Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Not Listed
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 05/24/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Paranormal
Windbrothers: Book One
Banished from his homeland, Surial is sent to Azize to run the family business. When he wins a slave, Kade, in a dog race, Surial is unsure what to do with him, as he doesn’t believe in slavery. Kade’s way with horses leads to him being relegated to the stables, where Surial becomes drawn to the big, quiet man.
A proud warrior at heart, Kade has been a slave for too long, and when he is passed to yet another owner, he goes without a fight, no hope left in him. When he discovers Surial’s secret, a fragile friendship blossoms between the unlikely master and the unwilling slave as Kade shows Surial that what lies within him is not a curse but a gift.
In a world of magic, Surial and Kade face their fears and hopes amid dangers that threaten both of them as their friendship is put to the test. What lies at the end of their trials is something more precious than either of them has ever dreamed of.
1st Edition published as Windbrothers by Torquere Press, 2007.
When Kade comes to Surial as his slave, broken and hopeless, he is ready to give up on life and to be free, finally, within the bliss of death. An interesting bond is forged with his new owner, however, and as the relationship between these two blossoms and their story and backstories unfold, the reader is treated to a lovely tale of magic, rich tradition, and loyalty that knows no bounds.
Fantasy is not one of my normal sub-genres, and it’s stories such as this that make me wonder why. Reading Windbrothers Desert was an undeniable treat. Sean Michael has created a world that is full of beauty, steeped in tradition and folklore, and rich in hard-earned relationships founded upon loyalty and honor. The imagery and details woven into its tapestry are gorgeous yet never overdone. The reader is immersed in Surial and Kade’s world, their surroundings peppered with their own individual customs and beliefs. Sean Michael is skilled at bringing the reader into the fantastical cultures of the Naike, of Sandidians, and the feelings of displacement Kade and Surial feel within the confines and restrictions of their current home, Azize. The sights, smells, and sounds—both pleasant and not–of their daily lives are vividly portrayed and bring the reader even further into the characters’ world.
Characters are given ample time to wend their way into the reader’s heart, their development carefully drawn and revealed in perfect timing as the story progresses. Even the secondary characters are clearly defined and given the opportunity to establish themselves within the story. Many are likable, and many are not; however, their position within the plot and their relationship to the main characters and each other are satisfying in their purpose and place within the course of events.
Kade and Surial are simply beautiful, both together and apart. There is a platonic friendship here that begins as master/slave, though it needs to be clarified that there is nothing physical, and, though there is violence, abuse is neither exploited nor condoned. There is a strong element of respect that permeates the relationship, which, in my opinion, makes it so unique and appealing. Respect for individuals, their cultures, and their honor are paramount, and it becomes clear early on that these men are drawn to one another on this basis, and not a sexual one.
This is a paranormal fantasy. It is not a m/m romance, though Surial is a gay man living in a traditional culture. Mystical, magical, and full of adventure, it ends on a cliffhanger and begs to be continued. In this particular book, which is the first in a series, there is much left unfinished, many questions and conflicts left unresolved. Hopefully the second book will also be released as a second edition from DSP. I would welcome the opportunity to read it and see where the winds take Surial and Kade.
I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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