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It is the twilight of mankind. Depleted by generations of war with a dark race, the human kingdoms and their ancient alliance stand on the brink of extinction. The outlands are soaked with the blood of the fallen. The midlands are rotting with decadence and despair.

Elfkind, estranged by past crimes, watches and waits for nature to run its course.

And then the two collide.

Ayden's life has long been guided by two emotions: love for his sister, and hatred of all things human. When he's captured in battle, he must for his sister's sake swallow his pride and endure slavery in the service of a human prince, Freyrik Farr.

Freyrik's always known elves to be beautiful and dangerous, but never has one affected him as deeply as Ayden. Can his life of service to his people leave room for this attraction? Dancing on a dagger's edge between duty and high treason, Freyrik discovers that some choices can change a life, and some an entire world.

Between prejudice, politics, pride, and survival, Ayden and Freyrik must carve a new path, no matter how daunting. For nothing less than the fate of both their peoples rests on the power of their perseverance and their love.

Note: This edition is a re-release of the same novel first published in 2010 by Guiltless Pleasure Publishing.

This title is #1 of the Song of the Fallen series.

"Warning, this title contains the following sensitive themes: explicit violence"

414 pages, ebook

First published July 31, 2010

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About the author

Rachel Haimowitz

43 books679 followers
M/M erotic romance author, freelance writer and editor, sadist with a pesky conscience, shamelessly silly, proudly pervish. I'm a twitter addict (@rachelhaimowitz), and I blog every M/W/F at Fantasy Unbound. To learn all about my current and upcoming projects, please stop by my website. I love to hear from folks, so feel free to drop me a line anytime at metarachel (at) gmail (dot) com.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 393 reviews
Profile Image for Elise ✘ a.k.a Ryder's Pet ✘.
1,314 reviews2,780 followers
March 20, 2019
⋰⋱⋰⋱⋰⋱*Might Contain Spoilers*⋰⋱⋰⋱⋰⋱

The book centers around human Crown Prince of Farr, Freyrík ‘Rík’ Farr (29) and elfkind, Ayden Vaska (800). When Ayden gets captured in battle, he becomes Freyrik's slave. But for his sister's sake, Ayden must endure his slavery and hide his hatred for the humans. Freyrík plans to use Ayden in the Surge, what he did not plan however, was to actually start to care for the elf. Overall, the book wasn't bad per se, though the ending scenes () kinda took a whole star down for me. I did not find it necessary. I've had this book up for months now, planning to read it, but never really getting myself to actually reading. Until I forced myself to just do it.
Another moment of silence, and Ayden sat up straight and defiant. “I grow weary of you, human. Ask your questions, do with me what you so clearly wish to do, but gods be cracked, hurry up. Even I grow old waiting for you to come to the point.”
Freyrík huffed, amused despite himself. “Very well. As you’re so eager to oblige, you may start by telling me who you are.”
Ayden blinked. And blinked again. Squared his shoulders and said, “I am Ayden barn Vaska barn Alarra barn Oneisi barn Hilmir barn Tívar the Blessed.”
Freyrík gave him a mock bow. “Your recital does honor to your forefathers.”
“Foremothers, you tone-deaf imbecile.”
Mothers? Truly? Or was the elf merely taunting him?
“Well, human? We are introduced. Are you satisfied?”

And I don't regret it, I don't, but I felt like it could've been better. It bothered me that no elf-kind tried to help Ayden and his sister. It bothered me that elves were so easily taken (many were slaves, though we did not meet any others). It bothered me that as a prince who ruled while his brother was away, had so little power. It bothered me that he lost the respect of the men so easily. I bothered me that nothing help changing the view of elves. I had expected more friendships, more people willing to actually try, more development.... I felt like the book was shallow. For example, Freyrík has tons of children, yet we did not get to know them, nor did Ayden. I don't actually want to read the next book, but since this one left in a cliffhanger, I kinda have to. Luckily, it's only one more book, then the series is done.

Other Characters:
Afi Kengr, an old elfen scout.
Daell ‘Ella’, Ayden's little sister.
Chaya, Ella's human friend.
Berendil, Freyrík's brother and King of Farr.
→ Lord Commander Hákon.
→ Lord Lini, Freyrík's secretary.
→ Lady Kona, First Wife of Berendil.
→ Lord General Vísi.
→ Lord General Feitr, one of Freyrík's father's younger brothers, third in command of the Farr forces behind Berendil and himself. He oversees campaigns in their absence.
→ Corporal Ekkja.
Spyrna, Freyrík's warhorse.
→ Lady Drífa and Lady Ádísa, two of Freyrík's consorts?
“You have children?” Ayden asked, almost outraged, as if Freyrík had suggested he’d birthed them himself.
“Six, actually. All boys.”
“And you are how old?”
“Gods,” Ayden spat, jumping out of bed as if he feared Freyrík might somehow infect him with his fertility. “You humans breed like field mice!”
“’Tis a duty to our people,” Freyrík said, fighting mightily to keep his temper in check. “We must replace those who die. To speak true, I have fewer children than most noblemen of my years.” When Ayden said nothing further, he asked, “And you? Do you have children?”
“No,” Ayden said, and Freyrík was shocked at the depth of his own relief; he’d have hated to think he was keeping a father from his family.

Quick basic facts:
Genre: - (Adult) Fantasy Romance (M/M).
Series: - Series, Book One.
Love triangle? -
Cheating? -
HEA? -
Favorite character? - Both, I guess.
Would I read more by this author/or of series? - Uncertain.
Would I recommend this book/series? -Uncertain.
Will I read this again in the future? - No.
Rating - 2.5 stars.
January 5, 2019
Audio - 4 stars
Story - 4 stars

Not as dark as I thought an enemies to lovers, captive/enslaved story would be. Ayden is an elf. He and his sister are captured by humans and taken to Prince Freyrik. As far as captors go, Freyrik is very accommodating. Ayden is resentful and insolent. I loved him. He had me laughing up a storm. It takes a long while, but Freyrik eventually wins him over. Even so, their love is forbidden, and they can't consider a life long relationship.

Enjoyable story. There's good action, some violence and some steam. I'm baffled as to why this has been shelved under bdsm ????
Profile Image for MsMiz (Tina).
881 reviews110 followers
April 4, 2011
Lent to me - Kindle

Dearest Rachel - Hmmm lets see - it is late right now. I could not put the book down. I had to know how the story unfolded as I was unable to plot its course while reading. Therefore, I may not make complete coherent sense. So let me try:

1. I was deep into the story and the characters. I hated them, I loved them, I wanted to scratch their eyes out, I wanted to hold them. I am a character driven reader. I need to know and feel who they are or the story is just a story and to me this book was more than a story.

