Rating: 4.25 stars
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Cherished by Two begins almost exactly where book one ended, with Chris, Nary, and Lasar coming to grips with their unusual and unique relationship. Never before has an Alasharian entered into a three-way soul bond, and certainly never with a human!
Chris has learned from the Sha Sha Ar, the Alasharian Soul Healer, that he is to play an important role in the days to come. And that he, a simple human, may be called upon to save not only the Alasharian invaders, but humanity as well. A battle is coming, a battle between all that is good and the hungry, violent, and corrupting force of the Void that has followed the Alasharians to Earth.
Chris is not only struggling to understand his place in the world, he is also having to find his place in the relationship that has evolved between he and his two masters, Nary and Lasar. While he is nasha to both of his lovers, submissive and treasured and beloved, he is also young. Not only is this the first time he’s felt the love that forms between two (or more) individuals, it’s also his actual first time. He came to them virginal and hopeful and scared and found something more than a rescuer or a slave master; he found the missing parts of his soul.
Nary, too, struggles. He is no longer merely nasha to Lasar, protected and partnered with his life mate. He is now also ahna to Chris. He must learn to walk that fine line between obedience to his master and guidance to his own nasha. It’s a struggle for him, for all three of them, but Nary is a person with a great and honest heart. While it takes time and patience and introspection, he comes to realize that he must be the balance between the two men he loves.
Lasar is, of all of them, for me the most complex of the trio. On his shoulders not only rests the weight of this union, to care for and take charge of his two nasha, but he must also turn his attention outwards. Unlike Nary and Chris, he doesn’t have the luxury of introspection and meditation; he has a planet to save.
In A Slave for Two, which I recommend you read, Lasar learned that Earth was conquered under false pretenses. Humans are not sex-hungry, half-men incapable of emotions and feeling. They are people, just like the Alasharians, with emotions and intelligence and desperately in need of saving. Lasar must discover who among his fellow warriors and fellow counselors he can trust. Who else is beginning to have doubts about their Nall? Who else might be willing to take action on behalf of the humans? And who might betray him.? Is his sister — consort to the Nall — also corrupted? It’s a heavy weight upon his shoulders and, as much as his nasha look to him for guidance, he looks to them for serenity, strength, forgiveness, and love.
I enjoyed this book more than I did the first one in the Soul Match series. Not only are the characters and their relationship being developed, but so too is their society. Lasar, in dealing with guards, or Councillors, gives us a look into how a dominant Alasharian behaves in public, and when dealing with Chris and Nary shows us the softer, gentler side of their society.
There is also greater emphasis upon the spiritual aspect of the plot, with a more attention paid to the dangers, and nature, of the Void. Call it magic or psionics or religion, it allows Chris, Nary ,and Lasar to feel each others emotions and occasionally each other’s thoughts. At times it feels overly convenient, as if the author didn’t want to spend too much time dealing with the potential jealousies that cannot help but erupt in any new relationship (be it duo or trio), but it works within the world Knight has created and serves a purpose in the story.
I will give one word of warning. There is an intense scene near the end of the book involving rape and torture, as well as non-consentual touching. While Chris and his cousin Morgan are not themselves assaulted, they are witness to it and affected by it. The scene is not gratuitous, nor is it explicit and it does play a role in the plot. But for those who might have an issue with such subjects, please read with care.
I was so pleased to be able to read and review this second book, and can’t wait for book three. And if we’re very good, will we get a book four?