A debut self-published fantasy novel with an m/m romance subplot. The mythology created for this story is based on avian terminology which fit perfectly with the young eunuch characters and their singing powers. For example the hero Willim is the Dove of Valnon. His friends are Larks, and Preybirds, and Kites, etc. It is really the standout feature of the story and quite well done.
However there are several negative points as well. Firstly the info dumps are everywhere. It was hard to go one chapter without having some detailed backstory of the kingdom recited. Secondly the NAMES!!! Ugh. Everyone (and everything) seemed to have three different names. First names, last names, 'bird' names, ancient names. It was really confusing.
The villain was one-dimensional and of the moustache-twirling, 'mwahaha' variety. The fact that he could overthrow the leaders of the Temple seemed completely unbelievable and the quick surrender of the Temple leaders was bewildering. The plot where the good guys escape the island only to return almost immediately felt silly.
Lastly, the romance. There was zero sexual tension. Grayson's attraction to Willim seems to be more religious fervour than sweaty lust. Their one very brief sex scene was fade-to-black. The young acolytes, Willim, Ellis, and Dmitri, were made Eunuchs at a young age (pre-puberty) and from what I understand of the condition this would have made them asexual although still capable of strong affection. They did seem asexual and juvenile in their rare moments of interest in other people.
You definitely need to be a fantasy fan to enjoy this book. I see this is book 1 of a series which is surprising. This book felt like a complete story and I'm wondering where the author will go next with the characters.