2. I hate you. Sorry I do. There is no joy in cliffs. Oh you may think there is, but no, there is not. You have a secret and you get to taunt us with it over great periods of time. Let me just tell you, the sequel better come out soon and be as tight as Counterpoint. Well, okay like I said it is late and I am being a bit dramatic. But really, put me out of my misery.

3. I want the ferals to come and scratch some human's eyes out. Start with Kona that bitch and work you way down to the petitioners. Oh I get her, I understand her, but she is still a bitch!

4. I would like an all powerful elf to come in behind the ferals after they have killed all the idiots, and breath some intelligence into the humans that are left. Personally I do not think that is much to ask for.

5. Can I keep Ayden? I do not think I am his type, but I would like to try.

To close this rather strange review, Rachel, Thank you for the great reading.

Recommendation - if you like a good fantasy story (with some yummy human/elf love - even though it did not happen until 66% of the book), read this book. Yes you, read this book!

Profile Image for Yvonne.
716 reviews38 followers
September 26, 2011
I have mixed feelings about this book. it takes place in a world where humans are at odds with elfkind (& every other species it seems). Ayden and his sister are captured by humans and Ayden is then made into a slave for Prince Freyrik Farr, who is running the kingdom in his brother's absence.

The good in the book is the character of Ayden. He's defiant, funny, snarky & gives the book most of its energy. Freyrik is immediately attracted to him and keeps him as his slave. The two of them have some nice interchanges and challenge each other to think throughout the book. The tone is lighthearted at times between them and even though the romance doesn't quite work for me because the power rests too much on one side, both characters show some growth in the story.

On the other hand, Freyrik has 3 wives and several children. He acts more the part of benevolent slave owner than potential lover. He does his best to make sure that Ayden is somewhat comfortable, but only when they're alone together. When they venture out, he always has to compromise in favor of Ayden being hurt or humiliated in some way. He is powerful & powerless at the same time, as apparently he has to do what his people wants no matter how brainless the requests are. This combination of powerless slave Ayden & powerless ruler Freyrik just made for frustrating reading. If the best you can say about a love interest is at least he didn't rape you, then it's hard to be a captivating love story.

I started to have more trouble with the book really at the point where the relationship between Ayden & Freyrik is consummated. Ayden's character does an about face from outright hostility to lovey dovey that just didn't fit the character.

Then we have the battle of the Surge which highlighted the real underlying issue I had, which is the very negative view of humans in this book. Other than Freyrik, there's no good humans in this book. They're evil, distrustful, bigoted, ignorant, rapists, and every other bad thing you can think of. There's no other exception in this book-no man, no woman, no child who tries to be better, to learn, to accept, to grow. This whole concept becomes overwhelmingly depressing and completely started to overshadow any interest I had in Freyrik and Ayden as a couple.

Other characters in the book are not fleshed out. We get a scene with Ayden's sister where she twitters and twirls and asks him to be nice to the lady(the one who gets him continuously beaten up). She comes across as a real simpleton and not worthy of all the sacrifices Ayden does for her. In fact women are not acquitted well in this story at all. This is a real beef of mine; the way women are portrayed in these negative ways in m/m books.

There are some love scenes between Ayden and Freyrik in the later parts of the book, but the atmosphere becomes so ominous and things look so forbidding for Ayden that I found it hard to concentrate on those scenes.

I felt the book really reached a natural end at the end of the battle. This way we could look towards the next book to see how Freyrik and Ayden would work out a relationship under the constraints of rulership, what would happen to Ayden's sister, Freyrik's brother the king etc. Instead the book goes on for about another 100 pages that I found a struggle to get through. Because they return to the castle and everything is exactly the same as the beginning of the book. Nothing like reading 400 pages to get back to exactly where you started. After that, it ends on a really unnecessary cliffhanger that doesn't promise any good things to come for Ayden.

While I'm interested to see how things turn out for Freyrik & Ayden (I did spend many pages with these two characters) I'm unsure about the sequel as of right now.

Profile Image for Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		.
628 reviews63 followers
April 17, 2013
The first kiss--

Bloody fucking swoon


Review edited 16/4/2013

I know that this review is going to be a huge jump from my previous review and rating (which started off from a perfect 5 till I weaned it down to 4, now 3.5).

I think that previously, I was a worried (and perhaps a bit scared) about having a different review amongst what seemed to be the raving masses. Nowadays however, it bugs me every time I see this review. So now I've just decided to adopt a 'fuck this' attitude and write whatever I want because conforming to the masses is so utterly pointless and it's unfair to the author and would be readers.

I found this a rather trying read. It had the most beautiful world building I'd seen in ages. The world was intricate and so damn alive. It felt so real and gritty that I was immediately captivated by it.

The characters on the other hand didn't capture me so much. I don't even remember their personalities, any outstanding qualities and whatnot. They were both understandably in complicated positions but seriously, give a girl something to work with please.

But the thing is, that's all well and good but there was something else that bugged the living daylights out of me. It remained nameless up until recently, and only became unearthed because of a lovely friend of mine, Mercy.

This 'thing' that bugged me most was the lack of passion in this book. Going into this book with this preconception of a brilliant, fiery, starcrossed love is something I, and I'm sure many others, did. However, that wasn't delivered. Yet it was only 6 months later, with the unwitting prompting of a friend, that I could name this niggling problem I had with this book. In some ways and in some corner of my mind, I can appreciate the more realistic approach I suppose. The tone shows the impossibility of this situation and the passion would have to stem from the glorification of the situation. But to glorify it would be speeding up a process of shedding various beliefs and age-old hatred. So yes, appreciation, but liking it? Perhaps not so much.

I'm sure that many readers will disagree with me. But even so, amongst a sea of their fan-girl love, I think I'd prefer to hold my opinion. This book was in some ways brilliant, make no mistake about that, but perhaps not as explosive as I like my brilliant.

Oh and I don't remember the first kiss (which is sufficiently awkward since that's all my first review said).
Profile Image for Bookwatcher .
746 reviews120 followers
March 28, 2011
The begin of the book is soooooooo great and I adore this first part, when you will be introduced to the elf Adyden.

With his uncontrollable hair and wild spirit Ayden is perfect. I love this character, and was astonished by his bravery. Trying to save his sister from humans he will be captured, finishing in the hands of the king's brother, the Prince Freyrik.

Freyrik is desperate fighting against ferals, and will see in Ayden the weapon against those magical perverted animals. Indeed the elf is the only one capable to tell more about those creatures, but there is more...

Freyrik want more... not only the great and wild fighter, but also the handsome and possible best lover he could desire.

