This Ravyn has the soul of a hawk.
My name is Ravyn. I’m a human soldier in a Fae army of shapeshifters run by a warlord. I’m a simple man; I like the three Fs—Feasting, Fighting, and Fu- well, you know the last one. I don’t have many expectations for my life beyond those things and that’s just fine by me. But when two fae amulets are stolen and only a human can retrieve them, my warlord asks me to help. He is the Hawk Lord—honorable, brave, terrifyingly powerful, and hot enough to set my pants on fire with a single look. That look was all it took to get me to agree to one of the most dangerous missions of my life. What I didn’t know was that he’d be accompanying me, watching my back as we crept through the continent of Alantri—land of the monstrous Farungal. Nor did I know that our mission would bring us together in the most unexpected ways. The Hawk Lord is so much more than I thought. Stronger and more heroic, with a soul more beautiful than his face But he also has a darkness inside him, one that could bind us together forever or tear us viciously apart. To survive his love, I’ll need the heart and soul of a hawk.
The Hawk Soul is a steamy M/M fantasy based in an epic world of sexy fae shifters, terrifying monsters, and thrilling love that will have you laughing, crying, and begging for more!
Trigger Warning: There is a slight domination theme in this book. Although the main relationship is NOT abusive, the theme is about recovery and triumph, and there is one scene of extreme spanking with a belt and one very short scene of abuse by an enemy involving a foreign object (NOT in the main relationship).
There are several reasons why I decided not to finish this book at around the 40% mark, but chief among them were the writing and the characters. The lack of cohesive world building was also a factor, but I quit the book as the larger history of the fae was being introduced so, for all I know, it got better. One can only hope. The misogyny displayed by the main character was also a bit of a personal turn-off, with his cringy “the only reason I could tell females apart from the males was that they had boobies,” and a very decided girls are icky feel to his comments on anything and everything having to do with women.
Ravyn feels very much like an adolescent boy with his fascination with sex, posturing for the men around him to prove how cool he is, the narcissism, the utter inability to read a room, and the puppy-like delight when someone pays attention top him. (He’s 26.) He’s been a soldier for over half a decade, but he has no understanding of hierarchy, obedience, subtlety, or teamwork. What he does have an understanding of is that someone else’s dick should be in his ass at all times, even if they say they’re not interested and brush his hand away. He’s brash, vulgar, and the main character, so everything he says seems to be taken as delightful. It’s as if his jokes are the height of wit and his actions are always the right answer to the question, and he suffers absolutely zero consequence to any sign of mouthing off to his general in the portion I read.
The general in question is Dalsharan, an ancient fae warlord and sorcerer who is in charge of a rather large and powerful army, but who decides to go on a stealth mission with the attractive human because … well, because the human will need backup. And what better backup than the most important person in the army? Dalsharan’s personality feels very similar to Ravyn’s, so much so that during some conversations I couldn’t have told you which was which. They seem to have the same sense of humor, the same level of intelligence, the same style of arguing, and the same sense that Ravyn is the best and cleverest and handsomest person in the room. In no way, at any time, did Dal come across as anything other than the guy Ravyn was going to fuck; he didn’t feel like a fae, a warlord, an ancient being of power, or his own character during the part I read.
The sex between them is odd. Ravyn wants to fuck Dal at first sight, his hero worship for the powerful general leading easily to instant lust and true love. Dal takes one look at Ravyn and decides that Ravyn is the only one for him, but he won’t fuck him while he’s human. He loves everything about Ravyn once he’s a fae, and he wants Ravyn to continue being the wonderful and perfect person he is … but not in bed. In bed, Dal wants Ravyn to be quiet, obedient, and do as he’s told. And while I do understand that obedience, domination, and submission are kinks, I didn’t find it well written or well explained to Ravyn or the reader.
The writing itself is very much not to my taste. It feels like there’s no weight and no meaning to anything, with every character acting and reacting the same way to everything and the villains I was introduced to being the usual ugly compared to the beyond beautiful fae. The ease with which Ravyn did everything, from climbing the walls of a heavily fortified and guarded building to easily picking locks in a heavily guarded treasury, made it seem neither dangerous nor difficult. Nor, if I’m being honest, interesting to me.
And the comment on someone being the size of a bear — a grizzly, not a koala — really stood out, and not in a good way. Koalas are such a specific animal to choose, and having a common and uneducated soldier mention them indicates that Australia exists in this world? And is well-known enough that Ravyn, who has lived first in a small town and then in the army, is familiar with them? The world building is sloppy and haphazard and just made me tired. At 43%, I just couldn’t find it within myself to keep going. The writing, the plotting, and the characters are lacking in this portion I read. The decisions the characters make felt silly, and I didn’t think it was getting better. I’m sorry, but I cannot recommend this book; I don’t think I’m ever going to connect to this author’s style of writing or storytelling.