Story Rating: 4 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars
Narrator: Pavi Proczko
Length: 5 hours, 26 minutes
Trystan lives the life of an unchosen angel. When he was born, a future was not seen for him and at the age of nineteen, he has lived a life being shunned and bullied. His parents barely speak to him and it’s only his one sister that pays him any attention. Trystan continues on each day, but he truly feels he will be sad and alone for all time. During one such bullying attack, Trystan finds himself at the bottom of a hidden well and is strangely drawn to the carving of the great dragon, Asagoroth. The legend is that before Asagoroth and his demon army could conquer all of the realms, he was killed by five angels, who have come to be known as the elders, who in turn sacrificed their own lives.
There is another story however, the true story, where the elders could not kill Asagoroth but managed to imprison him. But the dragon, in return, cast his own spell. A spell that could break his confinement, if only he had the blood of an angel. Realizing what he has done, part of Trystan wants to cower in fear, but another part of him is explicably drawn to Asagoroth. The angels fear a war is coming, but Asagoroth only wants Trystan and will not allow anyone to get in his way. Perhaps Trystan isn’t exactly unchosen, perhaps he’s already been claimed.
Fantasy books are not always what I will choose first but this one had a certain appeal and I’m definitely glad I gave this story a chance. The opening sets the scene for the life Trystan has lived. With no future being seen for him when he was born, he became an embarrassment to his parents and he is pretty sad when we first meet him. Trystan’s life changes when he falls into that well and that is only one beginning of his story. Legends were told of the great dragon, Asagoroth, a demon that all the angels feared. Trystan feels a special connection to the dragon immediately and the reasons for that are slowly revealed.
The upper realm, where the angels live, is a fairly fixed society. The future of an angel is seen when they are born and there is no deviation for them. Trystan is allowed to go to school, but there was never a sense given of what became of the unchosen after that as Trystan is certainly not the first. There are a lot of elements evident from other stories here from the way Trystan was bullied, to his connection to Asagoroth to name just a few and there are a lot of common themes.
This is a fated mates story and you certainly have to go with that aspect for the story to work. We are talking about a demon of a dragon that is Trystan’s soul mate. The story plays out as Trystan learns the reason behind their connection, but with the way he’s been treated his entire life, he doesn’t think anyone would ever love him for who he is. Asagoroth isn’t exactly a patient creature. Besides him demanding that the angels hand over Trystan, Asagoroth expects Trystan to fully be on board with their relationship immediately. It’s slowly revealed why this is, but he barely gives poor Trystan a chance to catch his breath.
Asagoroth wasn’t the most developed character for me. A good portion of the time he was in his dragon form and all we really know of him is that he is the most feared demon. We aren’t given a sense of his world or what he is even really like. And, for as demonic as we are told that he is, when he is with Trystan, he seemed to be uncharacteristically sappy, which was great that he treated Trystan well, but it didn’t all fit together for me.
There is a sense of a battle between good and evil here coming from not only the obvious places as they story plays out. For a story set in a completely different world, it was more predictable than I expected or preferred it to be from the connection Trystan and Asagoroth had to the ending itself. It was enjoyable to listen to, but at the end I found myself with a whole lot of questions for areas that were underdeveloped.
I had not listened to a performance by Pavi Proczko prior to this and it’s always great to find a talented narrator. He had a great presence for this story and the character voices for both Trystan and Asagoroth were different from each other. Asagoroth had a deep commanding voice and while Trystan’s voice was perhaps a bit older sounding than his character age, it wasn’t too much of a detractor. The narrator also had a slight accent, which worked well for the world the characters inhabited. The audio version certainly added something extra to this story for me and I would definitely recommend this version if you are looking for angels and demons set in a fantasy world.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.