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Nor Iron Bars a Cage
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Nor Iron Bars a Cage

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  2,455 ratings  ·  319 reviews
First I was a sorcerer. Then I was a hermit. For so long—for years that seemed to go on forever—I couldn't bear to be touched. I put up not just walls but whole stone bunkers to keep everyone out, emotionally, and physically as well. I was protected from people, from ghosts, from specters real and imagined. Sure, I was alone. But I felt safe. Only, after a while, I wasn't ...more
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published October 4th 2013 (first published June 1st 2013)
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Kaje Harper You can also go to Smashwords and get the pdf to read on your computer, or get an epub at many places where ebooks are sold. Always free.
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4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,455 ratings  ·  319 reviews

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5 Stars

I’m kicking myself for not reading this one sooner!

Nor Iron Bars a Cage is a wonderfully written high fantasy M/M tale, featuring a beautiful friends-to-lovers romance between reunited childhood friends Lyon, the sorcerer’s-apprentice-turned-hermit, and Tobin, the royal-solider-turned-King’s-voice.

Lyon and Tobin’s relationship had such a smooth and heart-warming progression to it. Lyon’s mental and physical scars were plentiful (and often exhausting at times), but with the unwavering sup
Lyon was a sorcerer; started as an apprentice for Meldov. But for the past fifteen years he closed himself from the world. A tragic event with a wraith that took over his teacher's body and mind, and tortured Lyon, had forced Lyon to kill in order to survive. His right hand crippled and he suffered from nightmares. Until Tobin, one time Lyon's best friend, came to his front door, asking him to help the King.


Honestly, I don't know how Kaje Harper did it. The fact that she wrot
Julio Genao
Harper is so damned good at those action scenes.

I found the occasional anachronism frustrating, and one or two nits to pick in the plot, but for god's sake—100k words in a month and a half?

First class romance, high quality light fantasy and top-notch writing.
I know, right? There's got to be a catch. Well, the worst thing I can say about this book is that it took a while for it to hit its stride, which is why it took me a week to read it.
As soon as it did, though, I was hooked. It's an intriguing, suspenseful and masterfully told story. The world that the author created is atmospheric and wholly satisfying, despite having as a basis the classic fantasy realm of kings, foreign tribe
Lisa Henry
Love this one to bits. The world building is fantastic: rich, and dark, and wonderful. Lyon was a wonderful character -- crippled by his own past, and tormented by his memories of dark magic. And Tobin was a perfect hero: honourable, steadfast, and loving.

And Just wow. I think his emotional journey was even more satisfying than Lyon's. Just so full of sadness, and regret, and just beautifully realised.
...and now for something completely different. A different read for me as this was my first foray into fantasy and a different kind of story for Kaje Harper compared to her previous works to date.

I was a little sceptical about this story first as I haven't tried fantasy in the M/M genre to date. I LOVED it. Kaje's writing soon drew me into her fantasy world and didn't let me go for the whole visit to this faraway place with sorcerers, kings, ghosts, mages and magic.

Lyon is a recluse, possessed b
5 Stars

Every single thing about this book was perfect. Every. Thing. It's one of those books that I'll probably read again and never really mark it as such here at GR. But only because I'll likely use it as a balm to my soul, to make me feel better about how even the most fearful, scarred and damaged among us can be loved, can overcome even the worst of circumstances...and I wouldn't want to draw attention to how often I'll need that.

The quality of work that comes out of those DRitC events will
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars – Really enjoyable fantasy novel with very likeable and appealing characters. (And has the extra fantastic bonus of being free to download.)

I’m a fan of Harper’s mysteries and shifter books. I find her style excessively readable, and I always dig her characters and their relationships. This is her first “high fantasy” work, and I found it just as readable and enjoyable as her more “modern” world works.

The story focuses on Lyon, a sorcerer “in hiding,” from his past and from the world,
Oct 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Up until I started reading the, oh so addictive, M/M genre, fantasy was my bag. So imagine my delight when I found a book by one of my favourite authors that combines the two.

Nor Iron Bars a Cage by Kaje Harper was a delight to read. Lyon and Tobin were fantastic characters. Written in the first person from Lyon's POV we see how he struggles with events from his past and how, with Tobin's help, he is able to conquer his fears.

