I must admit there were situations that were resolved maybe too quickly - I often complain about angst, but I miss it sometimes. There's probably much more to say, the world created by the author conquered me and I'd like to spend a lot of time there, so I'm going to read Bound. I highly recommend this book to those who like fantasy, a rich world building and a lot of anticipation.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nikyta

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Prisoner takes place in three different locations and is told by at least seven different people. Also, let me forewarn you, unless you read this in pdf (or paperback or maybe kindle), you’re going to get confused with some parts. The reason I say this is because when I converted mine, it took out words in italics, breaks between pov changes, stuff like that. Another thing you should know, Prisoner is most definitely not a traditional romance. Yes, Dieter and Beraht end up together in the end bu Prisoner takes place in three different locations and is told by at least seven different people. Also, let me forewarn you, unless you read this in pdf (or paperback or maybe kindle), you’re going to get confused with some parts. The reason I say this is because when I converted mine, it took out words in italics, breaks between pov changes, stuff like that. Another thing you should know, Prisoner is most definitely not a traditional romance. Yes, Dieter and Beraht end up together in the end but in no way do you even get a hint of a romance between them until a few chapters toward the end of the story. But that just gives this book more of an appeal to me. A lot of stuff happens in Prisoner and could be a little overwhelming to some because you get detailed descriptions on three different cultures. I happen to absolutely love this book, and have read it three times, for a couple of reasons. First, I love the fantasy aspect of the book (fantasy junkie, that's me!). You have the different world vibe with a magical feeling to it, with completely different cultures and I love that. This book also pushes every button I have when it comes to m/m. It has a little cruelty/abuse, a hostage/revenge situation, Stockholm syndrome, an opposites attract theme, some action, no smexing, and best of all an HEA. *sigh* Now, I say cruelty/abuse lightly because it’s not as if Dieter beats Beraht at every chance, only when Beraht won’t shut up and pisses Dieter off too much but the bickering between the two is kind of cute and while the abuse may last the whole story, it’s sporadic, so it in no way dominates the book. What I liked most about the story, though, was the little oddities like the Salharan obsession with names. They have a saying they live by: ‘Names are power. Power of life. Power of death. Do not give a name lightly. Do not take a name lightly. Do not share a name lightly. Do not speak a name lightly.’ To me, this gives the story more of uniqueness to it because of those little details. I also liked the Krian obsession with swords. They name their swords after the ones they love because they know they will die and when they do, they’ll die with the person they love beside them. To me, it’s unbelievable cute because Dieter was the most infamous person in Kria and people feared him but he didn’t have a name for his sword. Until one day, when he’s training some Illussors and they ask him what the name of his sword is, he says ‘bright’. Beraht means ‘bright’ in Krian. Awwwww, isn’t that sweet?. Hehe. So, to make a long story short. This is an awesome book. I’m hoping there’s a sequel, if not of Beraht and Dieter then set in the same world (which I think there is one). Some people might not like it for many reasons but my suggestion is to just try it. I loved it, some other people have loved it and you never know, you might love it, too. :-P For major spoilers, go here.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    I picked this up expecting an easy going fantasy/romance with the main focus on romance, but that is not the case. The balance between the romance and the fantasy aspects of the story was pretty good. Three separate romances played out in the background of war between three very different countries. The story had plenty of political intrigue, action, romance, and humor, all of which combined to hold my full attention. The world building was fairly good. The three countries of Kria, Illussor, and I picked this up expecting an easy going fantasy/romance with the main focus on romance, but that is not the case. The balance between the romance and the fantasy aspects of the story was pretty good. Three separate romances played out in the background of war between three very different countries. The story had plenty of political intrigue, action, romance, and humor, all of which combined to hold my full attention. The world building was fairly good. The three countries of Kria, Illussor, and Salhara have been warring for as long as anyone can remember, but no country holds a clear enough advantage to break the stalemate. The Krians rely on the might of their armies and the skill of their soldiers, the Salharans rely on a drug that gifts magical abilities, and the Illussor on a mysterious and powerful magic of their own. A few unexpected happenings occur at the start of this book to tip the balance of power. The plot was quite intriguing. I really liked the magic system as it had real consequences as well as the expected benefits for its users. The characters were very different, but most were likable and the way the interacted with each other was fun. I was pleased by how much I enjoyed this fun fantasy/romance. Rating: 4 stars. Audio Note: Sean Crisden did an acceptable job with the audio.

  4. 4 out of 5

    LD Durham

    Oh, dear. This book was a mess. I've read other works by Derr before, and enjoyed them. So I'm not sure what to make of this one. First, the beginning twenty-five percent of the book is just scenes mashed together. The characters are introduced haphazardly with no real interest in getting my emotions or sympathies involved with them. Nothing is really explained, and the setting is completely left out. In one scene two characters are riding a horse, in the next they are suddenly in an inn, but I Oh, dear. This book was a mess. I've read other works by Derr before, and enjoyed them. So I'm not sure what to make of this one. First, the beginning twenty-five percent of the book is just scenes mashed together. The characters are introduced haphazardly with no real interest in getting my emotions or sympathies involved with them. Nothing is really explained, and the setting is completely left out. In one scene two characters are riding a horse, in the next they are suddenly in an inn, but I didn't know that until a few paragraphs in when someone mentions hearing something out in the hall. When I was imagining them still on a horse, that was quite jarring. The characters seem to have no real emotions themselves and their purposes are vague and shallow. It was never explained why Dieter would leave alive a man who killed a hundred of his men in a cowardly way, while they slept. He just... left him alive. And slept beside him without tying him down. No sense. Derr didn't give me anything to buy that with. I was fed up with the book very quickly and only because I was mad about spending eight bucks on the thing kept me reading. I am not sure if the writing got better or my standards were beaten down enough for me to begin to enjoy it, but I slowly began to stop rolling my eyes and huffing with every other paragraph. The first improvement was the introduction of the second couple of characters, Sol and Iah. They were put together much better and my sympathies were quickly locked to them. They had intent and emotions. Second, I think, finally, things started to make a little more sense and I began to feel a little more connected to Dieter and Beraht. I wanted to see what would happen to them and didn't just view them as distractions from Sol and Iah's story. However, there were plenty of incongruities left. Such as a country that uses magic, but not once did I see them do magic. And yet their loss of it could be detrimental. How? They never used it. The two bad guys were jokes. One was pretty nasty but one conflict took him out with barely a whimper. The other one was supposed to be all big and bad and cowardly enough to not do his own dirty work, but he was defeated like the last one, quickly with hardly a climax. Anti-climatic would definitely be a keyword for this book. So many things were built up and then fizzled out. The final grand culmination of two characters' struggles is just resolved with a quick tumble in bed. No emotional resolution or aftermath, just a tepid epilogue. Several instances of build-up and let down occurred throughout the book. Things were often just told and never bothered to be shown. Sadly, the only two real female characters were portrayed as a whore and a laughed-at shrew. I saw many reviews touting the great world-building in this novel. I think they may have confused world-building with creativity. I will be the first to say that Derr's imagination in this was particularly clever. Her creation of the people and their religions was very creative. But the rest of the world was left blank. I only know there are three countries, two of them get snow. That's it. However, her ability to keep the three cultures as, more or less, consistently distinct was quite clever and well done. I just really wish the story had been executed much better. And, as always with a Derr book, the typos are legion. This publisher either needs to get an editor or Ms. Derr needs to find one for herself, because it just drags her work down in the most pointless way possible.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ilhem

