Author: Xenia Melzer
Publisher: DSP Publications
Rating: 3.5 stars
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: All is fair in love and war. Renaldo has lived happily by that proverb his entire life. But he has finally met his match, and he’s about to discover how unfair love and war can be.
When demigod and warlord Lord Renaldo takes a beautiful stranger captive during an ambush, he is delighted to have found a distraction that will keep him entertained during the upcoming siege. Little does he know, Casto is keeping more than just one secret from him. Slowly, Renaldo gets sucked into a turbulent roller-coaster relationship with his mysterious prisoner, one that begins with hatred and soon spirals into a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. And when it seems that things can get no worse, an old enemy stirs right in the heart of his home.
Determined to keep Casto by his side, Renaldo has to find a balance between the capricious young man and his own destiny as a ruler and god to his people.
Review: Casto is the story of two brothers created by the mothers to help out people on earth. Due to some lack of loyalty the brothers hearts are ripped from them and sent out into the world. The reasoning for this is punishment to the people because the brothers won’t be as powerful as they once were. Their hearts are people who have to find their way back to them according to prophecy. Along their journey they will also be joined by warriors they’ll need. In this book a few have found the god brothers. One has found his heart. The other, Renaldo, still waits for his. Problem is nobody can stand to be with him for long. He’s beautiful but he has a temper. A few nights in his bed and they’re sent away. In this world there are also witches, demons and probably anything the author wishes to create as the series continues.
Casto is captured and enslaved by of the God of War, Renaldo. He takes him as his personal slave in hopes of bedding him and getting him to join his army. Casto and his amazing horse Lys are fierce in battle but have much to learn. Casto hates being a slave to Renaldo but knows he has to bide his time to escape. During this time Renaldo woos his slave as he thinks he should. Which isn’t in any way something Casto wants. They fight and push each other every chance they get. Eventually the tension boils over into lust. Neither man wants to admit what they’ve found with the other which leads to tons of problems. Both men are hot heads and blow up frequently which leads to lots and lots of sex because they get off on it. Probably too much for me personally. I never really warmed up to the slave kink in this book. The chosen slaves are treated more fairly than some but they’re still slaves and their masters love to point it out frequently. That’s just how this world is. I get it. I just never really felt comfortable with it personally. In this regard I understood Casto’s resistance strongly.
This book has a big list of characters of which we get multiple POVs and back stories. I think at times this slowed down the pace of the story but it does help you understand everyone’s role a little better. There’s no real warning when a POV changes so you just have to figure it all out as you go. I was most intrigued by Casto and how his past will come into play. Which we still don’t know but there are hints that it’ll be something big that ties into the baddie lurking in wait to kill the brothers. Casto never tells his lover and Master Renaldo who he really is. You get a big info dump in the very beginning of how the world came to be. It was a lot to take in initially but some things click later in the story. Some don’t. I don’t think you really have to absorb it all to follow.
Most of this book is Casto and Renaldo and their power struggle between getting the balance of their master slave relationship right. It’s a balance of Casto staying who he is but also being able to submit to Renaldo so they can be together. Both men have to adjust to make it work. I can’t say I loved this book. It was kind of all over the place with huge blow ups around every turn. The hints of what’s to come were the most compelling part of the story. People who love the slave master kink should enjoy this book as that plays a huge role in the way of their people. There was some interesting world building going on. Lots of character struggle. Tons of warrior angst! It was a pretty interesting read. Now that their relationship feels more stable hopefully the next book will focus on whatever is waiting in the wings to destroy the God and his mate because that’s what I’d most like to read about in this world.