So, why 5 stars?
I love the hard relationship development...
I adore the fantastic world...
And I can't wait to read more!

I will not spoil, but finally after to many pages eating my nails everything was ALMOST in a perfect point... BUT something unexpected happened, and I'm dying to know what will happen now!

5 stars, and I MUST read more... one book was not enough.
Profile Image for Ezi Chinny.
2,518 reviews414 followers
October 22, 2016
3.5 stars

I enjoyed this audio. Ayden and Freyrik had a lot of tension, but Freyik eventually wore Ayden down.

Ayden and his sister are elves who were captured by humans (all the humans in the book were terrible!) and Ayden was so worried that his sister would be raped that he consented to be a sex partner for the prince.
Prince Freyrick was ruling the country in his brother's absence but he was a much kinder ruler.

Ayden was so distrustful of humans, but prince Frey eventually earned his trust. However, this relationship had a slave master and slave power dynamic even though Frey never treated Ayden badly unless they were in public. So It was a little hard to believe that the proud Ayden fought beside Frey during the surge.
I did like them together though.
Profile Image for Darien.
842 reviews327 followers
November 17, 2011

Counterpoint is one of those epic love stories, that completely engages the reader and makes you fall in love. I was completely caught up in the characters, and the world created. I will say honestly that I wanted to read this book, because the cover is just so impressive. It drew my eye, and it turned out that this book is more than just a pretty cover (pffft, pretty cover, more like a sexy cover).

This book as I said before is epic, epic fantasy that is. Its pure fiction, from the war with the ferals; to its hatred between men and elves. It can also be described as historical, without actually being historic. From the horses, lands armour and fighting soldiers. It offers up all the things I like in my historical romance, but with a great twist, and an elf that just makes me happy. It is a book for all my fantasy lovers, and those looking for a book with romance, that was a progression and did not happen in like 20 pages into the book.

Ayden is an eight-hundred year old elf. Watching a war play out between humans, and feral beasts. Feral beasts are animals that have been taken over by some form of darkness, and changed them into beasts. Their intent is to destroy, and their targets are humans. Ayden feels no love for the humans, he thinks them beasts also, arrogant, and stupid, and they share the land has enemies. The elves on their side, and the humans in their own little world. Until his sister enters human territory, and he has no choice but to go in and save her, when humans soldier are hot on her trail. He fights to protect his sister, but loses the battle and is captured, him and his sister both.

Acting King, Freyric is up to his ears in politics and war, he is prince but his brother crowned king is away due to the war with the ferals. That leaves Freyric to the responsibilities of life at court. When word gets to him about the capture of elves, one of the elves slaying sixteen of his men, his job is to lay out punishment. That becomes hard when his eyes land on the beautiful and battered Ayden. The stirrings of lust rushes forth, but Freyric is feeling something else, and makes Ayden his personal slave. This leads to a passionate story about a man fighting to save his people, and an elf warrior fighting to save his sister and leave the human world. What they never expected was to fall in love.

I thought this book was gonna be one of those stories, where the captured falls in love with his evil and domineering master. Forced to succumb to his lust, but eventually starting to care for the man. I was in for a treat, Miss Haimowitz manages the progression of feelings so beautifully. Here is a Freyric a man of power, who can take what he wants from Ayden, yet he was always such a gentleman. Never perfect, not always gentle but his attitude and apparent feelings for the elf was one of the reasons why this book was so enjoyable.

A friendship is formed wrapped in powerful emotions, and it’s through this, man and elf found a bond. Freyric must convince Ayden to help with the war, but Ayden cares nothing for humans and they care nothing for him. The people of Farr would love to see Ayden suffer, but their prince protects him and this very reason is causing suspicion of Freyric. Therefore, it becomes a story of sacrifice, what man/elf is willing to give up in the name of love. Will Freyric risk the love and respect from his people, and will Ayden throw out pride and sacrifice himself all in the name of love.

This book is for fans of true romance, who enjoy a good plot, and smart and witty characters. I am a fan, because I fell in love with Ayden’s humour and his strong spirit. I love Freyric’s loyalty and his compassion; he is just a “wow” of a character. I loved that sex played a secondary role to the story, and its characters. I loved the sexual tension. I loved the world building. I freaking loved it all. I recommend this read in a big way (BIG WAY).

I look forward to the second, because this book ended with my heart in my throat.

Reviewed for TDB Reviews

Profile Image for Trio.
2,926 reviews171 followers
May 13, 2019

It was so far beyond five stars I don't think I can even count that high.

It didn't have the level of darkness I expect from Rachel Haimowitz darkness (which ended up being preferable) but it was perfect. The scope of everything, the creativity of the characters, the beauty of the love affair, and the emotion behind the whole thing - it was truly incredible.

The audio was fantastic!
Profile Image for Heather C.
1,461 reviews209 followers
June 9, 2011
OH.MY.GODS!!! I loved this book!!!

This book was picked for me to read as a challenge and I dove in without reading the blurb or any reviews. I really didn't know what to expect other than that this was m/m fantasy and it had a cliffhanger. It also has one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen.

I found the World very interesting with the song and abilities of the elven people, the barbarism and prejudices of the humans, and the madness of the Ferals/Darkers. There was a bit of world building in the beginning and it took me only about two chapters to get used to the lyrical language. I was confused for a while about the Surge and what it was exactly. But thankfully it was explained at the appropriate moment. I found the contrast between the beliefs of the humans compared to Ayden’s memory of the Great Betrayal fascinating. It makes me curious about how inaccurate our own histories are. I loved this line Ayden speaks to the humans: “Now you die while we live on, and you’ve no one to blame but your selves. So do not speak of betrayal behind my back, humans. For the Great Betrayal is your shame, not mine.”

I absolutely loved Freyrík and Ayden. Enemies-to-lovers has always been one of my favorite themes. Freyrík was torn between what he believed and what was his duty. Its sad, but I understand his dilemma with how he wanted to treat Ayden and the things he was forced to do. I hope to see him make a few more sacrifices in the next book, but he did prove is love of Ayden many times over, in my opinion. I couldn’t find the words to say what I loved about Ayden, so I’m going to have to agree with why Freyrík loved him: “that clever mind, that sharp tongue and droll wit. His love for Ella, manifested in sacrifice and secret smiles; his sense of honor and duty; his pride in the face of unceasing subjugation. His joy of nature, his respect for all things living, his skill with . . . well, everything.”

