This is my choice for the Zodiac Challenge (Pisces) since it's set in another world.
This story came highly recommended and almost all of my friends love it.
I can see why, although I didn't love it quite as much. It has very creative world building, an interesting mix of old history and folklore and sci-fi/futuristic and a very powerful message and moral.
Adam lives in the very modern and technology advanced world. The people have been 'enhanced' and bred for perfection and implanted with technology for generations.
The Bideshi separated from 'their brothers' generations ago when they saw how the future was going to “A long time ago, my people—and then they were your people too—saw a way to rid themselves of a disease that was causing a great deal of death and pain. They went into the genetic code of every human and cut the sickness off at the source. At the root. New generations needed to have the same procedure. It was a good thing. It saved lives, as long as the practice was maintained. But then…then they went further.”
But Adam has a defect, making him trash and undesirable for the Protectorate.
He is rescued by Lochlan and taken in to a world that Adam has only heard rumors about.
“Adam looked down at the proffered hand. He didn’t take it. The Bideshi. Weavers of dark magic, believers of dark madness. Bandits and thieves.”
The Bideshi seems to be a native nomadic kind of society, they like to travel on their home ships, there are also lots of references to the Old Testament of the bible in their history. Like brother against brother with Cain and Able, which is a good metaphor for this story. They also live with superstition and magic. They have very strong family ties and the whole society is considered family.
This is a whole new world for Adam and it changes him in many ways.
The society he came from was 'perfect' and very repressed. It's represented by Melissa Cosaire. And wow, someone wanted to make sure we knew how crazy perfection can be.
Adam is accepted and welcomed in to their world, as much as he was dismissed and exiled by his own.
But the Protectorate has a secret, one they are willing to kill to keep.
“You’ve heard that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. But here’s a thing to think on, child: why must there be any difference between the two?”
Decisions need to be made, ones that will cause death and hardship.
“I caused this.” He ached with exhaustion and a thousand other things. “They want me—”
“They want blood. Be easy, little brother. You’re ours now. We are bigger and we are older and, mitr, we do not fight fair.”
I liked a lot of those things, the strong moral of the story, to always want more, more perfection, more power, havingno acceptance of anything different or 'imperfect' and to what that can lead. But also being brave and standing up for what you believe in, even at great cost. It was a very unique story with lots of creative mixing of different components.
But, it was very long, too long, and at times written in such a way that was more riddles and I felt like I should know what they meant or were talking about, but I didn't. It took me almost half the book to feel invested and want to carry on reading.
And I would not consider this a romance at all, yes Adam and Lochlan do come together, but it really is more of a footnote. I never really warmed up to them as a couple and it wasn't until the last pages that I was even sure they were one.