    3,5 stars Kria, Salhara and Illussor are caught in an endless war where swords fight against drug induced magic while spies and politics are scheming in the background. One winter, Dieter, Beraht, Iah and Sol are brought together by fate in an unlikely but efficient and often amusing alliance which sides with Prince Matthias, Esta and Kalan “triumvirate”. After an awkward beginning (8% is not much but still, enough to leave a strong impression), this book ended up being a very pleasant surprise w 3,5 stars Kria, Salhara and Illussor are caught in an endless war where swords fight against drug induced magic while spies and politics are scheming in the background. One winter, Dieter, Beraht, Iah and Sol are brought together by fate in an unlikely but efficient and often amusing alliance which sides with Prince Matthias, Esta and Kalan “triumvirate”. After an awkward beginning (8% is not much but still, enough to leave a strong impression), this book ended up being a very pleasant surprise when the story began to flow and I found myself caught up in their adventures and eager to know what would happen next. Yet, Prisoner is not spectacular. The narrative is very sober in its descriptions : no sumptuous landscapes, no excruciatingly detailed world. Nor is it evocative of deep emotions : no angst, no agonized introspections, no built up tension and scorching hotness. Instead, Megan Derr built coherent, creative and interesting cultures, beliefs confronting and clashing, knowledge and personalities completing each other. She wrote small gestures and big actions, and kisses that made me smile fondly. Prisoner had the unidimensional and uncomplicated feel, the interesting and entertaining appeal of a tale and, Tits of the Winter Princess, it was fun!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mandi

    This was my reread of the new edition. And it's still such an amazing story that sucked me in like I haven't already read it a bunch of times. Kick ass world building and characters that just draw you in and keep you turning the pages. I definitely enjoyed the added scene between Dieter and Beraht at the end. *grins* I think if the author put together a book of just short stories of them two I might actually die of a fangasm. ;) Really though, I can't recommend this highly enough. (ETA - Currently This was my reread of the new edition. And it's still such an amazing story that sucked me in like I haven't already read it a bunch of times. Kick ass world building and characters that just draw you in and keep you turning the pages. I definitely enjoyed the added scene between Dieter and Beraht at the end. *grins* I think if the author put together a book of just short stories of them two I might actually die of a fangasm. ;) Really though, I can't recommend this highly enough. (ETA - Currently rereading the newer edition)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sheziss

    Where do I start? There are three parallel stories in this book, with a different love story in each one, and a prisoner of some sort. There are three nations at war: Krians who trust on weapons. Salharans who trust on pollution potions. Illusors who trust on natural magic. Dieter is a Krian general who captures a Salharan "responsible" for the death of his entire troop, and makes him a prisoner. The prisoner is at the edge of dying and at that moment Dieter names him Beraht. Beraht is determined to Where do I start? There are three parallel stories in this book, with a different love story in each one, and a prisoner of some sort. There are three nations at war: Krians who trust on weapons. Salharans who trust on pollution potions. Illusors who trust on natural magic. Dieter is a Krian general who captures a Salharan "responsible" for the death of his entire troop, and makes him a prisoner. The prisoner is at the edge of dying and at that moment Dieter names him Beraht. Beraht is determined to become nameless again, because being named by the enemy is shameful, but of course, Dieter doesn’t want to get it back. That story was maddening in its mischievous dialogues. Dieter is arrogant and cynical, but that doesn’t stop him from pestering Beraht all the time, who gets angrier and crazier and can’t answer in a different way and quarrels in response. That relationship was funny and the denied chemistry is expected to be fulfilled during the whole book. Their moment didn’t seem to arrive and I suffered that! This story was SPICY. Sol is a spy amongst the Salharans, and takes an Illusor prisoner Iah to his country. Iah is the prince of the Illusors and has been tortured by Salharans. They have to travel to their country and during the way they create a bond. Sol and Iah's story is like comfort food, it fulfills the gaps Dieter and Beraht can't, because they get on with the other perfectly, so their pieces fit since the beginning, and have less problems to sort out. This story was SWEET. The third story is not m/m. It’s set in Illusor territory. It’s about Esta, Iah’s sister, and Matthias, Iah’s friend from the youth. There is a prisoner of sorts, too, but in a different way. This story was a little more typical. They are all the time bickering and quarreling, the same as Dieter and Beraht, but in a more subtle manner (I mean, with no physical encounters), because they are noblemen, but sometimes they behave like children when they're not stopped. This story was UMAMI. I know that this issue about flavors is a little weird, but makes sense for me because each story adds a new ingredient that satisfies the need of the moment, because none of them is completed till the end. It could sound as if neither of them is all together, but there is not need to worry because the book itself is not lacking in romance. I found this novel very surprising. I expected something entirely different. I’m not really into the fantasy genre, above all if the romance is not that explicit. I love fantasy romance, but in this book the love is more “naïve”, more about the anticipation and less about the act itself. But the book absorbing and I devoured pages like candy, my frustration rising as well, because HOW I WANTED to Dieter and Beraht to be together at last! All in all, I recommend this book to have a good time, but don't expect non-stop romance because there is an actual plot here, there is war and magic, and intrigues and treasons, old hates and old enemies, and everything is mixed up and solved in some unexpected ways...

