Author: Xenia Melzer
Publisher: DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 06/21/2016
Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)
All is fair in love and war. Renaldo has lived happily by that proverb his entire life. But he has finally met his match, and he’s about to discover how unfair love and war can be.
When demigod and warlord Lord Renaldo takes a beautiful stranger captive during an ambush, he is delighted to have found a distraction that will keep him entertained during the upcoming siege. Little does he know, Casto is keeping more than just one secret from him. Slowly, Renaldo gets sucked into a turbulent roller-coaster relationship with his mysterious prisoner, one that begins with hatred and soon spirals into a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. And when it seems that things can get no worse, an old enemy stirs right in the heart of his home.
Determined to keep Casto by his side, Renaldo has to find a balance between the capricious young man and his own destiny as a ruler and god to his people.
I would first like to start off by warning you that this is not a complete story. This is definitely part one of a much longer tale and that is my only negative about this book. It was very long and did not end in a natural place. It was just over and very much to be continued. Now on to all the things I enjoyed about what promises to be an epic series.
Casto was a very great start to this series. The world was rich and everything I could have oped for in a historical fantasy. The characters were vivid and possessed depths that the reader can only begin to understand. The author spent a lot of time describing the lands and battles and setting up the men and women of the Pack and the hierarchy of the goddesses and demigods. Even though this book was very long, I never felt bored and was always eager to learn more about the Valley and it inhabitants.
I loved the way the story began with the folklore of the time. The author established how her world was made and the rules that it followed. I easily understood who was good and who was evil and knew that the story itself was going to be about more than just the demigods finding their missing hearts, but would be a battle for control of the world itself.
I loved that the characters and the Pack were so full of vitality and power. These people were brutal and yet oddly caring and their morality was steadfast no matter what. It was so weird yet fascinating to learn how the Pack behaved because it was so at odds with itself. These people showed no mercy, yet they showed more leniency and love than the non-barbarians outside the valley. For all their brutality, they were fiercely protective and intelligent. I loved them all!
Finally, Renaldo and Casto were amazing characters and their romance, while only one minor point of the story, was so intense it stole the show. I loved knowing more than the two men. I loved knowing their histories and their futures while the men did not. It was kind of fun to watch them struggle and fight and hate and love and question and everything else, when I already know their outcome.
But while I know their ending, I do not know how it will come about and I still do not know all of their personalities and all of their history. There is evil afoot that I need to know more about and there are so many questions I have about Renaldo, Casto, and all the other Emeris. I need more and I cannot wait for Book 2 to be released. I need to find out what will happen next and I need Casto and Renaldo to finally see what everyone else can see.
Xenia Melzer is a new to me author, but I loved reading Casto and I will be keeping this author on my watch list for future works. She shows great imagination and talent and I look forward to more form her in this series and others.
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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