Title: In the Eye of the Wind
Author: Katherine Wyvern
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Release Date: January 16, 2019
Page Count: 268
Reviewed by: ParisDude
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.9 stars out of 5
Born in the northern wastes of Kaleva in the middle of a devastating war between light and darkness, Rikko’ has found his way south to the warm shores of the Circled Sea, the first elver to ever turn pirate.
Forbidden by the rules of the Andalouan court to pursue such an ungentlemanly career, Gael can only dream of ever becoming a doctor, and his medical studies remain unfinished until his aunt the Queen sends him on a covert mission to the pirate city of Beyas’kahl.
And here, after one night with Rikko’, all his loyalties are put to the test.
Queen Amata has reigned for three decades, and she always used her men cunningly. But even the best player can miscalculate, and her blunder places Gael first in slavery, then in a naval battle, and finally, worst of all, face to face with Rikko’s darkest and deadliest side.
From such darkness, is there any coming back? Is there any hope of love for Gael, or redemption for Rikko’?
Let me say right away: I genuinely enjoyed this novel. Less a fantasy romance than a nicely paced and gripping adventure-and-romance tale, it is set in an imaginary world that strikes as fairly familiar. I always seemed to almost recognize places from our own, very real world. Gael, for instance, is the nephew of the Andalouan queen—everything about Andaloua and its neighbours reminded me of Spain, some place names sounding outright Castillan or Catalan. Now, Gael is a young nobleman living a sheltered if dull life at court. He dreams of becoming a doctor, a wish his father frowns upon. Luckily, his aunt allows him some cursory medical training with her own doctor. Then, to his delight, she entrusts him with a secret mission: pirates making sea travel and transport very hazardous, she wants to enrol a skilled corsair captain herself to fight the criminal endeavours threatening her country and its allies. Gael’s goal is to find that man. He therefore has to go to Beyas’kahl, a city on the Southern shores of the Circled Sea famous for its medical school, where he’s officially meant to study medicine. I immediately pictured the Mediterranean sea and a coastal city in Morocco, Algeria, or Tunisia (or even today’s Turkey if the place names are any hint).
That’s how Gael’s epic adventure begins, anyway. The ship he’s aboard is captured by the pirate ship “Rüven”, which is operating out of Beyas’kahl. Amongst the pirate crew there’s the first mate, astonishingly handsome and strange elver Rikko’, who for unmentionable reasons makes Gael’s heart beat faster on first sight. Stranger still, the fierce elver discovers that the young and innocent prisoner doesn’t leave him completely indifferent either. That’s why, when the not-yet-doctor from Andaloua is supposed to be sold on the Beyas’kahl slave market, the highest bidder turns out to be… Rikko’. Gael becomes the pirate ship’s and Rikko’s shared property when they set out to sea again. He quickly proves to be a worthy ship surgeon and doctor, but the lust and hunger he starts feeling for Rikko’ is gnawing away at him.
When the ship returns to port, Gael, although technically a slave, is given leave to freely roam the foreign city. He manages to find a liaison man of his aunt’s and to send her an urgent message telling her that Rikko’ is the man she’s looking for and disclosing where and when he might be captured. That evening, however, he stumbles upon Rikko’ in a tavern, and the elver decides to show him the hidden beauties of Beyas’kahl. They drink, they dance, they kiss… and the evening ends in a frenzy of steam and passion (by the way, this was the point in the book when I knew the die was cast. From there on the plot would unravel with the clockwork precision of a Greek tragedy, whether I liked the direction it took or not).
On their second trip Gael and Rikko’ notice little by little that with each passing day, each second spent close to each other, they’re falling ever more deeply in love. Yet, one of them knows he has betrayed the other’s trust. And he doesn’t dare tell his lover the truth because he’s afraid that that’ll end their cosy-rosy relationship with a loud BANG. All he can do is pray and hope his letter never reaches his aunt’s court. Of course, I the trembling reader knew how vain those hopes were. Greek tragedy indeed—fate doesn’t have any choice in that matter, there’s only one way out for the plot, and that’s the way leading to catastrophe, despair, separation—maybe even hatred?
As in the ancient Greek tragedies, from the moment I read about Gael sending the message to his aunt, I knew what was in store. And from exactly that moment on, I didn’t want it to happen. Stupid me, I tried to will it away while turning the pages, and I was almost “hating” Ms Wyvern because I knew she’d do everything in her might to separate Gael and Rikko’. I also knew she had no choice in that matter either—the story had to lead to that culminating point; but still… how could she? If I had been capable of such a thing, I would’ve closed the book then and there, to never reopen it again. But. I was hooked (Ms Wayvern is some helluva skillful and talented story-teller!). Yes, it was that sort of book for me: I admit I instantly liked the story, it’s wild adventure magic, its world of freedom. I fell in love with the two guys, Gael and Rikko’, too, almost at once. Two strong and endearing characters whom the story makes grow and become more mature. I loved the relationship they were building. I wanted their romance to happen and, when it had happened, to bloom. I loved the strange-and-yet-so-familiar world Ms Wyvern invented. Even the secondary characters were well imagined, from fearless northern queens to surprisingly soft-hearted cooks.
In one word, if you like well-written adventure tales with a touch of fantasy, with heaps of romantic moments, moments of suspense, sizzling “hot scenes”, and a nicely slow but surefire build-up, this is definitely a book for you.
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