  8. 5 out of 5

    T.A. Webb

    Three countries at war. No one can really remember what started it, but generation after generation, Krian, Illussor and Salharan men and women are sent to the battlefield to die for a disputed piece of land held by Kria. When General Dieter von Adolwulf, leader of the Scarlett Army of Kria, prepares his troops to leave the battlefield after a long summer campaign, escaping before winter, he never expects to have scores of his men killed in a cowardly ambush. He has the assassin brought to him, a Three countries at war. No one can really remember what started it, but generation after generation, Krian, Illussor and Salharan men and women are sent to the battlefield to die for a disputed piece of land held by Kria. When General Dieter von Adolwulf, leader of the Scarlett Army of Kria, prepares his troops to leave the battlefield after a long summer campaign, escaping before winter, he never expects to have scores of his men killed in a cowardly ambush. He has the assassin brought to him, and is amazed to find it’s a Salharan using magic to decimate his loyal men. And is even more shocked to find the man is one of an elite group of twenty-one men called the Seven star – a pack of Salharans deadlier and more cunning than any other. The Wolf cannot abide this, and orders the man in chains. When threats and beatings fail to shake the man’s name from him, Dieter names him Beraht, a Krian name, the ultimate insult for a Salharan, who take pride in their names and the power they convey. And it’s doubly insulting that the man has no name of his own yet, not having earned it. The only way to redeem himself is to make Dieter retract it. When an Illussor regiment ambushes and kills all but Dieter and Beraht, the two must trust one another to remain alive and reach the Winter Palace. Along the way other characters are introduced – Illusors, Krians, Salharans – who weave a beautifully imagined tapestry of magic, love, jealousy, and treachery. We find out what caused the war, why the Illussors tried to kill Beraht, how the two lands got their magic. And why, most of all, Beraht is so focal to all thee lands. Megan Derr has created a wonderful, multi-layered and deep work here. What I love best is how she takes her time and builds this fascinating world filled with magic and swords and men and delicate romance. Her characters come alive with detail and depth, and she weaves the tale so effortlessly back and forth among the major and supporting cast members. Dieter is a fascinating character. In the beginning of the story, he is all bluster and gruff and even hate. His treatment of the unnamed assassin is horrible. And we despise him for much of the book. Until we finally are allowed to know his backstory. Then we see all, get the context, and bleed a little for him. Beraht, the nameless, grabs the heart, though. Unnamed for most of his life, forced to do horrible things in the name of his country, used and abused at every turn. But always a survivor. The romance is unexpected here. There are couplings obvious and some that evolve slowly. But all are true to the tone and tenor of the story. I recommend setting aside two or three uninterrupted nights when you can curl up and spend quality time with this book. It demands and deserves nothing less. There are layers and layers of history, characters and subplots that wrap themselves around the reader and draw you in. Great story. Great book. And fantastic job. I can’t wait to read the other books from this author. Tom

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bookwatcher

    "“Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind” John Fitzgerald Kennedy Three different societies, fighting in an endless war Krians force are their swords Salharans are feared by their drug induced magic powers [image error] Illusors are recluse, avoiding both Krians and Salharans and the legend says they are powerful. They can use magic, and no one know how. Forth General Sol de Vry (from Salhara), Captain Iah Cehaka (from Illusor), General Von Adolwulf aka The Scarlet W "“Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind” John Fitzgerald Kennedy Three different societies, fighting in an endless war Krians force are their swords Salharans are feared by their drug induced magic powers [image error] Illusors are recluse, avoiding both Krians and Salharans and the legend says they are powerful. They can use magic, and no one know how. Forth General Sol de Vry (from Salhara), Captain Iah Cehaka (from Illusor), General Von Adolwulf aka The Scarlet Wolf aka The Wolf of Kria (a Kririan) and... the nameless Salharan called Baraht... the Breaker. All remarkable characters, of a unforgettable fantasy story. But there are more, like Esta and the Prince Matthias. Two strong and wonderful characters from Illusor. You must read to know each of them, and to understand why a simple nameless person, can be the key to peace. "Names are power. Power of life. Power of death. Do not give a name lightly, do not take a name lightly, do not share a name lightly, do not speak a name lightly. To give a name is to give a life. To strike a name is to kill a man. Whosoever names you has power over you" General Sol de Vry

  10. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Not only is this book absolutely riddled with usage errors and typos ("will you disappointment the ladies?"), but the characters' motivations are muddy, the plot is simply not believable, and the magic systems aren't very well thought through. A good romance would mitigate these failings to some degree, but the two romances in this novel are thoroughly unsatisfying. The rather sweet secondary couple get together after a disappointingly perfunctory courtship. As to the primary couple, the author Not only is this book absolutely riddled with usage errors and typos ("will you disappointment the ladies?"), but the characters' motivations are muddy, the plot is simply not believable, and the magic systems aren't very well thought through. A good romance would mitigate these failings to some degree, but the two romances in this novel are thoroughly unsatisfying. The rather sweet secondary couple get together after a disappointingly perfunctory courtship. As to the primary couple, the author seems have confused abuse, physical and emotional, for banter. A combative romance, while not necessarily desirable in real life, can be a great way to build sexual and romantic tension in a novel, but in the development of the relationship there must be some indication that there is potential for a relationship--a reluctant glimmer of admiration perhaps, or a quickly suppressed flash of desire. Instead von Adolwulf and Beraht never display, to each other or, more importantly, to the reader, anything other than mutual and contempt and disgust. The sudden reversal of emotion at the end feels rushed and unearned.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Irina Elena

    The world building is mind blowing, the characters layered and complex, and yet there aren’t many words wasted on characterization: we gather information mostly from what happens or from past stories. The synopsis says the main characters are Dieter von Adolwulf (the Wolf) and Beraht, but this book is about them just as much as it is about Sol and Iah, about Esta and about the Brothers (so creepy). It is really not descriptive in smut, but I didn't find it a flaw, although I usually like my romanc The world building is mind blowing, the characters layered and complex, and yet there aren’t many words wasted on characterization: we gather information mostly from what happens or from past stories. The synopsis says the main characters are Dieter von Adolwulf (the Wolf) and Beraht, but this book is about them just as much as it is about Sol and Iah, about Esta and about the Brothers (so creepy). It is really not descriptive in smut, but I didn't find it a flaw, although I usually like my romance rather smutty ;) PS I identify so much with Esta… does that make me a bitch? ;P

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nova

    What a book! I’m going to miss Sol, Iah, Beraht and Dieter. Especially Dieter! Most of the time he’s a bastard but he’s also impressive, proud, intelligent and strong. Dieter and Beraht “bickering” were some of the best scenes in the book. ;) And the rest? Intriguing and gripping. Loved it!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Deja Dei

    I was so looking forward to this, and I was so disappointed. The characterization is nonexistent. The story is wonky with awkward transitions that left me utterly confused. The editing is abysmal. I can forgive a few typos in a longish book, but damn. As another reviewer said, the world building is okay for romance, but not great for readers of fantasy. People who read fantasy are accustomed to much better. This is just my opinion, and I know alot of people like this book. I just expected so much I was so looking forward to this, and I was so disappointed. The characterization is nonexistent. The story is wonky with awkward transitions that left me utterly confused. The editing is abysmal. I can forgive a few typos in a longish book, but damn. As another reviewer said, the world building is okay for romance, but not great for readers of fantasy. People who read fantasy are accustomed to much better. This is just my opinion, and I know alot of people like this book. I just expected so much more after the high reviews, and it was a real let down. Honestly I don't know what romance readers liked here either. Where was the romance? Again I'm at odds with the general consensus.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Valentina Heart

