This story is a disaster. I remember seeing a few negative reviews a year or so ago, but I have no idea what had happened to them. They are not here anymore. I should have known better. I should have paid heed to the warnings.
If you think this is about an archaeological dig, it's not. If you think it's about Creed and outstanding security services he provides, it's not. If you think there is a complicated story that involves dangerous gods and their immense powers, it's not.
This is about a bunch of horny teenagers in grown-up god and human bodies, who drink, f*ck like bunnies (I dare you to flag me for that word, when every other sentence in this book contains a profanity), tell each other tragic sappy stories about their past and run around with googly eyes, falling in insta-love and whispering saccharine nothings when not swearing. These are the Gods. These are tough and rough disciplined ex-military types.
Creed is hired to provide security for a group of archaeologists. He makes a huge deal over it while talking to his client. But what does he do when he gets to the site? Shouts, yells, throws a fit or two and then goes off on a drinking/banging spree first with a member of the dig, and not a couples of hours later with Loki. Creed is too full of himself, and "A limp dick bastard with a God complex" definition suggested by one of the characters describes him to a T.
And so it goes on, Creed and Loki traveling all over the place, bragging about their intelligence, drinking, banging, talking feelings (yuck... yuck.... sticky sugary stuff ...bleh *shrugs*). Everything falls into places when they need it, cause - Gods. They take care of that crap. And so on through now 75% of the book.
Then there is the issue with the Sleeper. Gods don't want him disturbed, but put him in a sealed chamber in an active volcano. What do you think will happen if the said volcano awakes? The seals will be broken, the Sleeper will rise. That's what. Gods Morons.
Strongly reminds me of The Student Prince. All party with little plot.
Still reading (can't believe myself). Will report on the rest later.
And so, I am sad to report that the story is not improving. Ancient gods, who waited literally hundreds of thousand of years for their one and only soulmate, are now rapidly finding them not only within the same week of 2015, but 2 out of three popped up at the same location. The Dig.
What are the odds? O.o
...and then there were poor puppies and poor abused boys and who knows what else, put there for the sole purpose of squeezing out a tear, creating more drama and producing more sap.
DNF-ing at 88%. Actually I did scroll to the end of the book, but couldn't concentrate on any of it.
I am reviewing a DTB version.
Wow! That was the longest prologue I've ever read!
Now I can go back to page 1 and start enjoying the book.
Many reviews that mention re-reads make sense now.
Few thoughts on the book, the writing, the characters, the shenanigans. No spoilers, just want to keep my outrage contained in the spoiler tags.
Tho I like it when authors dump you right in the middle of things and you have to start running the moment you hit the ground, this was not the case. I sure did do some legwork, but it was mostly bouncing up and down on the same spot, trying to get hold on my bearings. What? Who? Where? How? but most often than not WTF? were the questions popping into my head every other paragraph.
None of the places, politics, history and even characters, including one of the MCs, are explored enough for readers to fully comprehend the magnitude of events that the author is bestowing upon us until it's almost into the second half.
* Felix doesn't get to shine in the beginning of the book; hell, Felix doesn't get to be or do anything before all hell brakes loose. He doesn't get. to. be. Although SM keeps showering us with "Felix is This" and "Felix is That", all we see is a mad, wounded, bleeding dog instead of a shiny pretty thing, and its running, whimpering, to his abuser after being called "a whore". That one word and an unsubstantiated implication to go along does not justify Felix's violent overreaction. I am sure it's all perfect in MS's head, but she clearly prefers not to share any additional bits with us (and there are more to come).
Where is this person who thinks quick on his legs? SM's shiny version of Felix should handle it in no time flat, instead he is seeking out his uber abusive master he hasn't seen in years and loading on drugs like there is no tomorrow.
Felix the magnificent, "whose deadly wit is the terror of the court” my ass. Whiny little pup!
* The book is packed with too many elaborate names that mean nothing, people who never show up and have no impact on the events, places we never go to.
Not sure why French rev. calendar was used. To give an instant historical setting? Sorry, it didn't work. You can't use a calendar and a bunch of French sounding names to instantly set the stage, unless its real France and the time is set roughly during the very end of 18th/beginning of 19th centuries. Same goes for Troia/Greece. These tricks confuse, not clarify events or describe places or historical periods in fantasy fiction.
I jam fond of French history and literature, but even then it took me a few minutes to zoom in on Pluviôse, I simply did not expect it. It was one of my first in the long line of WTF moments. I am sure many of us remember the calendar, but then there are many who do not.
*Please, translate for the overwhelming majority of your non-russian speaking audience, what the hell Morskaiakrov means. Would it kill you to make a footnote: *Morskayakrov (russian) - Sea Blood. In current setting it implies that the family who operates the boat has sea in their blood. They were born into the trade and sea is their home and their life.
Please, quit making people feel inadequate and leaving them tongue-twisted and cross-eyed.
* Too many side stories. For what purpose? Ah.... of course. Page count. But they slow down the flow of the main story and leave loose ends all over the place.
What was the deal with the hidden attic at St. Crellifer's? Great escape route. Great way in. But was it utilized? I really hope it will come handy later, because as of right now it's an opportunity and reader's time wasted.
*POV switching. Two paragraphs here. Half a page there. Past Tense, Present Tense... I am looking forward (not!) to colons in The Virtu, that's on top of Italics and Mildmay's bad and inconstant speech antics.
*Would it greatly burden you to have a glossary of terms and names in the beginning of the book? If anything it will expand your page count.
*Please, mention your septads in the glossary of your quirks. Two septads and six is an amusing take on 20 questions, but - really? Really? Invent your own question game and leave decimals out.
OK, shutting up now. There is more in my updates if anyone cares.
This book made me angry. Felix, too, at the very end, with his lack of gratitude and common sense made me angry. BUT. The story held my interest. I am starting The Virtue today. That counts for something, I guess.
PS Shannon. I feel bad for him. Felix is one ungrateful piece of ...work.
Want to mention: inconsistencies, contradictions, messed up narrative (not always sure in which timeline I was), cliches and various other wtf-ery waiting for you on every page and in every paragraph. But, yaoi novel, what did I expect. I went for something naive and low quality - a quicky, if you please - and I got it for about 60%.
And then BIG guns came out.
NOT A SPOILER, BUT A SERIOUS WARNING (this is all in the book, not my words, except for "wtf", so keep your finger off that "flag" button):
The book took a turn for pure brutality: brutal rape, brutal beatings, brutal murder, brutal zombies, brutal weres, brutal winter, just effing brutal all around with a bouquet of taboos thrown in just for the shocker. It includes consuming human flesh, tearing off limbs, sucking out brains and eyes, ripping out "bowels", fisting, tearing up assholes (literally, of course), dancing on the bloody floor and stomping through the guts, watersports, piss enemas, knotting, implied incest (why not go all the way, wtf?), bestiality and manimal sex/rape (shifted form). I am sure I missed a few juicy bits while rolling my eyes. Please, don't hold it against me.
1 star for the first 60-65%, which still contained a story. The rest - super-massive black hole.
Thank you for your time.
PS Must mention: one of the scenes in the book reminds me strongly ofPrisoner in the Viewfinder. Particularly the scene on the cruise ship with Michael Arbatov, his uncle Yuri and Akihito. A young blond photographer, a pure soul, raped and abused by bad Russian homophobic mobsters.
This installment brings very little to Liam/Ondry relationship while they are visiting human home-base planet. Perhaps the Rawnt gain some new perspective on how we, humans, function, but being human I found myself bored.
The story goes round and round and repeats itself from every person's POV possible. Disappointed :/