Title: Kestrel’s Talon (The Stonewatchers Book 1)
Author: Bey Deckard
Release Date: May 23, 2016
Page Count: 426 pages
Reviewed by: Natalie
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Following the Prentish/Nemarri war, Kes is rejected by his homeland under the guise of religious purity laws. Though he’s spared execution, the proud Nemarri’s fate is only marginally more merciful than death when he is sold into sexual slavery at a prosperous pleasure house.
Despite his stoic endurance, Kes knows he’s reaching his breaking point, but there is nothing he can do—there is no path to freedom in the Holy Prentish Empire, only a lifetime of humiliating servitude.
That is, until a beautiful young slave and his formidable master approach Kes in the marketplace and make an astonishing offer to take him home with them. The only problem: “home” is the accursed Horthmont Castle from the scare-stories of Kes’s childhood.
Thrown into a world of living myth, powerful magic, and ancient gods, Kes learns the secrets kept hidden by Horthmont’s thick blackstone walls. There he discovers something he thought he’d never know again: hope for the future.
I received an ARC copy of this book from the author. I’m a serious fangirl. Because I adore B.D.’s writing, I read things that I normally wouldn’t think twice about. I was hooked on his writing the moment I read The Complications of T.
Kestrel’s Talon is one of those books I’d never grab on my own because fantasy just isn’t my thing. Butttttt if you throw in some man lovin’ I promise to read it, which is exactly what I did. What I love most about Bey’s writing is he does a phenomenal job with world building. While fantasy isn’t my go to genre, I’ve also read the first book in his Baal’s Heart series, and this is right up there with stellar world building.
We meet Kestrel, a pleasure slave from a far away land. Kestrel is pretty miserable in his life of servitude and one day while at the market, a young man named Talon, and his master see Kestrel and wish to buy him. After some bargaining, Talon’s master is able to get a good price for Kestrel and they set off to their home. Talon is obviously enamored with the pleasure slave but oh how quickly the tables turn.
These two are quite the frisky little slaves. What’s cool about this story is Bey has awesome supporting characters. There’s an asexual secondary character and a trans character as well. I didn’t expect that but the way they were introduced in the story didn’t give me pause at all. It all jived well. My only complaint is that the story was super long despite great editing. I realize that world building takes time and pages, but my attention span is so short when it comes to longer books lately. I was enthralled but at the same time, it took me longer than normal to finish this particular book.
I held on, and I’m glad I did, it was absolutely worth my time. Looking forward to book two in the series! I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something a little different in your M/M reads.