Oh, man! The sexual tension in this book was torture!!! I was dying by the time Ayden and Freyrík finally kissed. It was really powerful and beautiful and I felt like I could actually hear it and feel it myself. Also, there were not many explicit sex scenes. I found the sex between Freyrík and Ayden equal and not like that of a captor and his slave. In the bedroom, Freyrík treated Ayden as his equal partner, lover, and friend. Unfortunately, this was not the case around others’ eyes and ears.

There are a few brutal beating scenes that were painful to read. Also, there is NO non-consensual sex, so don’t be worried about reading this book for fear of rape. Be aware that this isn't a light, happy book. It is very heavy and epic. Although I did find myself frequently laughing out loud at the snarky banter between Ayden and Freyrík.

This is for Rachel and her cliffhanger:

Just kidding!! The cliffhanger really isn't that bad. It just kicks off the story arc for next book in the series. October is too far away!! Can't wait for the release of Crescendo on 10/07/11!
Profile Image for M'rella.
1,299 reviews179 followers
July 31, 2022
My thoughts right now?

There is no hope in this book, by the middle of it you know to abandon any and all.

Ayden is the only likable character and only because of him I am giving this book more than one star.

I wanted to write more, but Yvonne said it all in her review. I can sign under every single word.

Anywho... There is some good news. I found Ayden :D

Edilson Nascimento
Profile Image for Nikyta.
1,405 reviews253 followers
July 24, 2012
I loved this book. I was putting it off because of the cliffhanger everyone was talking about but after finishing it, I'm really glad I read it. The cliffhanger wasn't as bad as I was anticipating, though. Or maybe because I knew it was coming that I didn't have such a problem with it. To me, it felt as if it was just a not so subtle warning that there will be a sequel to Counterpoint. And how glad I am about that. This book had everything in it that pushes my buttons. Hostage situation, slavery, a bit of cruelty, a prince, a fantasy plot, Stockholm syndrome and little sex.

I absolutely loved these characters. Even the ones I hated, I loved. They felt so real to me to the point that I could imagine myself standing right there looking in on the scenes. I was so caught up in the story that I tried to sneak bits and pieces with whatever free time I had. I could just feel the emotions Ayden and Freyrik were feeling and what conflicts they were going through.

The writing was so captivating and the scenes were quite detailed as well as the world that was created. I, for one, am quite grateful the world was so detailed. I like my fantasies to have well-built worlds, worlds that you don't have a hard time imagining and I'm really glad this one was like that. I liked the fact that it had a steady pace with the romance but a kind of fast pace with the action. And I found the way Ayden reacted to any jeers or taunts toward himself hilarious. He was a smart-mouthed elf and always had something to say. I just couldn't stop laughing.

All in all, this was an awesome book. Definitely recommended!
Profile Image for Emanuela ~plastic duck~.
805 reviews115 followers
December 23, 2010
I loved this book. I would have finished in a couple of days if real life had stopped interfering with it.

The world building is compelling and lyrical, so is the writing. The musical theme was present throughout the book, weaving the world, the characters and the words together. What is expressed and the way it is expressed always fit and you are really taken to another world.

The relationship between the elf Ayden and the human Freyrik is beautiful and precious. Freyrik is immediately attracted to the elf, even if the two races have been despising each other for three hundred years. Ayden is prisoner and being confined without freedom in a room is probably torture for a creature who's used to living in the open. Although Freyrik almost immediately shows his compassion to Ayden, the elf's trust is gained slowly. The two protagonists test each other constantly and it's only at the end of their trial and once they've recognized the good in their souls that they become lovers.

Freyrik is between a rock and a hard place. While his subjects hate and despise Ayden because of his race, Freyrik is still the Prince Regent and he can't forget his duties to his people and he can't show weaknesses. For me it was very hard to accept Freyrik's decisions. At the beginning it was Freyrik who had to constantly reach out to Ayden, while the elf was always shutting him out. After they became lovers, their roles were somehow reversed: Freyrik was immersed in his state affairs and in the worries of his ruling and it was Ayden who always gave in.

In the end I feel that Ayden was the one to make the biggest sacrifice, so I am waiting (not) patiently to read the second part of this story to see if things will balance out. I think this book is so complex that I'd probably have to write twice as long a review, but it's compelling and its song will not fail to enthrall you.
Profile Image for Dreamer.
1,780 reviews128 followers
June 4, 2016
Just loved this book! Read this in one fell swoop, all 414 pages (apart from a quick dog walk). I'm a sucker for the combination of fantasy and m/m especially from author Rachel Haimowitz. The elf Ayden agrees to his master Freyrik's terms in order to save his sister fellow-captive Ella's honour. Straight on to book two..
'When Ayden looked back up, there was steel in his eyes of a kind Freyrik knew well: a warrior's commitment to a hopeless battle.
"If you keep her safe," he continued, "I will do anything you ask of me. Anything. Do you understand?"'

Re-read 13th April 2013
Profile Image for Em.
648 reviews132 followers
October 23, 2014
I have been trying to get to this series for a good couple of years and I'm annoyed at myself for putting it off for so long. This is the kind of series just perfect for me - fantasy, slave, elves, soldiers, nice bit of angst and sex scenes that are well worth the wait! Ayden and Freyrik took a while to realise exactly what they meant to each other and that their feelings ran deep but I really do enjoy a slow burner! Moving straight on to Crescendo

Profile Image for Brian.
105 reviews61 followers
December 25, 2019
I fell asleep so many times during the audiobook that I just can't give it more than two stars. As a fantasy, it is serviceable but not particularly gripping. There are humans and elves at war, and some third race of dangerous animals. There is a m/m romance, sort of: the human king has eyes for his elf prisoner and there is some kind of hazily-imagined slavery kink going on that was not my thing at all. A highlight was the book's depiction of magic, which had to do with music. Overall, the writing is perfectly fine at the level of the sentence, but the characters are not vivid and the linear plot just never snagged me. I would have been annoyed by the cliffhanger ending if I had been able to invest more fully in the characters and their story, but as it is, I wasn't even bothered. I honestly don't remember much about this, and I listened as attentively as I could. Never a good sign.
Profile Image for Eva Müller.
Author 1 book72 followers
April 4, 2013
First of all: this book had actually good things. The author cleary tried to write not your typical 80s cliched fantasy-novel, there were glimpses of moral ambiguity: at one point Ayden sits at court with Freyrik and is shocked when a thief is condemned to death. Freyrik explains that the punishment for theft is not always death but this men had stolen rations that they kept for the case of a siege, meaning he had stolen from the most vulnerable. Ayden even admits that if he'd met this man (or any other) in battle he'd killed him without second thought but he is simply opposed to death-penality as elves don't practise it. The author does not try to convince the reader that one view-point is right and the other isn't but just leaves it like this and lets us decide what to make of this situation.

