Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Ashnavayarian was a powerful, god-like being of the leythe, the place from which magical energies emanate. But Ash has been a bad boy. His thoughtless, selfish meddling and manipulating has led to a war and disturbances within the leythe. Ash needs to be taken down a peg or two, so the goddess Jhara punishes him by forcing him to live in human form with most of his power stripped from him. She hopes he’ll learn that using other creatures for his own amusement isn’t right and that some of the things he considers human frailties (like compassion and love) are just what he needs to learn. Of course, that doesn’t go over well with Ash, and he’s determined to thwart Jhara by any means necessary and break his exile. Jhara throws Ash another curveball when she leythe-bonds him to Toryn MacAran, a human!
Tor has never fit in and always harbored a painful emptiness inside, like something is missing. When a strange encounter at a bookstore one night ends up landing him at the feet of the handsome Ash, he may have found the answer. Ash’s touch takes his emptiness and pain away and makes him feel compete.
Both main characters are well developed and interesting in their own right, but when they come together, oh boy! The chemistry goes off the charts. I adored the interaction between these two. An emotional rollercoaster.
Ash is a self-centered, full of himself ass at the beginning of this story, but he’s so damn fun. Tor is the broken boy that I always adore. And I do adore him… except that by the end, I’m so in love with Ash that even Tor’s delicious brokenness cannot compare. These guys go through hell and back in this story, but the growth of the characters throughout is such a treat to read.
This is a complex fantasy that takes place on another world separate from the earth (from which Tor came). The world building is quite intricate and yet so smoothly woven that it never felt cumbersome as some fantasies do for me. Fast-paced, lots of wit, smoking hot sex, angst, sexy long-haired men (my fav!), and some freaky bad guys to hate from Lucano in the first section on to some of his horrible creations in the second.
And then there’s Carrik Tarn, a very interesting and pivotal secondary character. I won’t say much about him for fear of it being a spoiler, but I’d really like to know more of his background. Maybe that will come out in a sequel. Oh, and there’s this one scene where I just wanted to kick him in the nuts so bad I could taste it. Except, well, that would have been impossible even if I were there at the time.
So much happens in this book, much more than I’d expect for the number of pages. It has the depth of a much longer read–almost like an epic. I read the first half, Human Frailties, about a year ago as a freebie. Since I’d enjoyed the first half of the story quite a lot, I really have no idea why I waited so long to read the full story. But very glad I finally did because the second half took the tale into awesome territory. The second half made me fall in love.
So if you’ve read Human Frailties and never went on to read the rest, don’t wait! It only gets better.
Ash and Tor need a sequel, and actually, I’m pretty sure there is one currently in the works. I can’t wait. And one last thing–I have to mention how much I love the name Ashnavayarian and all its interesting variants!
The cover by Cinchbug depicts both characters just as I’d pictured them along with the other important elements of the story. The dark, mysterious mood is perfect.
ebook, Smashwords, 272 pages
Published September 30th 2013 by Jaye McKenna, via Smashwords
seriesGuardians of the Leythe #1.0