Reese is a mess who wishes for some peace…
His life gets worse after being kidnapped by traffickers. He realizes that the world is cruel and full of monsters. But he can make things right.
Cihan is a playboy who wants to make a difference…
And he plans to stop a cruise ship auctioning supernaturals against their will. He’s a billionaire, trained to be a fighter, looking for a partner who believes in his cause. But his friends never take him seriously.
One fateful night, their paths cross.
The captive meets his savior.
The warrior finds his weapon.
Will they help each other for a common goal?
I DNF’d Unburden after reading nearly 50% of the story. The grammar was all over the place, with tenses shifting from past to present, oftentimes in the same paragraph. There were also many, many, many issues of the wrong word — or even just a confusing word — being used. For example, “I simpered as [my dads] put on their comforting smiles.” Or “You don’t belong in this place. None of us are.” The mistakes were always the same type of mistakes, and it made this book almost impossible to read, because I was never able to invest in the story itself, always finding my attention snagged by the constant small errors.
Otherwise the writing is … okay. It’s very, very adverb heavy with telling rather than showing to let you know what a character is feeling, or what kind of smile they’re wearing, or with characters having information and awareness they shouldn’t, by rights, actually have. There’s also a tendency for the author to put in ten cent words that don’t quite fit with the flow or intent of the sentence or the mood of a scene. Eventually, it was just too much work to try to keep reading and I wasn’t enjoying the story enough to keep pushing through, so I chose to put it down.
So, that said, there are some good points to this story. Unfortunately, they’re somewhat overshadowed by the characters. As the blurb states, Cihan is out to rescue a boat filled with enslaved supernatural beings who are being sold at auctions, either to be killed and broken into parts for sale on the black market, used as slaves, or sold into sexual slavery where they will be abused and raped for the rest of their lives. And he’s asking his friends to help. However … his friends don’t want to help. Not because they’re bad guys — surely they’re all good guys, because the book tells us so — but they don’t like why Cihan wants to save the people. Until Cihan decides to save the angel from being sold to the demon because it’s the Right Thing To Do rather than for his own advancement and glory, they seem perfectly fine let the angel be raped, tortured, and killed. Cihan’s friends are also slut-shaming and judgmental. Cihan has taken many lovers before, but never entered into the proper, monogamous relationship, for which his friends tsk-tsk at him. Until he does find someone, until it seems like he might be in love, and then they are interested in helping.
The best part of this book, for me, was the idea of Templars (of which Cihan is one) and their Blades (of which Reese is one). Reese has had a troubled life filled with pain and angst — though, at the time I stopped reading, only a few details had emerged. His magic used that pain to crystalize into a sword that he carries within himself. A sword that only a Templar can sense and pull from him to use in their battles against evil. In this world, Excalibur, perhaps the most famous Blade, was the concentrated suffering of the Lady of the Lake, tying this story into Arthurian mythos. And it’s such a neat idea.
Cihan and Reese have little in the way of personalities in the first half of the book. Cihan is arrogant but humble, cruel but kind, soft yet strong, shifting from one to the other based upon the needs of the scene rather than actually seeming to have any nuance or character of his own. Reese goes from helpless, to avenging, to hurt and sulking, and at the time I stopped reading, was still in sulking mode. I didn’t feel as though he had been developed beyond the idea of being a Blade with a painful backstory. Even so, if this book gets a revised and updated release after having the issues fixed, I would be very interested to give it another try. But, as it is, I found it to be frustratingly unreadable.