If only the rest of the novel had been like this...but alas...the characters were straight out of your less-than-average clichéd 80s fantasy-world. Ayden is your typical snobbish hippie-elf of the 'I am at one with nature and I will suffer if I cannot breath the fresh air'-type. He can hear people's 'songs' (and also nature's songs and God-knows-what-else) and so tell when they're dishonest. Oh and he glows in the fucking dark.

No seriously, he does.

Freyrick (I am actually too lazy to rant about the tendency of EVERY SINGLE FANTASY AUTHOR I HAVE EVER READ to randomly throw a few 'y' in the names to make them sound cooler) is your typical benevolent fantasy-ruler (well regent as his brother is the king but currently not in the country) who has the sun shining out of his arse. He's wise and kind and intelligent and

He also lacks any authority over Ayden who is supposed to be his bloody slave. Ayden insults him, refuses to do what he's told but Freyrick just sits there and does nothing. Now I'm not saying I would have wanted some torture 'we need to break him now matter how'-porn but I have not much trust in a ruler who can't even controll a single slave because he's pretty and he doesn't want to spoil his chances of fucking him one day.

Which brings me to the next point: everybody seems to assume that Freyrick would simply rape Ayden (including Ayden) but he doesn't.
Again, it's not something that I would have wanted to happen but if raping you slaves is seen as 'normal' and not a big deal in this society then why does he refuse to do it and gets really upset when he realized that this is what Ayden expects. Why is Freyrick so different from apparently all other men? Does he want a gold-star saying 'Look at me I'm not a rapist! isn't that awesome'?
Newsflash: 'not being a rapist' is not sufficent as characterization for one of the good guys.

The same goes for the attitude towards elves in general: his council, the soldiers and basically everybody else despises them and it felt like they treated Ayden like an animal not so much because he was a slave but because he was an elf. Then why does Freyrick treat him so much better from the beginning? Humans and elves have been at war for over 300 years, and there is absolutely no love lost between them. Why is Freyrick so willing to ignore all this? Ayden's deep hatred was much more realistic and understandable than Freyrick's cloud-cukoo-landish 'if I'm nice to him, he might like me...oh and then we can fuck'

Then there's the writing-style. Overall it's not bad but both in dialoge and the narrative the writer uses 'Tis, 'Twas, 'Twould instead of it is, it was etc. Not only occasionaly but every single time. It's highly annoying and riddiculous because there's no other archaic language.

Now there was something else...oh right. the treatment of women.

You see, if you take the real middle-ages as example for your fantasy-world and built it according to that you'll have the problem that the middle-ages were incredibly sexist. Now you can

a) have a really sexist fantasy-world and spent no more thoughts on it
b) have equal-opportunity middle-ages where women can be rulers, generals etc.
c) have a really sexist fantasy-world also still strong female-characters who try to work around the sexism (or refuse to accept the rules in the first place and become warriors anyway)

Now the author might have tried for c) but failed terribly and it somehow came over more as a) which was cringe-worthy.
In the half of the book I read there were only two female characters with serious speaking-roles:
The first was Ella, the virgin. She's Ayden's sister and only because she's also captured Ayden is willing to accept his fate. She's weak and he has to protect her and so accepts Freyricks orders (more or less). Depending on what the plot needs she's either extremely naive and apparently doesn't even know what could have happened to her if she hadn't been captured by the only non-rapist in the whole world but anybody else or she is all wise and knowing and advices Freyrick on what to do with Ayden.

The other women is the whore. She's one of Freyrick's sister-in-laws, the first wife of his older brother. Yes, it's a poligamous world, and she gets referred to as First Wife (with capital letters, as if it was a real name) much more than by her real name (which I have already forgotten), not only by Freyrick (which kind of makes sense, if the society handles is that way) but also in the narrative itself which was bloody annoying.
First Wife is barren and therefore bitter...because what's a women who can't have children? That's her only point in life, right? She also flirts rather shamelessly with Freyrick and clearly has her eyes on Ayden, even though Freyrick tells her she should leave him alone...but of course it has to be him. Because plot. So she manages to catch him alone and tries to rape him. Plot-conveniently Freyrick comes just round the moment when Ayden tries to defend himself and now she accuses him of wanting to rape her. Because we totally need more story about evil women accusing poor, helpless, and innocent men of rape.
Conveniently Freyrick doesn't belive her for even a second because that might at least have made for some good character-development and made a change from Ayden's constant pouting and feeling insulted by Freyricks presence and Freyrick thinking about Ayden's hotness but that was apparently the less interesting possibility to come out of this. No, instead the only point of that was that Ayden becomes so traumatised that he rather accompanies Freyrick than stay in the castle with First Wife, something he had been opposed to before.
What better reason to include an attempted rape in a book?

Yeah, I read a bit on after that but the book had lost me at this point.
Profile Image for Jo * Smut-Dickted *.
2,038 reviews457 followers
February 7, 2016
Just fantastic. I'm not sure a review could do this book justice. I loved it - from Ayden's struggles not to submit to his feelings or Freyrik all the way to Freyrik's dual role of leader and lover. One of the best realized worlds with outstanding dialogue you just get swept away in the story. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It was worth every penny I spent and is a definitive re read for me (probably multiple times) not for its erotic content which is there but not huge but for it's story and characters and tension. LOVED IT!

ReRead 2/2016: Now it seems a bit sweet on Rik's part. But love the connection and how things come together!
Profile Image for Camilla.
464 reviews84 followers
October 26, 2010

Ok, maybe I shouldnt review this so soon after having finished it, because all I want to say is:


Like.. Seriously.. WHAT THE FREAKIN FUCK just happened??

How the hell is it even legal to end a book like that?? I seriously want to break something so bad right now. Just pick up a vase and throw it into a wall.. I've never done that before, but I think an ending like this, quite possibly derserves it! I mean.. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!

Phewww.. Let me try to explain this.. I started this book about 3 hours before I had to be somewhere, and the closer it got for me to leave and stop reading this book, I found myself coming up with different kind of illnesses and other fun stuff that I could suddenly come down with, to keep me home, so I could keep reading.. I was that freaking hooked.. I didnt, but when I got back home and threw myself on the couch to finish the book, it was like crawling under a nice warm blanket, duvet (or whatever you call it) on a cold winters night.. I freaking LOVED this whole book, I'm just not sure why...

Its an human/elf m/m love story for gods sake? But this book had me crying my eyes out! Like, I could have watered a whole garden, thats how much I cried..

How can you let someone you love go through 208 whip lashes, while you sit on your throne and watch?? How is that even possible?? Oh my god, I want to cry just thinking about it now.. Seriously Rik?? How the fuck could you do that!!!