    I loved the world. It was a bit annoying at first that the story transfered from one part of the country to the other, but once I got to know the characters it was actually interesting to see what the guys on the other side were doing. Since it's written the way it is, I'm glad that there aren't any cliffhangers after every chapter. The story flows nicely and the characters are lovable enough to carry it. Dieter is my favorite, his dangerous aura and appearance, as well as his rough treatment of I loved the world. It was a bit annoying at first that the story transfered from one part of the country to the other, but once I got to know the characters it was actually interesting to see what the guys on the other side were doing. Since it's written the way it is, I'm glad that there aren't any cliffhangers after every chapter. The story flows nicely and the characters are lovable enough to carry it. Dieter is my favorite, his dangerous aura and appearance, as well as his rough treatment of Beraht. But the others were also layered enough, the intriguing life of Sol and the bossy character of Esta. There is no wild sex or blinding romances even though you have two couples that end up together. It's more of a realistic side of love with the romantic undertone, but I kind of thought that the ending was pretty sweet and for me that crazy sex life wasn't missed at all.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Wart Hill

    I'm not really sure where to start for this review. I finished the book this morning and I've been mulling over what all I want to talk about, what I want to say. There's so much to say, though, and I don't know if I'm the best person to say it. I doubt that made any sense, but here goes. I loved this book. The world is rich and beautifully crafted. Three very different societies come to life on the page, each of them developed and thought out and intriguing. The characters. Oh the characters. I lov I'm not really sure where to start for this review. I finished the book this morning and I've been mulling over what all I want to talk about, what I want to say. There's so much to say, though, and I don't know if I'm the best person to say it. I doubt that made any sense, but here goes. I loved this book. The world is rich and beautifully crafted. Three very different societies come to life on the page, each of them developed and thought out and intriguing. The characters. Oh the characters. I love each and everyone of these characters (except the ones I love to hate :P). They're all unique and well written. I'm certain I'm not saying everything I want to about this book, and I'm probably not being terribly articulate with what I am saying, but I loved it. So much.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This book is very useful for reminding writers why tact, careful consideration and a bucket-load of thorough editing are necessary. The mistakes here are numerous and inexcusable. The setting is based in three countries; Kria, Illusor and Salhara. Mostly what we see is the first two, through traced out journeys across the lands. That said, they are much the same, being snowy and harsh, with the exception that Illusor has a lot less presence. The customs of these countries were half-pleasant. Salha This book is very useful for reminding writers why tact, careful consideration and a bucket-load of thorough editing are necessary. The mistakes here are numerous and inexcusable. The setting is based in three countries; Kria, Illusor and Salhara. Mostly what we see is the first two, through traced out journeys across the lands. That said, they are much the same, being snowy and harsh, with the exception that Illusor has a lot less presence. The customs of these countries were half-pleasant. Salharans were the most formed with their attachment to names, and Kria echoed them with their swords but, once again, Illusor faded into the background. The prominent features of the countries' people all read like a theory; something about them refuses to click into place, remaining little more than a fantasy. Perhaps it's the lack of complexity. Sure, the hostilities and stigma are spoken about, but nobody is ever seen acting upon it. Beraht is not accepted and everyone in Salhara needs a name to be someone, yet there is no true cruelty displayed against him. The idea of naming a sword after your beloved, like in Kria, is very romantic, but impractical. What happens when you fight, break up or divorce? Or just turn out to have been wrong about your feelings? It is never addressed, and I will not be fed rubbish about "true love". But even the attitudes of the country were shallow. Salhara is the crafty, tricky, evil mastermind. Kria is the harsh, steel-loving military power. Illusor is the land of good, with powerful and tragic magic, a community of squabbling fools and no real harm meant to anyone. History? What's that? The characters are just the same. Dieter von Adolwulf is the tough, infamously fearsome leader of the Scarlet Army. His Kaiser hates him and he has some dark, edgy past he loves to shout about all the time. His men are slaughtered, he drags around a prisoner he is very angry at, and he is really just a scowling storm cloud. Never changes. Beraht was a Salharan soldier with no name, which makes him the lowest of the low in society. In order to earn a name, he sneaks into Dieter's camp and kills a lot of the men in their sleep. He is caught, ends up living after another catastrophe hits them, and is stuck with Dieter, who forces a name on him in order to upset him. Beraht is angry, reckless, stupid and almost masochistic. Again, never changes. There are the side characters of Iah and Sol, who act as a couple in their own right. Iah is an Illusor soldier, and a close friend of the prince's, who is captured and blinded by Sol's cruel brother-in-law. He is then completely dependent on a man with a "summer voice" who rescues him out of kindness. Yeah, that's Sol. He's tricky, gentle, and supportive. Then there's Esta, Matthias and Kalan. Kalan is a friend and not worth much beyond his constant wisecracks. Esta is Iah's sister, known for her terrible temper and unwillingly being courted by Matthias. Matthias is the prince of Illusor who, in his father's illness, acts pretty much as the king, and is boyish, good humoured and friendly. He's like Maric from "The Stolen Throne", only slightly more informed. The plot is so amiable, it's ridiculous. Clearly the author was scared to make her characters suffer, as the solutions to problems appear as soon as they crop up and major enemies are vanquished in the space of a page. Finn forbid that the universally hated general should actually be hated! Woe betide that our heroes should have lasting damage inflicted upon them! Forests refuse that they would need to sweat in genuine fear! They're good guys, didn't you know!? Putting it honestly, nobody is allowed to dislike the main characters in this book, unless their hearts are thoroughly corrupted by evil. Even we, as readers, are not permitted to believe that the cast might face some real obstacles. We are passed from viewpoint to viewpoint, seeing Tawn's actions as he plots their doom, listening in as someone else plans to swoop in and save them, and hearing pretty much everyone's thoughts of each other. Mystery is not tolerated. Don't even read this for the romance. Nobody falls in love; they are either in love or they are not. One pair show automatic longing for each other and, after one brief kiss, become as a natural with their lover as a couple who have been married for decades. Another argues for three quarters of the book and show no romantic interest between them, until one member spontaneously decides he's in love. It's very clearly forced. Perhaps the first couple would, with time, come to be together, but the second lot are obviously more content to stay enemies and rip their throats out. No matter how cute it is to have it otherwise, the most they could ever have become is a set of mismatched friends, and that truth should have been respected. The writing... Oh, save me now. It has "badly done spell check job" etched into its very being. Someone must "done heavier clothing", draw a sword that is mysteriously missing from the sentence, or run into a misplaced comma as they try to charge at an opponent. Information is crammed together in lines that scream awkwardness, and often repeated several times throughout the book as if we had failed to understand it before. Dialogue is unnatural, with peasants and rulers using exactly the same long words and unbroken sentence structure. People also like to explain things a lot, especially when there's no need. They are so compelled to carry on in this manner that they will speak for five minutes about an irrelevant topic before bothering to answer a yes or no question. The point of view... Need I mention it again? In one scene the third person narrator goes so far as to call Matthias "Matti" because the chosen focus character is Esta. I cannot explain well enough how ridiculous and out of place it looked. And for my final complaint... The author only cared about sight. People and places were defined by colour, so vivid in each of them that I stopped recognising people after the third introduction. They weren't even poetic, just a reminder that this person had yellow eyes and that person had red-black. Smell was too basic, hearing extremely underused, and touch passed up entirely. Even when Iah was blind, the writing focused on what he couldn't see and how useless it rendered him. He didn't try to make better use of his ears or nose, just lamented his eyes. A wasted chance.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Contrarius