I loved the fantasy element details, they really kept the story moving
Kaje Harper
Jun 01, 2013 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
Available to read online on the Goodreads M/M group today (June first) and now, thanks to Jen taking pity on peoples' eyesight, also available for download. The download link is in the first post of the thread, after the picture and letter request, and also now in the url for the book listing here on GR. That link works even if you're not a group member.
3.5 stars

This was especially hard for me to rate - and to review, I might add. I adored Lyon and Tobin. They were wonderful together, so sweet and loving. While I loved them, I was just so bored through parts of this book.

Lyon , who is a hermit, barely speaks to anyone and can’t bear to be touched, is contacted by the King to do some translating for him. The man sent to find Lyon is his childhood friend, Tobin. Tobin, not knowing that Lyon was even alive still, was ecstatic to see his old friend
Eric Westfall
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I'm going to have to sacrifice my principles for Kaje Harper.


You see, I try to get the most "bang for the buck" when buying books and I think far too many ebooks are overpriced. Way overpriced. I figure that an average "mainstream" paperback, selling for $7.99, is about 300 pages. I have some quick math, based on the ebook price and page numbers (or word count) that tells me if my $3.99 ebook is the equivalent of a 350 page paperback at $7.99, or the equivalent of a $25 paperback.
Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌
Truly, utterly and deeply romantic; the best thing about this book would have to be their relationship. Such genuine and delightfully real and endearing characters with a romance that charmed me right down to My toes. Tobin was absolutely amazing with his unending devotion, patience and love. One of the most memorable and amazing characters though would have to be Xan. It takes immense courage to overcome your own hatred and prejudices, and to go further than even that is simply amazing.

Other t
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freebies, romance-pn
Strong fantasy adventure read with magic, mayhem, and true love.

When you get the second chance you never thought was possible--you hold on tight. Tobin and Lyon's friendship is beautiful; finding someone who can be strong for you when you need it, being able to relax. Love their journey and there are some great secondary characters--Xan, he stole my heart.

Favorite quote:
"He was my safety and my wall, the mirror in whose eyes I somehow looked brave and desirable."
God, this fits into almost all the shelves. There are so many elements to the long-short-story. This involved and intricate world-building fits perfectly with Harper's attention-to-detail style.

The care that has been taken with developing Lyon's backstory reaps rewards for readers when we see him work through his psychological issues with Tobin.

I love how Tobin never gives up on his lion-boy. So patient, so steady, so integral to Lyon's recovery.

The quest aspect was a lovely parallel to the roma
4.5 stars.

I would love to know more about pretty much everyone in this book (other than Lyon and Xen). More about Tobin and the king. More about that annoying captain, who drove Lyon crazy in the second part of the story. There is So. Much! Loved it :)
♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣
Kaje, Kaje, Kaje, how I feel as though you rule me with these words. Simply fantabulous.
Ahem, now then…

Lyon and Tobin – wait, I really can’t start there because it’s definitely Lyon that grabs you by the shabby shirt collar and just doesn’t let go, which makes sense because he’s finding it very difficult to do that himself. Of course, this makes sense considering what’s happened and what still has a firm hold on him and his days and his dreams. Being surrounded makes it difficult for anyone to
Ulysses Dietz
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a Kaje Harper fan, and having read Kim Fielding's excellent "Brute" recently, this sounded like a good fit for my other-worldly-fantasy mood these days.

I was not disappointed.

Amazingly, this long novel (over 100,000 words) was part of a challenge competition (?) for writers, and was downloadable for free - a series of books and stories that are part of a "Love Has No Boundaries" effort to inspire authors based on an image and a letter prompting them to begin.

This is another of those books
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I confess I have a certain weakness for tales about fellows who have gone through some traumatic experience in their past, and have withdrawn from the world as a result---only to be brought back to life, so to speak, by the love of a special man.

This story fits the trope perfectly; you can’t help but feel for Lyon when you hear what he went through as a young apprentice mage. Things went horribly wrong for him when he was 18, and he spent the following 15 years in seclusion, just trying to deal
First of all, that was exactly what I needed: magic, sorcery, good and evil. And boys, beautiful boys.