And then.. And THEN!!!! The ending.. There is no ending??? There is no freaking ending!!!!.. As you sit there with tears rolling down your face, your adrenaline going because so many things are happening, you turn the page and it just says: Will be continued in fall of 2011!.


OMG, I'm so mad right now, I cant even think straight.. And I dont know how to give this any stars, because its clearly a 5 star book, but the lack of ending?? Are you freaking kidding me??
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jilrene.
907 reviews81 followers
May 25, 2015
No. No. No! NO!! I couldn't put this one down for anything. The thanks I get for that is a cliff hanger ending. Too much pain and suffering at the end, no hope of an HEA or even an HFN. I knew there was another book, but it didn't occur to me this one would end so wrong. This was well on the way to 5 stars but I just cannot stand this type of ending. I'm done.
Profile Image for BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme.
6,640 reviews1,264 followers
July 5, 2011
I didn't like this book too much. I enjoyed another book of Ms. Haimowitz, but this one didn't do it for me. The 300+ pages filled with hatred, biogry and ignorance only caused me to be pissed, not engaged. As much as I would like to know what happens in the second book, I'm going to have to ask someone else to tell me what happens.

I liked the Prince and the elf here. I really do. I didn't like Kona the cunt nor did I like Ella the imbecile. I'm not sure why Ms. Haimowitz wrote in such despicable women. I would guess it's because she doesn't like them and think so little of them to write them in such a deplorable manner. This struggle between Freyrik and Ayden was depressing. For a prince who is supposed to be able to strategize and keep a war torn country together, he totally mishandled Ayden as a prisoner. Ayden, your sister asked for it. She was dumb enough to get caught; she should learn her lesson. So she gets raped and abused for it. Well, maybe she'd learn her lesson after a few decades.

The whole set up of the story confused me. I don't understand why the elf was to blame for everything. Does Ms. Haimowitz really feel humans are that dumb? Then again, why do I question her view of how stupid humans really act? I agree with her. I think humans really are this stupid and filled with senseless hatred and violence towards others. The one thing I've gleamed from her book is that not even women or children are exempt from this madness. If it were me, I'd say, kill them all. Wipe out the dying race of humans. They are not worthy. Make sure every woman and child is slaughtered because even leaving one alive would leave room for vengeance. Don't waste the time to conquer the humans and enslave them. In this world of Ms. Haimowitz, there is not a single human worth of redemption; slaughter them.

This is how I feel after reading this book. The sex in the book didn't do much for me because I was outraged the entire time at the sheer stupidity of humans in this book.
Profile Image for Jerry.
668 reviews
January 8, 2012
Wow, what a ride with two strong men (oops, I mean 1 man and 1 elf. An emotional roller coaster with heights so beautiful and lows so draining. I don't know how I can wait till the fall when the sequel comes out. But I bet it will be a series and the ending of the next book will be equally mad making. The setting reminded me a little of Lord of the Rings without it being the same at all. A great fantasy, the romance is tied up in there but there is so much more as well. Recommended for those who like a good M/M fantasy.
Profile Image for Cat.
54 reviews24 followers
January 6, 2011
Ok I just wanted to say that after reading this book I was mad and hurt... I was mad that I had to wait almost a whole year until the next one comes out. This book is a great story of Understanding, Patience and in the end love with some other stuff in the middle. I was caught hook, line and sinker and could not put it down. I swore after reading the ending I heard the dramatic music of supise and possible pending doom. Or was it..............
Profile Image for Kassa.
1,118 reviews108 followers
October 6, 2010
Counterpoint is book one of a two book epic story. The ending of this story is a cliffhanger with a few unresolved issues and definitely no happy ending in sight. This is perhaps why I had such a tough time with the story. On the one hand, the fantasy world is lovingly crafted with an eye for detail. On the other, I didn’t particularly enjoy the story’s focus on moderate violence, manipulation, humiliation, and hatred. This is a darker fantasy story that plays on the classic push/pull dynamic of different races that instinctively hate each other. The main romantic relationship is a very familiar King/slave one and so the slave ends up sacrificing time and again. I was honestly tired of all the violence when the story ended and needed a break, which left me with a negative feeling towards the book but it’s highly subjective and another reader may not feel that way at all.

The summary gives a good indication of the story which is about an elven soldier, Ayden, who is captured while saving his sister from her predictable foolishness. To keep his sister safe and ignorant, Ayden agrees to do anything Prince Freyrik wants and the prince wants Ayden sexually. Freyrik however is willing to let Ayden come to him. The first part of the story deals with Ayden as he struggles to reconcile his feelings of capture, slavery, and growing respect for Freyrik, while the second finds the two in love but no happy ending. Freyrik treats Ayden as well as he can by keeping Ayden locked in his rooms, fed, and out of sight. Whenever Ayden does have to leave the rooms, he’s shackled, usually beaten, forced to kneel and subjugate himself repeatedly, which of course does nothing for Ayden’s massive pride, bruised ego, and welling hatred for humans.

The push/pull dynamic between the two is interesting and creates a good backdrop to show the intricacies of royal life. Here the setting is classic fantasy or historical with the acting King Freyrik, temporarily ruling in his brother’s place, subject to the whims and laws of his people. Humans were taught to hate and fear elves, thus they loathe and fear Ayden. Freyrik often feels badly about Ayden’s treatment and does what he can to mitigate it but Freyrik is perhaps even more helpless than Ayden. This theme of helplessness becomes more and more pronounced as the story progresses and is one of the key sources of frustration I had as a reader.

Neither Freyrik nor Ayden can effectively control their present or future. Freyrik is bound not only by his royal duties but his desire for Ayden. He often betrays his promises to Ayden by circumstance, but it’s a repeated betrayal and eventually I couldn’t feel badly for Freyrik’s emotions against Ayden’s physical pain. Instead I became more and more invested in Ayden and his struggle to reconcile his feelings. When Ayden helps Freyrik overcome an animal attack and they fall in love, the romance is there but the underpinning of doom can’t be ignored. Ayden does everything he can to really help and he’s repaid by suspicion, scorn, pain, violence, and betrayal.

On the one hand, the story is fitting to the manipulations of court, the classic evil sister in law, innocently fey sister, and other characters that are seen in almost every fantasy novel. There’s nothing especially new offered, though this story has some very nice magical touches. The world building is competent and thorough, woven into the story in numerous ways. So fantasy fans, especially those who prefer darker fantasy stories, likely won’t blink at this offering. It fits well with the genre and the writing has energy and life to keep you engaged and absorbed from the beginning. The characters are one dimensional though outside of the main couple but the focus is on Ayden and Freyrik, who definitely stretch through their association.