    2 1/2 stars. I'm feeling generous today, so I'm rounding up to 3. This book is very popular amongst fans of gay romance/fantasy. For those of you who don't fit that description, don't worry -- there is absolutely NO sex in this book, of any description apart from a few sanitary kisses, and little romance over all. I think this book is popular, however, mostly because romance fans don't really have a firm grasp on what good fantasy is like. This isn't really a baaaaad book. It's got three interest 2 1/2 stars. I'm feeling generous today, so I'm rounding up to 3. This book is very popular amongst fans of gay romance/fantasy. For those of you who don't fit that description, don't worry -- there is absolutely NO sex in this book, of any description apart from a few sanitary kisses, and little romance over all. I think this book is popular, however, mostly because romance fans don't really have a firm grasp on what good fantasy is like. This isn't really a baaaaad book. It's got three interesting cultures, two interesting (but in one case very poorly explained) magic systems, and interesting characters. But the cultures and magic systems are never really fleshed out, and there are lots and lots of niggling plot problems -- which I'm too lazy right now to specify one by one. Oh, and soooooo many times the author uses slightly the wrong word when trying to sound literate....that was really annoying. Like when a character asks "Shall I trod upon your toes?" instead of "tread", and many others that I'm also too lazy to look up at the moment. Oh, also -- oddly enough, despite the fact that the author is female, the only two important female characters are (as at least one other reviewer has mentioned) a whorish general who slept with that country's ruler to get her position, and a shrewish Duchess -- who had potential, but was IMHO painted with excessively broad strokes. And why, oh why, did one of the countries -- the militarily aggressive one, of course -- have to be depicted as Germanic, complete with Germanic names and a Kaiser? The other two countries were anonymous-basic-Euro-foundation fantasy countries, but for some reason the big aggressors had to be Germans. Yeesh.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Deeze

    I know I've said it before but I love Megan Derrs worlds. This story was exciting and intriguing. A little hard to follow in the beginning due to the names but I'm sure that's just me. The love angles were more secondary to the story but still a satisfying fix for my romantic side, although I had my doubts about how a certain one would play out. Of course by the end it all played out perfectly. The real story was all in the 3 separate kingdoms and how they were ruled. Plenty of bloody fights and s I know I've said it before but I love Megan Derrs worlds. This story was exciting and intriguing. A little hard to follow in the beginning due to the names but I'm sure that's just me. The love angles were more secondary to the story but still a satisfying fix for my romantic side, although I had my doubts about how a certain one would play out. Of course by the end it all played out perfectly. The real story was all in the 3 separate kingdoms and how they were ruled. Plenty of bloody fights and sneaky attacks. Subterfuge and trickory and Evil rulers. Dieter was probably my favorite character. He just hit all my positives despite a rather violent streak. Overall a very entertaining story, only thing missing for me was no dragons lol. Thanks for the rec Sala Bim

  19. 4 out of 5

    Desinka

    When I started this, I was expecting an mm romance loosely disguised as fantasy. This was so not what I got and in a good way. I loved the complex fantasy world Derr created. It took me a bit of time to figure out who the goodies and the baddies in the world were and I'm happy to say these qualities could be attributed to specific characters rather than any of the three nations featured in the story. I found the characters quite intriguing. There were plenty of likable characters and a couple of When I started this, I was expecting an mm romance loosely disguised as fantasy. This was so not what I got and in a good way. I loved the complex fantasy world Derr created. It took me a bit of time to figure out who the goodies and the baddies in the world were and I'm happy to say these qualities could be attributed to specific characters rather than any of the three nations featured in the story. I found the characters quite intriguing. There were plenty of likable characters and a couple of hatable ones. They were all worth reading about. I got really sucked into the story, which an only mean one thing - I enjoyed it a lot. I can't wait for the next installment! Rating: 4.5 stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    KatieMc

    3.5 stars. No, it's not as good as Captive Prince. But yes, it was a smart story with great world building, interesting characters, and a bit of UST. Overall it was a slow start, riveting middle, pretty good ending. It took a bit to get into the groove of the world which consists of 3 warring nations, each with their own approach to battle: Kria - weapons Illusor - magic Salhara - drugs Prisoner is a story where enemies find themselves glued together on a quest for the greater good. There is a fa 3.5 stars. No, it's not as good as Captive Prince. But yes, it was a smart story with great world building, interesting characters, and a bit of UST. Overall it was a slow start, riveting middle, pretty good ending. It took a bit to get into the groove of the world which consists of 3 warring nations, each with their own approach to battle: Kria - weapons Illusor - magic Salhara - drugs Prisoner is a story where enemies find themselves glued together on a quest for the greater good. There is a fair bit of xenophobia and hatred between them, but surprise surprise, some growing respect. There is another more established couple that is featured.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rebeca

    I am so incredibly surprised at how much I liked this book, but then again not at all? I have been a fan of Megan Derr high fantasy novels for a long time and this one did not disappoint. Looking forward to read Bound (Kria #2)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kahvi Procsal

    Oh no, I've sold my soul to Megan Derr and her books. What ever shall I do? Oh no, I've sold my soul to Megan Derr and her books. What ever shall I do?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌

    Urgh. I have got to stop reading Ms Derr's books or my average rating will shoot up into impossibly high numbers because of all the 5-stars I give away. . . I probably need not say that I am officially obsessed with Megan Derr and Gaymance (as I call it, as opposed to the more "legitimate" M M Romance tag) and that if I find anyone to loves books (especially paranormal romance) as I do, I will try to introduce them to the Gaymance genre. In particular, Megan Derr. Her books are always a damn plea Urgh. I have got to stop reading Ms Derr's books or my average rating will shoot up into impossibly high numbers because of all the 5-stars I give away. . . I probably need not say that I am officially obsessed with Megan Derr and Gaymance (as I call it, as opposed to the more "legitimate" M M Romance tag) and that if I find anyone to loves books (especially paranormal romance) as I do, I will try to introduce them to the Gaymance genre. In particular, Megan Derr. Her books are always a damn pleasure to read. The only complaint I really had was DAMMNIT COULD THEY NOT HAVE GOTTEN IT ON EARLIER? Okay, okay, that wasn't really a complaint, but seriously! WHY?? Always always always, her books have some of my FAVOURITE CHARACTERS and I WANT MY FAVOURITE CHARACTERS TO GET IT ON. -le sigh- As I said, not really a complaint, because that's just what her books like and damn if I don't love them the way they are. Wow, I sounded like I'm talking about a lover. No wonder I have no social life to speak of. Anyway, more to the point. This was a damn good book. However it's not very pretty, or romantic or anything and involves (as you can tell by the title) imprisonment and such. Imprisonment = beatings = all the nasty shit minus rape. No rape or excessive abuse. And the overall tone isn't that tense and difficult to read, although it does contain some rough themes. Definitely recommended for those who love Megan Derr's works, enjoys this genre and so. If you want to start Gaymance, I recommend you try something which I have marked as "as good starting point".

