Kestrel was a soldier drafted into the war. After being captured and violated, he is turned away from his homeland due to a law making him no longer acceptable. Kes is then sold into sexual slavery at a pleasure house and, because he doesn’t submit easily, the last five years have been humiliating and soul crushing.
When a slave and his master approach Kes at the marketplace, it seems that life for Kestrel will once again take a turn. Talon is like no other slave Kestrel has ever met and the young man intrigues and arouses him. When Talon’s master, Count Strade, offers a huge sum to purchase Kes for Talon, Kes is a little intrigued and a lot confused.
Kestrel then learns that his new home will be Horthmont Castle, the very same castle surrounding the stories designed to scare him as a child. Kestrel is in for a whole new experience as he is confronted by magic, myths, and secrets that have been hidden for centuries. Kestrel also has to balance out his role in his new life with his growing feelings for both Talon and the count and, while he can’t ever truly be free in the eyes of the law, a life with Talon and their count could offer him love, safety, and a place to call home.
Fantasy is not the genre I gravitate to first, but Bey Deckard is the only author that can have me looking forward to a book in any category. If you have any interest in reading this book, you really don’t want to know one more thing about it as every word in the story is another piece of the puzzle, no matter how insignificant it may seem. That is generally the theme with Deckard’s writing, that it is best to experience it fresh, but I will attempt to entice you further.
The book is set in 2426 and, while it is set in the future, it reads like a piece of the past. Each character is well drawn as Deckard’s voice is unique and vivid. Kes is almost broken as a pleasure slave, but he has an inexplicable and instant connection with Talon. Talon is beautiful and magical and the men bond before the first glance. If things seem too easy or don’t add up at first you have to wait, just wait, for the moment that the plot narrows to a focus.
The count purchases Kes for Talon as a companion, but perhaps they are already destined to be together. Talon has lived for years at the castle that was the stuff of legend throughout Kes’ childhood and he has a special bond with the count. Their relationship has evolved over the years but with the count being asexual, their relationship has not been physical. The relationship and heat between Kes and Talon starts them off, but the dynamics between all three men shift and expand over the course of the book and they balance each other, grow to respect each other, and include the count as an equal partner in the best of ways that works for all of them. The plot continues with a focus on the rulers of the land and the politics of slavery. There are also secondary characters to advance the story set against a castle with a colorful history.
The book is evenly paced and smoothly written with elements of magic, folklore, psychic ability, mystery, and intrigue. There are flashbacks that work to enhance the story as the count has a long history filled with secrets, he has many stories to tell, and the effect is simply as if we are being offered a fabled story time. The book is told primarily through Kes’ POV but at the exact moment that you are ready for Talon’s POV, there it is. The author continues to ramp up the emotion perfectly throughout the book and even just the hint of the off page non-con scenes will have you wanting to reach in and grab the characters out of harm’s way. The spectacular thing about a Deckard book is that you never know quite which way it’s going go with the turn of each page and his prose has a certain flare that he captures time and again with each book and with each character.
Kestrel’s Talon is book one of a new series and while I do want to know the entire story, I also appreciate the anticipation that another great book will be out there on the horizon. Deckard writes the books that I didn’t think I wanted to read and that’s the highest compliment I can offer. I only have five stars to give out and Kestrel’s Talon by Bey Deckard gets them all.