Ayden as the surly pseudo-slave plays well against Freyrik as the compassionate ruler. The story does a commendable job developing their romance over time. The star crossed lovers theme struggling against fate has some moments of good emotion and romance. There are two mild sex scenes with the rest fade to black so the emotion and romance is not the focus; the story and fantasy world is. This is another reason that I just tired of all the continued manipulations when I got to the hanging ending. I honestly thought to myself “great, another 400 pages of violence, blood, betrayal, and pain to get to a happy ending.” This isn’t a fair assessment because there is humor, romance, love, hints of happiness, and moments of quiet connection. These additions were essential to keeping me reading and mostly enjoying the story, but the ending reminds me of considerable more pain and heartache to come before a happy ending can even be hinted at. Not all readers will have this reaction mind you.

This is a highly subjective review – it is after all only my opinion – so the elements that struck me and stayed with me may or may not even bother other readers. The fantasy world is a major focus and well crafted with a solid, tightly plotted story. The characterization suffers outside of the main characters but their vibrancy almost forgives the subsequently flat cast. There is a familiar, almost classic feel to the romance/couple depicted and that familiarity may play well with readers. The moderate violence is done quickly, although the continued talking about and extended tension leading to said violence bothered me just as much as the actual scenes but not all readers will have that experience. I think the payoff of a happy ending is too far away for me to feel comfortable with the emotional investment so far but I am likely to continue with book two after a break away from the story.

As always see for yourself if the story sounds like one you’d like to read. My reaction is highly personal on this particular story so be sure to read critically for elements that are more suited to your tastes.
Profile Image for Jeff Erno.
Author 63 books629 followers
January 6, 2011
Ayden is an eight-hundred year-old elf living in a world where his race is at war with humans. He follows his sister into enemy territory where he’s confronted by human soldiers. He fends off his captors by killing sixteen of them, but ultimately is captured, along with his sister, and they become prisoners of war.

Prince Freyrik is the ruler of the human territory where Ayden was captured, and the prince is immediately attracted to the elf. He decides to enslave Ayden, and claims him as his personal servant. The prince imprisons Ayden’s sister as well, holding her hostage as a means of controlling Ayden.

Every year a surge of bewitched, feral beasts stampedes into human territory and destroys everything within its path. The humans prepare for this event by amassing armies of soldiers and waging war against the surge in an attempt to protect their kingdom. Ayden’s capture occurs just days before an annual surge.

For the majority of the story, Ayden is hostile towards Prince Freyrik, not only because he is human, but also because Freyrik is the one who enslaves him. The prince recognizes Ayden’s pride, and is very cautious in his dealings with the elf. Although the prince yearns to become sexually intimate with Ayden, he does not force the issue. He instead tries to win Ayden over with respect and kindness. Repeatedly, Ayden rejects the prince’s overtures.

As the couple begin to learn about one another, Ayden assists the prince and devises a war strategy unlike anything the prince has ever considered. The prince follows the elf’s advice, but claims credit for the masterful strategy. Ultimately it saves thousands of lives, and the humans are victorious in their battle against the surge.

Slowly Ayden and Freyrik grow to love each other, and finally they consummate their feelings by making love. The degree of respect and gratitude the prince feels for Ayden grows exponentially, and he ultimately realizes he must release the elves and award them their freedom. Before he can do so, however, his own people revolt. They demand justice for the lives of the sixteen soldiers whom Ayden killed during his capture. The prince must decide whether to risk losing control of his kingdom by protecting the only person he’s ever loved, or save himself and turn Ayden over to an angry mob.

One of the characters chooses to make the ultimate sacrifice.

The beginning of this epic story was rather challenging for me, I must admit. I nearly abandoned the read altogether, but I’m genuinely thankful now that I pressed on and finished. I was terribly confused at the onset of this tale. No background information was provided at all, and there was virtually no set-up. The story began in a land I knew nothing about, during an unstated time period. No history was provided, and the more I read, the more confused I became.

Readers often complain that certain stories start out too slowly and that they spend too much time presenting lead-in information. My view of this story is quite the opposite. I felt I needed more information. Eventually it all did make sense, but getting to that point was maddening to me. The author made numerous references to the “surge” but never explained what it was until much later in the story. I felt almost as if I had begun reading a story that was second or third in a series because I did not understand the setting or the history.

The other aspect of this story which was unsettling to me was the narrative itself. The dialect in which it was presented appeared to be medieval, and it was almost like what one would hear while attending a Renaissance Fair. Contractions such as “twas” and “tis” were used repeatedly, and curse words were replaced by euphemisms such as “cracked” and “befanged”. Had this vernacular been presented merely as part of the characters’ dialogue, it would have made sense to me. Or had the story been written in first person, it would have been understandable, but I did not understand why the third person narrative had to employ the use of such jargon. It also was inconsistent. There were sections of the story where this type of phrasing was used heavily, and other long sections which were written in contemporary English.

In spite of these two criticisms, which I take full ownership of as a subjective reviewer, I did end up absolutely loving this beautiful, romantic story. The dynamic of Freyrik and Ayden’s relationship was masterfully presented. The arc of both characters as they learned about each other and allowed their hearts to be changed was an incredible testament to the power of love. The author uses humor remarkably well, and there were sections of the story which led me to laugh right out loud.

Most remarkable, though, is the portrayal of the sacrifice which ultimately was made. This scene was so profound that it will haunt me for days to come. It was written confidently with poetry and beauty, and it touched my heart in a way few stories ever have. This author is clearly gifted in terms of delivering deeply emotional scenes, and the lovemaking which was portrayed within the story was first rate. These scenes were described sensuously and romantically, and they focused more upon feelings than upon body parts.

As anyone who has followed my reviews clearly must know, I judge books based almost entirely upon the emotional impact they have. Almost any shortcoming within a story can be overcome if the author is able to connect emotionally to her reader, and in this case, the author most definitely succeeded. I’m anxious to read the sequel, and I encourage other readers to give this series a chance. If you find the beginning challenging, please hang in there, because it is well worth it in the end.

Counterpoint by Rachel Haimowitz is an amazing love story which will not leave your heart unchanged. I highly recommend the book.

Profile Image for Sophia.
Author 5 books329 followers
September 27, 2016
Audio Review

This is my second encounter with the story, but it has been awhile. This time around was a cleaned up newer addition and the audio format.

A gripping fantasy romance of two bitter enemies brought together when elf, Ayden, crosses the border into human lands to keep his sister from capture only to be captured right alongside her. Ayden becomes the human prince, Freydrik's personal slave. It is an intense battle of wills as well as a battle for understanding as the pair navigate their way through court intrigue, traditions and society, war, and finally a chance of understanding. There is a huge twisting, jangling cliffhanger in the end that left me gasping for part two of the story.