  24. 4 out of 5

    Crys Harris

    This was a solid book with an good characterization and an intriguing plot that was occasionally slow. The plot slowed down then the interesting characters were not interacting. My biggest complaint about this story is that many of the interactions and dialogue is repetitious. Particularly the internal musings of the main characters. I think the physical violence between the main characters would have been somewhat more palatable, or at least believable in a relationship, if the author had intro This was a solid book with an good characterization and an intriguing plot that was occasionally slow. The plot slowed down then the interesting characters were not interacting. My biggest complaint about this story is that many of the interactions and dialogue is repetitious. Particularly the internal musings of the main characters. I think the physical violence between the main characters would have been somewhat more palatable, or at least believable in a relationship, if the author had introduced some 'kink' into the personalities of the characters. The resolution was kind of unbelievable because there are NO moments of tenderness between the main characters. I mean, I'm all for pushy bottoms and stern tops, but not if everyone isn't into it. As far as the plot goes, I was disappointed by the rather anti-climatic scene with Tawn and the removal of the Brothers as political players. This book has a lot of good elements, it is an enjoyable read, and I did like the characters. Some editing to remove repetition and a different type of interaction, besides physical abuse and bickering, between the main characters would have improved the story.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amy Chichi Hsiao

    I'm tremendously enchanted by the main couple. The dramatic tension in the love-hate relationship is very well done, and the slow pace drove me mad (in a good sense). Throughout the process, the perspective of Dieter is omitted intentionally to push readers into building his side of the story in mind. I have to say this is a great tactic and I'm always a sucker with this kind of narrative method. As mentioned, the greatest part of reading experience of this book is to build up Dieter's POV. Follo I'm tremendously enchanted by the main couple. The dramatic tension in the love-hate relationship is very well done, and the slow pace drove me mad (in a good sense). Throughout the process, the perspective of Dieter is omitted intentionally to push readers into building his side of the story in mind. I have to say this is a great tactic and I'm always a sucker with this kind of narrative method. As mentioned, the greatest part of reading experience of this book is to build up Dieter's POV. Following is what I've built after reading the whole book. (view spoiler)[ Dieter's initial thought was probably that since he's going to be killed by the Kaiser anyway considering the hatred he held towards Dieter, getting the person who was actually responsible to die with him is probably better than him being executed for something he didn't do. But later during the trip, Dieter started to be interested in Beraht, because he was probably the first person who dared to scold him in his face, considering most around him out of fear or hatred wouldn't even interact with him. Although with the difference in physical strength, Beraht's submission was inevitable, but the clear disgust and hatred was probably quite new to Dieter. Also, although at first it wasn't clear in the narration because we only saw Beraht talking about himself, later on when they arrive at the winter palace in Kria, we can see from the way people treated Dieter that despite the difference of social status, Dieter and Beraht shared the solitude among their own people. This makes perfect sense to Dieter's feelings for Beraht, although he might or might not be aware if these feelings are romantic or not. Before being kicked into the arena, Dieter could had many ways of sneaking arcen into Beraht's hands, but he chose to kiss him. Though I couldn't be sure about it, I do very much want to think it's because he was already a bit romantically interested in Beraht. But they were in such a dire situation and the relationship was so bad due to the assassination and the following imprisoning that he couldn't actually do anything about it. So that kiss was really a goodbye kiss he stole with the excuse of help. Also, he cared for Beraht enough to want him to live despite his own inevitable death, and his possessive nature wouldn't allow him to stand to allow the Kaiser to own Beraht. Things became more intriguing after the grand flight to Illussor. I believe people kept asking why they didn't get along exactly because they saw the dramatic tension between the two wasn't completely hostile. There was something else in it that intrigued people around them. As a wanted man but also a man free from a long and painful obligation, Dieter could have left the group and go anywhere once they left Kria should he really had felt nothing for Beraht, but he decided to stay with them instead. The official reason was he had nothing to do and nowhere to go, but I do want to think it's also because he cared for Beraht and felt grateful for the rescue, even if he could never show the gratitude properly. Despite the difference and hatred, by rescuing him Beraht had been kinder to him than most of the people in his life. It's ironic considering Dieter's career success and social status, but also very warm. So that's why Dieter seemed to keep an eye on Beraht all the time, and was always there to protect Beraht whenever he's in trouble (like sleepwalking and almost ruining the breaking and collapse after the breaking), even if Beraht didn't ask for it (he wouldn't, naturally). After the final assassination, capture, and rescue, even Beraht could feel Dieter's feelings for him, and it started to dawn on me that ever since they fled to Ilussor, Beraht had no practical reason to be upset about whatever Dieter said or did (also, he stopped whining about making Dieter take the name back). He was only pissed by Dieter because Dieter did not treat him with the attention and respect he thought he'd receive, while that expectation was probably what drove Beraht into rescuing Dieter. Beraht wanted Dieter to survive and treat him better, but to his disappointment, Dieter did live only to treat him more or less the same, while he seemed to treat others quite rationally and decently. This must be utterly frustrating and disappointing to Beraht. What is worse is that after the breaking, Dieter got pretty busy while Beraht had literally nothing to do, which means there's nothing Beraht could do to gain Dieter's attention. I believe this is the main reason why Beraht insisted on shadow killing the generals in addition to his distrust in diplomatic approach. He still wanted to prove himself with the expectation of love and attention, just no longer to the Brothers, but to Dieter. As the final confronting, I feel it's brilliant to alienate the term Bright and Beraht when Dieter told people the name of his sword to suspend the recognition of Dieter's feelings from the readers. It's really hard to imagine either of them would want to confront the other about the romantic feelings without any help from other characters, because they were both secretly afraid of not being recognized and rejected while they expressed this fear differently: Dieter stick to his obligations stubbornly until it's literally impossible to keep going, while Beraht would do anything just to be recognized. Everyone other than these two could see the mutual feelings, but the two were just too trapped in their own insecurity to make any actual move, because throughout their lives they had been so rejected and alienated that they couldn't afford another disappointment from the only person they care for. That's why Dieter couldn't give a clear reply to Beraht's question after rescuing him, because he probably thought telling Beraht the truth would only lead to dismissal and contempt. If that was the case, it would be better to just keep his feelings for himself. With the information Esta provided that Dieter named his sword after Beraht, however, Beraht could finally recognize his own feelings without fear of being dismissed and ignored. And boy, I was really knocked off by the vulnerability Dieter showed during the final confrontation. Honestly, I only started to build Dieter's POV after this scene. It's even more powerful after I rethink about the previous narrations, because all the details make perfect sense when put together. (hide spoiler)] I had some doubts when I first read this book because the two protagonists really did not seem to get along, and I simply didn't see how that could change. However, after reading the whole book, it makes perfect sense to me now that they were really made for each other.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dreamer

