Well, well, well... this is my final re-read of the series! I start the re-read in the 25th of February meaning it took me almost 3 months! (I thought it's going to be 2... but I forgot how long these are).
This book has been long awaited by fans. I don't think the Warden actually had Blay and Quinn's book in mind. I know that after the previous one there was a talk of a short novella telling their story because when you think about it, there isn't a lot that could/should happen to bring them together, the both of them are "already there". Blay has been in love with Quinn for years and Quinn just needs to realize that marrying a chosen and having kids with her might be great in theory but it's not what HE wants it's what his parents would have considered "proper" (though they wouldn't have dreamed of that EVER happening to Quinn..). That being said, since this is a full novel, expect a lot of side stories because there's just not enough for the two of them to fill of whole book.
As we came to know Quinn and Blay throughout the previous books I got the feeling that Blay is exactly what Quinn needs. He has been there for him for so many times and their relationship might have been only platonic but it was very deep (even though nothing was actually said, the way Blay was there for Quinn and how much Quinn depended on him said it all). What Blay found in Quinn? Well. it's quite obvious there is something special to Quinn, who he is, his charisma, great friend, courageous, well, you know Quinn no need to keep going, right? and I should say that even though he has been through a lot I loved that he wasn't a "cry baby" (like Phury was in his book...) He dealt in his own way, not always the best way, and he almost lost Blay with his bad decisions but he did what he could and I think that his character has been through quite a ride from when we first met him as a pre-trans. Blay has his "magic" as well, a loyal and caring friend, a courageous fighter as well, but also a gentlemen with great manners. I think that he's the kind of guy women mourn "losing" (since he's gay :P). He really has it all.
When I first read it, about a year ago, it's was my first MM Romance. I don't think I spent a lot of time thinking about how this book is going to be, if I'll find it awkward somehow, or, I don't know, less than a I would find a heterosexual novel. I just loved the both of them so much from the start so I just wanted them to get their happily Ever After.. and then the book came, the sex came as well but nothing felt out of place or really THAT different. Actually it has a good different vibe to the story because of the fact people might expect differently from them or that people might not understand their relationship. But anyhow I loved this book and didn't mind at all the fact that the main couple aren't man/woman but two guys. Since then I've read quite a lot of MM Romance books and I'm really glad I got into it because there is something fun and refreshing in them. A different feel but in a good way :)
Lets go to the story itself..
Well, it's been a while since I actually finished this one, just didn't find the right time to write this review! This book is SO long and there are a lot of sub plots. Basically we get to see Quinn as the more somber self. He wants to build himself and he wants to be worthy of Blay (though he feels he already lost him to Saxton..) he does a lot of "hero acts" that makes him, well, himself! and makes us love him even more than we did in the previous books. Blay on the other hand is more distant. His relationship with Saxton isn't really working though the sex is great.. it's just not Quinn and nothing can change the way he feels about his former ex-best-friend. But also when Quinn shows his interest Blay isn't swayed (which leads to too many heart breaking moments..) because he doesn't believe Quinn is really ready for what it means to be in a relationship, to be in a GAY relationship, and all that it actually means - not marrying a female of worth and having children with her, but being (in the future) a brother coupled with a brother.. Even I see how strange it looks from the side (without saying how unjustified it is to have 2 gorgeous and amazing guys into themselves! and not into us the fair sex.. truly a miss...wait, didn't I already say that a paragraph ago ;)).
So Quinn is really out there in this book. Heart open to being hurt being courageous in so many ways. Also slapping some aggression in a really yummy way! (in protection of both Layla and Blay) Yet you'll have to wait a LONG time to see the HEA part but when you do.. ahhh it was SO worth it!
and now to the sub plots -
We get to read more of Layla. She is really getting more confident with herself. I love seeing how she evolved from the first time we met her to who she is now. There is a brilliant scene with Havers that she REALLY puts him in his place. Well, not really his place since I do think a grave is the only place he deserves but well, she does enough :)
There is Xcor and his Band Of Bastards plotting to dethrone Wrath. But we also get to see a more vulnerable side to Xcor though I still don't like him. I see him as barbaric and not in any positive sense. I don't see what's the appeal between Layla and him and I wonder how it could ever work between them..
We get to see what's going on with Blay and Saxton from Saxton's POV which proves how much he is NOT the selfless whore Quinn considers him to be. He is a caring person. He tolerates so much in the relationship with Blay - basically being with a guy who is in love with another.. it's kinda heart breaking for him as well. I wonder if we'll ever see his HEA which will only happen if he get attached to a brother since all the books are of people who are either in the brotherhood or really close to it.. maybe a short novella? I'm not greedy :P
There a little bit of Wrath since he is dealing more with the BOB and what it does to his role as the King. Also he has a very interesting decision to make and I loved how he solved it.
There is also more of the Shadows - iAm and Trez - which will be the main characters in the next book (after "The King" that is..). There is a conflict going on and Trez isn't really dealing with it so iAm does what he can to help him even if what he does won't help in the long run. Also there is a love interest to Trez, I can't wait to see THIS ONE unfold!!!
Unfortunately we have a lesser as a POV - Mr. C. - The only reason we have him is because he has someone of interest - a real shocker even though it was mentioned in the previous books we kind of forgot about it i guess.. maybe I forgot about it.. anyhow it brings another layer to the story.
Last but not least - Assail and Sola. Well, Assail we met in the previous book he wants to become the next drug lord (sort of replacing Rehvenge), in a way they are quite similar and yet they are different. I really like him. He isn't a "bad guy" by definition but he ISN'T a good guy for sure! I loved seeing his interest in Sola - a (human!) woman paid to spy on him. I heard that the both of them have a role in "The King" and since there is a cliff hanger when it concerns to the both of them it's more than a "little interest". I know a lot of people didn't like Assail or their sub plot in this book but I think it's more about greediness in having more of Quinn and Blay than the characters themselves. It's like we got to know Rehv in Phury's book more than before and then when his book came it was brilliant.
Well, that's it! Now that I finished re-listening to this one I'll FINALLY delving in "The King" that would probably be in less than a week - YAY!