Counterpoint is not an easy tale as it is an enemies to lovers slave romance. Elf-kind vs. Human-kind. Both races blame the other for a long standing war and the situation in the wild lands where the animals are twisted into dark beasts. The times are dangerous for all. Elves retreated deep into their own lands and humans fight for survival against the dark beasts.

Ayden's sister, Ella, is a naive and sweet elf who is curious and kind. She secretly has human friends and she goes to one who is dying. Only she is spotted by a human patrol. Ayden is watching from the borderlands and races to her rescue. He fights only to be taken and then he is brought before a human prince of that region. His hatred and vitriol are barely contained, but he'll grovel and do anything if the human prince will spare his sister from being used and abused.

Freyrick rules as regent while his brother the king is off at the high council's city. He is challenged to find a way to protect his people with not enough men. The dark beasts will come in the next magical wave. Now, he is confronted by a surely elf who disdains him. The elf will give up what he knows and help Freyrick fight the dark beast hoard and Freyrik will do what turns his own stomach to achieve this. The female elf is the hostage and will keep the wilder, angrier male in line.

Only, knowledge isn't all Freyrik wants from Ayden. He is captivated and wants the elf to give himself to Freyrik freely. But the venom from Ayden and his treatment from humans makes this highly unlikely. Freyrik and Ayden walk on the edge of a blade as they hide what is growing between them from Freyrik's race that hates and enslaves elf-kind. Not even Ayden's help in the war can hold back the growing unrest and the rising clamor that Freyrik put aside his slave whom all believe has enspelled him.

As I said, this isn't an easy story because of the grittier brutal world of this fantasy romance. But, though it is a slave situation, it is all consensual. It's a troubling world on the human side of things straight out of the Middle Ages when most women were chattel and there was a free and slave society. The elf side was enchantingly developed. Their magic is that of elf song. They are immortal, they have extra gifts and their gifts are driven by their command of 'elf song'. Ayden can read emotion and intention because those give off 'song'.

I enjoyed the characters of Ayden and Freyrik. It was interesting that though Ayden has lived centuries, this pair seem nearer in maturity and age. There are hints that the elves mature slowly so this makes some sense paired with the fact that Freyrik is responsible for his people and takes his responsibility seriously. Ayden is so filled with hate that he can come off petulant a few times and yet he has far-seeing wisdom that is saddened by the human's society and ways around him because they are not as enlightened as the elves. Freyrik is actually open to the possibility of a friendship and more with an elf and respects Ayden. I enjoyed the way the dynamics in their relationship shifted from enemies all the way to lovers. It was gradual and not simple or easy. There is much distrust and events that come between them.

There is a sense that there is something more going on in their world as when they compare notes, things don't add up. But they cannot openly work at matters because there are always suspicious people watching them at court and also the distant, but palpable power of the human high council. And the ending hints that things are going to be blown wide open in the other half of the story in the next book.

The narration was done by Craig Beck. This was my first encounter with his work. I thought he did a fantastic job. I formed images of the characters based on his voices and this jived well with the words of the story. He got nuances, tone, emotion, and pacing right. I would definitely listen to more of his audio book narration work.

In summary, this one paced along slowly in ways as the relationship depended, but had it's heartstopping and exciting passionate moments, too. This is for those who enjoy a darker, gritty, m/m Fantasy Romance.

My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Cory .
727 reviews87 followers
July 20, 2020
I really enjoyed this....it had the same sort of feel as Captive Prince and I LOVE LOVE LOVE a good enemies to lovers story. Looking forward to reading the next one!
357 reviews138 followers
October 5, 2014
~Arc Provided Via Netgalley In Exchange For Honest Review~

Yay! Can't wait to read this!!!

3.5 wanna-be-4 stars

This review is posted on Way Too Hot Books.

“All the world seemed suddenly dream, for in what waking world would a prince deceive his own people for the benefit of a slave?"

Ever since a little kid I had a huge crush on fantasy movies, shows and books and even now, 26 years later, that still hasn't changed. It's just that nowadays my preferences expanded, this time on mm genre. Elves/ fairies were always one of my favorite creatures of the fantasy world and that's why I just had to have this book. It's also my first mm book by Rachel Haimowitz in general and it was a fairly good start.

At the beginning of the story I was struggling a little, because we get thrown right away in the world of elves described in very good, but also at times a bit over-descriptive writing using some words I've never heard before considering that English is not my mother tongue and I actually thought that I will have to dig out my long forgotten English dictionary from collage, but fortunately, in the end, that wasn't necessary.

After a couple of pages I got sucked into this dark and magical world ruled by elves on one side of the border and humans on the other side who have been at each other throats for centuries. There's a lot of bad blood between these two species caused by a feud between their ancestors long time ago. While there was a time when they lived in peace side by side as neighbors, friends and lovers, nowadays they spend their days in bloodshed and wars.

The elves are portrayed as magical creatures with special powers and protectors of nature who feel and read the emotions of other beings through song. While I liked the way they and their world are portrayed I still wish that we found out more about their background, politics and the rest of this fantasy world and that there were less pages spent on war strategies which were a bit boring (I'm a girl after all!). The story was a bit lacking in the fantasy department.

One of the best things about this story is the slow building, forbidden (to the point that it was quite frustrating) hate-to-love relationship between the mcs : Ayden, the dark-haired elf, and Freyrik, the human prince. Ayden and his sister get captured by Freyrik's soldiers and end up being his slaves and that's how their story begins.

Both, Ayden's and Freyrik's characters, were interesting enough. Freyrik is not your usual type of prince. He's kind, compassionate and loved among his people and soldiers. His reputation gets questioned after the arrival of the beautiful elf who turns his world upside down. Ayden is probably my favorite character. He is not perfect. In fact there are times when he behaved like a little pompous bitch which was quite annoying and frustrating, but at the same time there's this witty, playful and endearing side of him showed through his love and protectiveness of his sister, animals and nature in general. I loved that about him.

It was lust at first sight for Freyrik and hate for Ayden (he did after all end up being his slave!), but after some time spent together and a handful of sexual frustration they'll realize that first impressions can be highly misleading. The story was dark, action-packed and fun with some steamy scenes in-between. And of course it had to end with a cliffie, damn it! Must read the 2nd one as soon as possible and find out will there be a HEA for Ayden and Freyrik! I recommend this series to mm fantasy fans who prefer when there's more focus on the romance part of the story than the fantasy itself.
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