    Excellent m/m fantasy adventure with engaging characters. Sorry guys, no sex, just kissing in this one.. "Names are power. Power of life. Power of death. Do not give a name lightly. Do not take a name lightly. Do not share a name lightly. Do not speak a name lightly," Sol recited. "To give a name is to give a life. To strike a name is to kill a man. Whosoever names you has power over you." Excellent m/m fantasy adventure with engaging characters. Sorry guys, no sex, just kissing in this one.. "Names are power. Power of life. Power of death. Do not give a name lightly. Do not take a name lightly. Do not share a name lightly. Do not speak a name lightly," Sol recited. "To give a name is to give a life. To strike a name is to kill a man. Whosoever names you has power over you."

  27. 4 out of 5

    ❀elizabeth❀

    As far as books go, I don’t think I’ve ever read something so confusing in my life. My mixed feelings are based on a multitude of reasons, but the best way to describe it is that this book doesn’t seem to find stable ground to congregate its storytelling, but rather remains fragmented and unclear. Prisoner is a book based in three different countries – Kria, Salhara and Illussor - in the middle of a three-nation war, following three different storylines that converge over the course of the book. Y As far as books go, I don’t think I’ve ever read something so confusing in my life. My mixed feelings are based on a multitude of reasons, but the best way to describe it is that this book doesn’t seem to find stable ground to congregate its storytelling, but rather remains fragmented and unclear. Prisoner is a book based in three different countries – Kria, Salhara and Illussor - in the middle of a three-nation war, following three different storylines that converge over the course of the book. You have the Krians, who rely heavily on their weapons and shun all use of magic. Salharans, who rely on a drug called arcen to pollute themselves and manipulate the laws of magic. And Illusors, wielders of natural magic. Each story arc is told through the use of military narrative, a factor which I greatly enjoy in fantasy. The worldbuilding greatly depended upon this fact. But that also became a problem, as seemingly it’s the only perspective of this entire world that we’re going to get. The limited worldbuilding had many details that only focused on certain fighting and magic values, details which became more and more repetitive and tedious as the plot advanced and failed to show this world from different angles. We see little mention of anything else. The lack of variety left me feeling the story was incomplete. Though I enjoy fantasy-based military fiction, I'd like to see evidence of something outside of war existing, otherwise, the world seems to only exist in this one dimension. Much of this worldbuilding is also portrayed to us through the narrative and factual dialogue, leading to a continuous info-dump with little action to provide as evidence. All the characters were tremendously lukewarm. None stood out for me. The lack of female characters was also an extremely irritating aspect, especially as the only one important female character Esta is continuously put on the backburner. She provides no use to the plot whatsoever, and the story would not suffer if she was simply taken off the page. All the romances were half-baked or strung for too long. There’s no sense of nuance here to add. And then there’s the plot… the tension was all off. In the author’s hands, it felt disjointed and mismanaged. Some things came far too easily and others dragged on for too long. The tone and themes accompanying the plot and writing are similarly executed, jumbled and botched to such an extreme that they fall entirely flat. The ending came far too easily and didn’t even feel like a resolution, I just don’t understand. Very poorly done. Occasionally, bursts of action and certain character dynamics would pick up and grow interesting again, only to deflate quickly back into its confusing stupor. The story never seems to find it's feet. Honestly, I’m not really sure what to make of this. I’m leaving it at 2 stars, if only for decent writing and odd spurts of interest in the characters, but really altogether am glad the tediousness of this is over.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shelby

    Alright I admit for the first ten percent (roughly) of this book I was a little confused and wasn’t sure whether I was going to like it. There’s a lot of things going on to kick start this story and Ms. Derr doesn’t hand hold you through it. Not that she makes it overly confusing, but this is a well-crafted alternate universe with it’s own rules and very different take on magic. You’re dealing with three different factions as well, all with very different political ideologies. Then of course the Alright I admit for the first ten percent (roughly) of this book I was a little confused and wasn’t sure whether I was going to like it. There’s a lot of things going on to kick start this story and Ms. Derr doesn’t hand hold you through it. Not that she makes it overly confusing, but this is a well-crafted alternate universe with it’s own rules and very different take on magic. You’re dealing with three different factions as well, all with very different political ideologies. Then of course there are our spies and convoluted pasts to factor in and figuring out everyone’s loyalties is one hell of a confusing mess. But get through that first ten percent and it all starts unraveling from one messy ball of twisted wires into a beautiful arch of wonderful characters. He’s been nameless his entire life. In a country where names are the end all be all of one’s importance it’s made him less than the scum on a person’s show. Finally he has a chance to earn his name as a Seven Star. All he has to do…kill 1000 soldiers in the Scarlet Army. Stealth is his modus operandi and with his magic death has never come on swifter feet. But the Scarlett Army has one major advantage over any other, it has the Wolf at its helm and as decimating as his attack is, he’s still not able to kill them all. General Dieter von Adolwulf is the youngest general Kria has ever had. He rules his army with an iron fist and all the people of three nations are terrified of him. But no one has managed to hold the land of the Regenbogen for as long as he has. These attacks on his men though, all because of one Salharan scum are too much. The Wolf will have his revenge. The first step of which is tormenting this nameless one by forcing him to accept his new name, and a Krian one at that, he’ll answer to Beraht or die. Born Salharan and a general in his own right, Sol has multiple names, a necessity of his trade perhaps, but one that makes him almost as despised as the nameless if people knew. Still Sol maybe one of the best spies ever and his loyalties to three different countries aren’t questioned though they should be. He may have been born Salharan and a member of the Seven Star, but he also has a life as a Krian noble and connections to the Illussors as well. Finding out where his true loyalties lie may not be as obvious as it seems. Iah was born a Duke’s son in Illussor, but gave up his title to join the military. He grew up as a close confidant to the prince and his sister currently bears the family title. While he expected war to be a tough racket he never expected to be part of the group that finally found what they were looking for, the Breaker to save them all. Nor did he expect to end up captured by the Salharan’s tracking the same man. Now he’s been blinded to keep him from accessing his magic and has to learn an entirely new way to live that is if he survives his capture. This story really is more an ensemble piece than a story about one couple. It’s also much more a fantasy novel than a romance one. The romance here is a back-story. The fantasy elements are well developed and wonderfully rich, the focus being on the political machinations and steps to save a country rather than on what is developing between certain characters. While I liked the pairings that happened in this story, I never felt like I got to fall in love with them as they were falling in love with each other. In fact I think I ended up liking this story more because in the early pages I figured out I was going to have to shut off my romance brain and read it with my fantasy brain. In that genre it’s a wonderful edition. I really enjoyed all the characters in this story a lot. Each character was interesting and unique, contributing their own flare to the story. Even our hetero couple for me was a lot of fun. Prince Matthias’ pursuit of Esta and her take no prisoners ability to run rough shod over the boys in her life made me giggle. Not to mention Kalan and Matthias’ banter together. I liked the little bit of comedy relief in the story and their backdoor conniving to control their country. I would say that my biggest problem with this story though is that as much as I liked the characters here there was very little development in their characters throughout the story. The man/woman they were to start the story was pretty much the same person they ended up being in the end. Sol and Iah were much more mellow and easier to like over all, but Beraht’s argumentative closed minded ideas started to wear after awhile. I never felt like he was trying to learn anything different and he was a pain in the ass right up until the time he wasn’t. I completely understood Dieter’s inclination to beat him pretty much all the time. He just won’t shut up. In fact I think the only person who does grow at all is Dieter. His changes may have been unwilling to start, but he accepts his new status in life better than most. Now I did enjoy Dieter and Beraht’s bickering don’t get me wrong. I just wish it had tapered off at times and that when they did discuss real things those discussions affected their way of thinking more. Holding to one’s ideals out of sheer stubbornness helps no one. I actually really, really enjoyed the ideas behind the different cultural identities to each kingdom. Kria entirely without magic, focused on their physical prowess. Salharan and their dependence on an outside drug to create the magic within them. A drug that is as addictive and seductive as any in our world today. This country functions much like I imagine a drug cartel does, from the shadows. And then Illussor, stuck creating an artificial power level to their innate mind magic in order to survive, one that’s slowly killing them. This also played into the discussion of names as well. I loved the different philosophies espoused here. I did feel awful for Beraht, to have his own beliefs so overrun and to have a name he despised forced on him in that way. I loved the Krian quirk of naming their swords after lovers/those they care about. It’s an odd little quirk to this novel but one that adds a richness to the story. I very much enjoyed this aspect. This doesn’t quite reach the level of epic fantasy in the way I judge it in my own head, but it is still a wonderful fantasy story with plenty of intrigue and plotting to go around. I liked seeing how all the events would unfold to get our very different heroes to all end up running along the same path. Sure there are some elements that get skimmed over (view spoiler)[like what the heck all the families of the Scarlett Army thought when their men all walked away to join the Illussors and follow Dieter (hide spoiler)] , but since I liked the emotional impact of the moment I went with it. The romances add a nice touch, but are by no means the focus of the story. Frankly I really enjoyed the world building and the concepts here and became embroiled in the political pressures of the story. All in all it’s a fun read in an intriguing world.

