Reviewed by: Lexi
Summary: Time and circumstances may force true lovers apart but the tie that binds them can never be fully severed.
When Dylen Teris and Riodan Leyhar meet one harsh winter in the dual-gendered realm of Ylandre, neither expects the encounter to lead to a fast friendship and abiding love. For a chasm of vastly dissimilar social stations lies between them, and not all Deira could imagine, let alone accept, such a relationship.
Circumstances eventually separate them for what seems forever only to conspire to bring them together once more in the most unlikely of places—at the court of Rohyr Essendri, Ylandre’s powerful monarch. Complicating their situation is the attraction that still lingers between them, waiting to flare once more into love. But when one is unwilling to venture his heart again or wholly forgive its breaker, it may take a king’s interference to reunite these star-crossed lovers for good.
Review: This is the story of Dylen Teris, half-brother to the Arden Rohyr Esseni. He was born into and groomed as a Hethare, an elite organization that provides lively conversation and companionship, for the most part, to wealthy patrons. For a hefty amount one can purchase a torrid tryst from a member of the Hethare, as long as the individual agrees. Many times Hethare are thought to be common street whores and not the reputable and honorable occupation it was.
On a winter night, Riodan Leyhar, dropped, quite literally, on Dylen's doorstep. The son of a prominent ambassador who ran away from home to protest his possible betrothal to an uncharitable and mean noble much older than Riodan.
We follow the creation of an impossible friendship of two men from vastly different walks of life. They fall in love but obligations forces them to make choices that tear them a part.
Dylen waiting for Riodan to return to him, broke my heart. We already knew how unbendable Riodan's father was, and how impressionable and innocent Riodan was. Dylen insisted Riodan must follow the class distinctions/rules, not really believing a relationship between the two of them could really happen without detriment to Riodan's standing with his peers. Even Dylen's inner thoughts seemed to be self-fulfilling, and it appeared the love these two held for one another was all for naught.
In a desperate time of need, Dylen reached out to Riodan in such a way, that if he had been in his right mind, he would have approached and handled differently. Before that moment, no contact had been made in twelve long years. Riodan caught and conflicted, turned Dylen away cruely, causing a chasm to spring up between them.
That scene will be a point of contention for many readers. It is harsh and some may not be able to forgive or believe that Riodan can be redeemed afterwards. Despite the ages of these two characters, one had to remember they were still technically young adults. They reached majority at the age of 30, which was still very young for a race that lived as long as they did. They both had much growing up to do and was why I didn't find Riodan unredeemable for that one single deed. He had plans to make amends but by the time he returned, more mature and with a better grip on his own identity without taking his cues from his parents or his peers, Rohyr had found Dylen and claimed him as family.
Riodan worked hard, seeking forgiveness, not realizing the true scope of his prior rejection until too much time had passed, seeming to solidify Dylen's unmovable, broken regard. Both he and Dylen were miserable. Riodan had to decide whether to not to completely break the bindings his father placed upon him.
This was a story of social gaps, prejudice, and forgiveness. Wrong choices, mistakes and crass words that couldn't be taken back. I believe in forgiveness. I don't hold grievances. Riodan's action and denial was one, and only one, occurrence. He spent considerable time working towards Dylen's forgiveness, owning up to his actions while being truly contrite and regretful.
Now, if there had been other incidents, then I would've washed my hands of him and rooted for a different love interest for Dylen.
This is bit more angsty than Sacred Fate, more focused on the relationship as the overall plot and one mystery to solve in the second half. All in all, this was a very enjoyable read.