Second, this story was born into the fantastic happening that is Love Has No Boundaries within the m/m romance group here on Goodreads, and for an author to write an epic story like this one (100k words!) in some six weeks? Ridiculously gifted author. Really!

I adored the storyline, the world, the characters, especially Tobin. I adore a steady presence. I read it nice and slow, and really tried t
This normally would have been somewhere between 3.75 and 4*, because I don't usually like fantasy that much and am terribly picky.

However, I enjoyed the ride Kaje gives me with this book, and I am simply blown away by her writing a 100k novel in such a short time and still putting out a quality story simultaneously! Kudos!

Recommended reading for everyone needing a longish out-time in m/m-landia!
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was absolutely brilliant. I loved all the characters. More than that I love the story so creative and so unique. I should have read this sooner, I would recommend this book for everyone. It's more than just a love story.
Such an unusual direction for one of my favorite authors. I had the privilege of reading it before she published and was blown away by it. I would love to read more like this. Kaje I love you!
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Oh I hope Kaje never reads this review. She's a wonderful writer, and an incredible reviewer...she writes some of the most insightful book reviews I've ever read.

This story was *way* too long; a good editor could and should have stripped it down at least 75 pages. I put it down many times and struggled to finish it. It took me nine days! Perhaps in part because I wasn't particularly fond of Lyon. I also didn't care for never-ending final sex scene (major skimming) and neat-as-a-pin finish. This
Jun 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, magic, fantasy, free
3.5 stars

This is the first non-contemporary I’ve read from Harper and I was very happy with it. She created a vivid world filled with magic and darkness. There was just enough of the magic/history/politics to get a good feel of the world, however it could have used more background/details on the sorcery and mages. There were a couple of parts that dragged, but for the most part I enjoyed the story.

First and foremost this is a story about Lyon, breaking through his stone walls (both physically a
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good story. So good actually, that I think she should write mainstream fantasy, though this story had a bit too much erotica to be mainstream. Maybe an author capable of something like the Nightrunner series?
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm so sorry I forgot to leave a review for this book and now it's months later and I can only recall that I really, really liked it. Great magicks and a lovely romance? It's free and you should read it?

Sorry, I suck.

Offered for FREE from the M/M Romance Group's Love Has No Boundaries event. Thank you too all the amazing authors who participated!

4.5 stars I was pleasantly surprised when reading this to find that it's a full length story, despite most of Don't Read In The Closet being comprised of shorts (although often good ones). The story was complex. The plot arc creative and intense. The characters real, genuine, and just fucking great! When I got to the end and saw the authors page and realized this was
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How can I explain?

I'm not a huge fantasy-fan. And then I read that Kaje Harper's LHNB-story would be fantasy. I was kind of reluctantly sure that I would like it but I wasn't sure that I would love it.

Baaam - hit in the heart, I love it. It is just adorable with wonderful MCs and the right amount of fantasy that was good for me.

Lyon is a deeply hurt man, he has a past of abuse (mental and physical rape). He has sworn off soccery and leads a quiet and reclusive life, balancing on the edge.

Tobin h
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2019 Re-Read

I think I re-read this one every year. It's a comfort read for me. It just hits all the right buttons and checks all the right boxes. It's a little long in some places, but then, some of my favorite fantasy stories are a thousand pages or more, so this is just a tidbit in comparison. And this one was free. It really makes me miss the DRitC event. We really got some great stories out of it.

2018 Re-Read:

Goodreads says this is the third time I've read this book, but I'm sure it's more t
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The Backlot Gay B...: Nor Iron Bars a Cage by Kaje Harper 8 60 Jul 07, 2013 07:30PM  

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I get asked about my name a lot. It's not something exotic, though. “Kaje” is pronounced just like “cage” – it’s an old nickname, and my pronouns are she/her/hers.

I was born in Montreal but have lived for 30 years in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, where the mosquito is the state bird, and where winter can be breathtakingly beautiful. Minnesota’s a kind, quiet (i
“Each moment of love in the world lifts us all up. Any kind of love.” 3 likes
“I looked up at the shelf that held my books. I had dozens now. Faithful friends who took me on journeys without judgement and without pity.” 2 likes
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