Title: Kestrel’s Talon (The Stonewatchers #1)
Author: Bey Deckard
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: May 23, 2016
Genre(s): Fantasy, Magic, Slave, Polygyny
Reviewed by: PIU
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.
Kestrel’s Talon by Bey Deckard is my first read by this author. It is a fantasy work with a gay setting. There is magic, mystery, intrigue and also a completely new language. It is the first book in this series.
There are three major players in this novel:
1. Kestrel/Kes: He is a sex slave, who in the start of the story is purchased by a count and whisked away to a castle in the mountains. Kestrel is a captured soldier who has been forced into slavery and he is highly resentful in this situation. Though after being purchased he is treated as an equal and with respect, Kes still harbours resentment towards his status as a SLAVE. As the story progresses Kestrel becomes completely vested in overthrowing the current ruler and gaining his FREEDOM.
2. Talon: He is a beautiful, young, red haired slave of Count Strade. Talon is the one who persuades his owner to purchase Kestrel. Talon have an extraordinary gift which he still has no full control of. He uses this ability to protect his master and every other resident of the Horthmont castle. Talon is quite taken with Kestrel from the start and later on he trusts him enough to reveal their secrets. He is to play a very important role along with Kestrel and his master in the brewing revolution against the Prentish empire.
3. Count Strade: Strade aka Grimma Dam Hout is the owner of Kestrel and Talon. He is a war chief of the Miq’lathan tribe and is in hiding. His entire race has been butchered many hundred years ago and now he is the only war chief left. Grimma is under a powerful enchantment which has allowed him to live for a long time and this is the main secret of the mysterious and feared owner of the Horthmont castle. He uses Talon to keep his real identity hidden from the authorities.
I was a little confused about the dynamics among the three guys. Kestrel and Talon are attracted to each other from the beginning and their sexual encounters are pretty hot but lacked the love or bond that i was hoping for. Kestrel was a slave who has been tortured and taken advantage of countless times, so you may think that he will be considerate towards another human being, but he treats Talon and uses him in a very slave like way which does not make up for a great start to a great relationship. Kestrel and Talon are both attracted to Grimma as he is to them. This is where i got really hung up. Grimma has raised Talon and i did not find it a little bit okay that he is attracted to a kid who has literally grown up in front of him. Grimma is like a father to Talon so their apparent attraction did not sit well with me. I am not avert to unconventional relationships so three guys trying to create a sexual/loving relationship is fine but this story lacked the necessary chemistry between Grimma and Kestrel/Talon to make it work. (Grimma can’t get it up, I mean what is with that???) Hopefully there will be more sensible character development in the future books.
Talon has a very handy ability of reading/manipulating minds but that too was not explained properly. There was a hodge podge of a lot of stuff that Talon could do which i am sorry to say gave me a major headache. At the end of the story i am still confused about what Talon can actually do*pouts*
The plot progresses with the growing relationship between the three main characters and the various extraordinary secrets that make up the household of the Horthmont castle. The slaves in the Prentish empire are treated horribly and is the main focus of the read. Though Kestrel and Talon are now protected from the outside world, they are still in danger. The protagonists find themselves an unlikely ally to bring the current king down, thus banishing slavery along with it. The author has tried to create a fantasy with magic, enchantment and a promise of a great battle coming in the next books. This book lacked in the magic/enchanting department for which the anticipation was quite high. It was like a gay “Lord of The Rings” sans the “ring”. There is very slow development going on in the plot which made the read very sluggish for me. An increase in pace and more adventurous situations would have been welcome.
All in all, this book is not exciting but have potential to be a very good fantasy read later in the series. Hopefully there will be more action, magic and chemistry in the next books.