Genres: Fantasy Romance, M/M Romance
Published by Riptide
Released on January 18, 2014
The fantasy world of the Scorpions and the story of Kendra, one of their own, that Mr. Voinov created had me enthralled when I read the first part of the story in Scorpion. What began the process of a coming into his own story journey for Kendra continues in this second segment.
It has been some time since I read the first segment, but I had little trouble getting back into the story. I would not recommend that someone who hadn’t read the first book, Scorpion, jump in at this point.
This was very much a transitional bridge story. The first one ended right at a peak, but it foreshadowed things though the ominous clouds were still distant and coming. This one picks up a little while later and those distant clouds are suddenly closer. While much of this story was an opportunity for the pieces on the game board to be moved around one move at a time in preparation for the future big play-or so it felt to me, the calculated pace was broken up a few times by spikes of danger and passion- these are warriors we’re talking about after all. I was struck by the attention to character development, cunning plotting, more details into the Scorpion world and the use of pace and voice. I was as vested as ever in Kendras’ story though now that I’m preparing to pick up the third installment, I see more than ever that he will be forced to find himself and what he is made of sooner rather than later.
The first tale is one of dark, gritty, tenacious need for survival and then a fiercesome battle followed by a chance at love with the man he thought he could never call his own. But now Kendras is The Officer of the Scorpion band along with right hand protector to Adrastes as he makes his bid as king and future emperor. He must gain the trust of his remaining few men, learn the skills of a leader and start looking to recruit new Scorpions. He is unsure about some things and the mantle of leadership sets heavily, but he is determined to care for and be responsible for his men- his family as any good leader should. Kendras is a loyal man particularly to Adrastes who brought him into the Scorpions, but Kendras can see that Adrastes is changing as he gains power- and not for the better. He seems to be becoming that which he swore he never would- a tyrant. Kendras hopes he is in error, but he can’t ignore the way Adrastes is pushing him to conform the Scorpions to become a fighting unit for Adrastes’ kingdom and Adrastes is always subtly trying to manage the old band through Kendras instead of letting him lead. Political intrigue swirls around them and its difficult to know who to trust and who will try to bring down Adrastes which keeps Kendras on his toes.
A brief respite to take care of Scorpion business leads Kendras to encounter a personable charismatic leader of the men at a border fortress. Kendras is intrigued by Graukar on every level and it seems Graukar is taken with him as well.
[quote]Kendras touched his lips to Graukar’s, and that killed all other thoughts. He couldn’t remember wanting another man so desperately, so tenderly, so completely. He wouldn’t have stepped back from this if it destroyed him, or Graukar, or both of them. It felt rather like two fires uniting and eating into each other- they ceased to exist, yet flared higher and brighter than they would have on their own.
And there was glory in the burning.
Loc. 79% Kendras, Lying With Scorpions.[/quote]
Graukas’ take on matters and Adraste’s actions pit the two men philosophically against each other and both have emotional claims on Kendras. Kendras must figure out where he stands and how he feels about so many things including the sudden painful knowledge- gained by the help of the enigmatic Jaisani ambassador- of who and what he was before he became a child of the streets. The powerful stroke of an enemy and the betraying actions of a friend are what bring this story to its palpably exciting close.
This transitional story did its job in a powerful way leaving me, the reader, in need of the next story and vested in what will happen next for Kendras and all the others populating the story. The tension just draws tighter and the suspense is a welcome feeling.
I would recommend this book/series to those who enjoy m/m fantasy romance particularly when it is laced with spicy passion, intrigue, and daring.
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