Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk
Themes: War, Dragons
Queer Level: Gay Main Characters
My personal enjoyment was a 5/5; but if I were to give a more objective review, see the rating above. Oddly enough, I stumbled across this book by accident—and I don’t regret it. I picked it up based on the fact that the cover was awesome; and then I recognized some of the authors commenting on the back (Lynn Flewelling and Ellen Kushner, for instance). That got me looking at the book description, which piqued my interest further. I was hoping for GLBTQ themes; but it was not an expectation. And woo-hoo, there they were! Starting on the first page of the book, no less. The romance, however, plays a minor role when compared to the surrounding plot.
As far as reading goes, this was a quick read for me in spite of its size. I was quite addicted to it, actually; so much so that as soon as I heard it continued, I picked up the volumes I was missing.
I am going to start by saying that this is not the book for you if you don’t like first-person perspective, or don’t like switching from perspective-to-perspective. It follows four main characters: Thom, Rook, Hal, and Roy. Each has a significantly different voice from the other.
Rook is very… vulgar, harsh. I didn’t like him at the start; but I admired the authors’ ability to build his voice so strongly. Thom is a doll, and I both feel sympathy for him and find his reactionary nature amusing. Hal was my absolute favourite—so sweet and genuine; but his love interest (Roy) fell a bit flat for me, unfortunately. While the interactions between Hal and Roy were adorable and illustrated their affections well, I was eager to read Roy’s parts only because I knew I’d find more of Hal there.
Ultimately, though, this is a top series for me. Not perfect (it almost feels almost like a one-on-one text roleplay), but it’s still fun. The majority of the story is packed with action, humour, and captivating conflict. For anyone who wants a story with a touch of romance (rather than romance with hints of a story), this is a great choice.