Author: Clare London
Publisher: DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 01/19/2016
Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)
Genre: Fantasy, Gay Fiction
Maen is a Gold Warrior, an elite defender of Aza City, respected by his fellow soldiers and favored by his imperious Mistress for services both in and out of the bedchamber. His loyalty and commitment are unwavering until he recruits Dax, a captivating and challenging Bronzeman who, despite his youth and inexperience, seduces Maen with his fierce hero worship. When they’re captured by enemies of the City, Maen risks everything to save Dax: his position, his faith, and even his life. But he loses his lover to the rebels and upon his return to the City is stripped of his rank.
In Aza, where a soldier’s only lawful devotion is to the City and his Mistress’s pleasure, the disgraced Maen is placed under the watchful guard of the arrogant Gold Warrior Zander and relegated to preparing a Royal History for the new Queen. But his discoveries cast a new and shocking light on the past and threaten to stir revolution in both citizens and rebels. With the help of the lively and inquisitive scribe Kiel, Maen initiates a chain of events that will change their world forever—and offer him the chance to regain both his honor and his heart’s desire.
1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2010.
Branded is not an easy book to get through. That being said, it is every bit worth the ride.
First of all, I want to warn you – If you are a die hard M/M and Gay Fiction reader, there is het sex described in this story. It is not explicit, more lyrical I guess would be a good way to describe it. There is also man on man action… eventually. The sex, however, plays an important role in the story — both MF and MM — due to the way the world is structured.
Aza is a matriarchal society. Women rule the roost and men are little better than sex slaves and soldiers. Great pains are taken to assure men’s submission. No, this is not a BDSM novel. It is also not slavefic.
What it is, however, is a critical look at how our society treats minorities. It is also a beautiful look at how society treats the unknown. How they let fear of that unknown invade every interaction. It is also a look at the corruptive and damaging effect power can have on an individual and eventually on society as a whole. I don’t know if the author intended this lesson or not, but it is certainly there.
Along the way, however, you get a fantastic story from which you will not be able to walk away. There is action, adventure, friendship, betrayal, loyalty, and so much more. There are fights to the death and jealous frenemies. There is a lot of soul searching and heart searching. There are the opening of eyes and opening of minds. There are servitude and the status quo. There are rebellion and hope. There are love and passion.
This is not a one sitting book. It actually took me a number of sittings to get through. I think I read about 50-100 pages a sitting. That isn’t like me, but there is just so much going on, I had to take breaks to let it all sink in. In the end, it is worth the time. It is worth the ride. Just when you think you are ready to give up, its siren call will lure you back. At least it did for me.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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