Windbrothers by Sean Michael
Torquere Press
Gay Fantasy
ISBN: 193416688X, 978-1934166888
Reviewed by Cassie

   

 

Surial Banshinaree was banished by his father and sent to the land of Azize.  A hot desert land in which he looks after the familyís business concerns.  He is unhappy, with few friends and a dislike for the ways of his adopted home.  One day at the dog races, he inadvertently wins a slave, Kade.  Despite Surialís dislike for the practice of slavery, he canít send Kade to be sold and be mistreated again, so he keeps the man. 

Kade, who was a warrior of his tribe, begins working in Surialís stables, caring for the horses and vacillating between the hope for freedom and sinking into the despair of slavery.  Surial and Kade slowly form a friendship of sorts, despite their differing stations and cultures.  Will their friendship sustain them when dark forces conspire against Surial?

Windbrothers is an incredibly difficult book to describe.  When I first began reading the story, I had a hard time getting into the fantasy world Sean Michael constructed.  Some of the unfamiliar words and titles were confusing, and I had trouble keeping track of some of the rarely mentioned characters.  Once I was able to immerse myself, though, I discovered it was well worth the effort.  This book was far from a traditional romance, yet I enjoyed it immensely.  Both Surial and Kade are very well drawn characters.  They each had richly drawn histories and cultures, especially Kade.  Despite their differences, the two men shared longing for their families and homes, and strong senses of honor.  Their growing emotional connection was beautiful to read, and their friendship sustained them through many trials. 

Overall, Windbrothers was a lovely story with good world building, fantastic characterization, and a great deal of emotion.  The summary I gave doesnít even scratch the surface of the detailed plot of the book.  The twists and turns of the story kept me interested all the way to the end.  I do have to include a couple of disclaimers to this review, however.  While I enjoyed this story very much, it is not like most of Sean Michaelís other work.  Anyone expecting a lot of hot sex will be disappointed.  There is no consummationónot even a kiss!  There is, however, an emotional connection and the possibility of more in a future installment of what seems likely to be a series.  The other issue I noticed was the violence in the story.  There are some fairly graphic scenes with the villain that may bother some readers.  Although they clearly established the sheer evilness of the villain, a couple of them were a bit much.  Still, donít let those minor issues stop you from reading this story.  I hope Mr. Michael is working on a sequel because I canít wait to see what happens next!

     

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