  29. 4 out of 5

    La*La

    3.5 stars I feel quite torn about how I should rate this book. There were parts that were awesome..and parts that didn't make sense at all.. So, as with any fantasy book, the book was slow at the beginning - all the world-building being explained to the reader. The writing was solid, the world intriguing. Three countries fighting each other (Salharan, where people get magic using drugs; Illusor, where people have natural magic; militarist Kria, despising all kinds of magic), and the heroes origin 3.5 stars I feel quite torn about how I should rate this book. There were parts that were awesome..and parts that didn't make sense at all.. So, as with any fantasy book, the book was slow at the beginning - all the world-building being explained to the reader. The writing was solid, the world intriguing. Three countries fighting each other (Salharan, where people get magic using drugs; Illusor, where people have natural magic; militarist Kria, despising all kinds of magic), and the heroes originating from those countries being brought together by circumstances. It was all captivating and enjoyable. I love reading enemies-to-lovers stories. And here enemies were spectacular - General Dieter von Adolwolf and his prisoner who he named Beraht. I just wish they had more page-time. There is another (not quite as interesting) couple about whom we read just as much. Too many POV-s, too many events just took the focus away from Dieter and Beraht, and that was frustrating. Nevermind there is no sex or at least hot action in this book..I would settle for those growing-to-care for each other scenes that I love in enemies-to-lovers books. Here there were few of those..*sad face* So, this wasn't quite a romance book. I wish at least the fantasy part was good..it started out well, but when the heroes arrive in the magical country Illusor the plot went scattered.(view spoiler)[ I didn't like the second half of the book. I didn't get why it was so crucial to rob Illusor people from magic. I didn't like Matthias and Kalan - they were like a pair of clowns. Esta irritated me with her constant bitching. I didn't care for Sol and Iah - they just fizzled out. Beraht's animosity was exhausting. Kaiser's and Tawn's deaths were awfully anticlimactic. Parts where the whole Scarlet army just went traitors was unbelievable! Didn't they have any families left in Kria? And then the parts from other armies joined Dieter, too.. WTF? I found it all very hard to believe. The only character who didn't lose his appeal for me was Dieter. (hide spoiler)] I don't think I'll check out the rest of the series. Anyway, the events there take place hundreds of years after Beraht&Dieter. Nope, not interested.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shay

    I picked up this book mainly because of all the good reviews of this book. Did it match up to my expectations? No, not really. Was it a good read? Sure. The world-building was decent. There are 3 opposing countries: Illusor, Kria, and Salhara. All three have different cultures, which I enjoyed noting the differences in fighting, magic usage, language, and food. I got the gist of all of the characters and how they interacted. I grew fond of some of the people, even. Two of the main characters, Die I picked up this book mainly because of all the good reviews of this book. Did it match up to my expectations? No, not really. Was it a good read? Sure. The world-building was decent. There are 3 opposing countries: Illusor, Kria, and Salhara. All three have different cultures, which I enjoyed noting the differences in fighting, magic usage, language, and food. I got the gist of all of the characters and how they interacted. I grew fond of some of the people, even. Two of the main characters, Dieter and Beraht, were fun to listen to argue and insult each other. Matti, Kalan, and Essie were also fun to hear joking together, and frequently get glared at by Essie. This book is a bit slow at first, but it gets a little better when maybe...3 chapters have passed. That's how much time it takes to really start seeing how the events and the people fall in to place. I almost put this book down, it was hard to pay attention. The POV jumps between 3 groups of people, which gets a bit irritating, but still helps to tie in everything to the main plot. (view spoiler)[I liked that Iah found Sol, Matti married Essie, and Dieter and Beraht got together (at the end). I didn't quite like the sudden-ness of their love, though. Dieter, at some point, is asked what his name-less sword is called, and he says its name is Bright. Beraht is 'bright' in Krian. This is important because the Krians name their swords after their beloveds so that when they die, they die with their love by their side. Sure, that's sweet, but that was practically the only time that any affection was hinted at. Then, Dieter went to the rescue of Beraht when he was capturee, but it was so cobbled together and the entire thing felt like it was written just to get a HEA. The plot needed some depth and some work. This book deserves a B+ for a good idea, and a decent plotline, but not an A for the rushed ending/romance. (hide spoiler)]

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