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In Darkness Burning

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Dear Author,
[Photo 1]
What is my story?
[Photo 2]
“You cry, not because you’re weak. It’s because you’ve been strong for too long.”

Photo Description:
Photo 1: A young man, with striking light eyes, is dressed in ceremonial garb. Is he a magic user? He has seen something terrible. There is a heaviness to his gaze.
Photo 2: A second picture below of a man without any armor or garb on shows someone crying. Tragedy. Loss. Despair. Wistfulness.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group's "Love is an Open Road" event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

This story may contain sexually explicit content and is intended for adult readers. It may contain content that is disagreeable or distressing to some readers. The M/M Romance Group strongly recommends that each reader review the General Information section before each story for story tags as well as for content warnings.

294 pages, ebook

First published November 1, 2015

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About the author

Bailey Queen

9 books14 followers

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5 stars
19 (42%)
4 stars
15 (33%)
3 stars
5 (11%)
2 stars
5 (11%)
1 star
1 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews
Profile Image for Juxian.
438 reviews39 followers
June 4, 2017
I read the first 20% moderately enjoying it. It wasn't great but many fantasy books start slowly, so I was ready to be patient. Then, when it was supposed to get better, instead it started falling apart. Or maybe I just stopped feeling charitable. I couldn't feel any inner logic in what the characters did. It just seemed they were doing things because the author had a plan for them; and they were doing annoyingly stupid things because, oh well, it wasn't the best thought-out plan. Quite a predictable one, too. I actually cringed at the big "reveal" and everything that followed.
All right, it wasn't a bad book. It just... it failed to give me any pleasure while I was reading it. I liked that it was fantasy with m/m element, not the other way round, and I liked . Everything else - not really :(
Profile Image for Alexis Woods.
Author 40 books81 followers
December 5, 2015
Wow. This story was amazing, simply breathtaking. I was practically glued to my ereader, loathe to put it down, anxious to continue the tale of Emen and Tarl and Vedek. The worldbuilding was fantastic, a superb combination of fantasy and magic and paranormal. Plus what an amazing storyline! Thank you so much for your contribution to this year's event.
Profile Image for Antisocial Recluse.
2,712 reviews
March 14, 2016
Wow, I'm blown away! I haven't read fantasy in years and years. I've been reading all M/M for more than a year. And I read Bailey Queen's other M/M books and loved them. So when she told me this was coming out, I had to read it. I am so very glad I did. This was true Epic Fantasy with a M/M twist. There was a romance but it was a thread of the story, not the main focus. It was completely necessary to the plot, though. Only one love scene, very well written, late in the book and also important to the story. This sucked me right in. The author has great skill in world and character building. Right from the start, you have to keep reading, to find out what role the characters will take on. There are some wonderful, strong female characters and more well-integrated secondary characters. There are swords and magic, demons and mages, villains and heroes.

A conquering King has declared the supremacy of the True Gods and committed genocide against any and all mages. The Mages wielded power to protect against evil and demons, as well as providing healing. This King has sealed their power away, which is also supposed to prevent the evil from escaping as well. There are still traces of power left, though, as well as those who would yield to the evil to obtain revenge. Emen is a former Paladin in training, now a ranger/warrior who has had a long friendship with Vedek, a Knight charged with protecting the people of the City. Tarl is a rogue healer and Mage/cleric, hidden since the downfall and helping those living in the outlying wilder areas. Shane was a Paladin of the Mages, now a Templar, who leads the Inquisitions that try to prevent the return of any magic. Strange and deadly attacks begin to occur in the kingdom. Alliances are made and broken, and these characters work for and against each other in determining the source and nature of the evil being unleashed.

I'm not sure I explained that well and tried very hard to not give any spoilers. I know when I started reading, I wanted more of an idea about what the story encompassed. My apologies to Bailey Queen if I wrote that poorly. There's a reason I'm a reader, not a writer! I hope that there will be a sequel to this. It simply screams for one. It's not a cliffhanger and there is a HFN.
Profile Image for Kira.
320 reviews17 followers
Shelved as 'on-hold-for-a-rainy-day'
November 30, 2015
Putting it on hold for now. It was great as a fantasy, maybe the best fantasy of the whole event for this year. And I loved it, even if it's hard to read about so many injustices that befallen the characters at once.
But then, around the 20% mark two of the main characters finally meet, and suddenly it's the worst case of head hopping I've seen in a while. One paragraph would be from one guy's POV, the next two - from the other's and so on. They never introduce themselves but somehow are already calling each other by name in their minds... What a mess.
Can't deal with it now, so - on hold you go, story.
Profile Image for Kevin.
2,230 reviews34 followers
December 4, 2015
I read then skimmed to 25% but simply could not get into the story.
Profile Image for DC.
835 reviews2 followers
January 19, 2020
Eh! I liked it, but not to any great degree. I found this to be a bit too drawn out and rather dark. The romance between Emen and Vedek, while central to the story, was so slow and low heat, it was barely there. And the big villain? Not really a surprise, although the demon’s identity was an interesting twist. The ending, however; hated it. The whole palace scene was making my head hurt. It was going on and on and on and the points-of-view kept jumping around. The epilogue left me feeling empty and let down. I found nothing satisfying about it. And the whole Tarl thing was bit too much on an already crowded convoluted ending.
Reading this brought something to mind and had me wondering: It seems the majority of fantasy stories involving magi as central figures all take place in a King Arthur/Merlin feudal society. Why is that? This story fit solidly into that same mold and I really didn’t find anything original about it.
Profile Image for Cleo.
114 reviews
December 2, 2017
The cover drew my eye and the fantastic story did not disappoint. I loved the fantasy world building and the the slow anticipated build up to the end. I can't wait to check out more of this author's work.
Profile Image for Aleixie.
405 reviews37 followers
April 23, 2016

I've been mislead. And so I'm not happy about it. Like, what the fuck is up with Tarl? What kind of ending was that? He's my fave character and he stopped developing somewhere halfway through the book when Valak and Emen's dull romance plot took over.

The book was repetitive. If not in the romantic aspect (their love proclamations got really annoying after the sixth time of the same thing), then for the plot.

And let me tell you, Shane? Yea, saw that from a fucking mile off. And by that I mean from the first page. By the time I got to the "reveal", I was so annoyed by the loops the author had me reading in, and it just added to my dislike of this book.

What it needs is a shortening of word count, and a clean up of the love confessions.
Profile Image for Sandra.
4,073 reviews13 followers
Want to read
January 9, 2016

Offered for FREE from the M/M Romance Group's Love Is An Open Road event. Thank you too all the amazing authors who participated!

Profile Image for Shaun.
14 reviews2 followers
February 25, 2016
Loved it! A great mix of magic, fantasy, romance, and adventure, with a unique take on medieval criminal investigation techniques. Can't wait to see what happens in the next book! Please let there be a next book!
Profile Image for Jen.
1,178 reviews6 followers
November 27, 2015
Wow, for a free read, this was very complex and long. I'm glad that I picked it up because I wouldn't normally grab a "Dear Author" story. This one has made me re-think that. I'm off to find more titles by this author.
Profile Image for Jenn (not Lily).
3,972 reviews20 followers
August 19, 2016
Good story, but be prepared for a LONG read! Much more of a fantasy adventure than a romance, with excellent world building here.
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews

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