Review: Forest of Glass
Forest of Glass by John Tristan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sold off as a sexual slave is the strongest message a parent could give an unwanted bastard child. Leith of Calish is the Lord of the Manor's oldest child. Unfortunately for Leith, his mother is not the Lord's wife. One year, Leith's father is unable to provide the tithe required by the Fair. In exchange for riches and jewels, Lord Calish throws his son Leith at Orias, Lord of the Fair.
This is where the story begins with a naked illegitimate boy, tossed away by his own father into a world of magical beings. Orias is a Fae Lord who finds Leith intriguing, to his regret. Instead of enslaving Leith as a sex slave, he offers Leith a deal in exchange for one year of servitude. This is where kinky hopes of fae orgies and BDSM delights abound. Orias is besotted with Leith and hopes to receive devotion in return.
Mr. Tristan weaves a tale, which hints at sadistic sexual practices but never fully delivers. The illicit sex scenes are performed behind closed doors to which the reader is not an invited voyeur. The fae in this story follow the usual mythology of cruelty and not quite human behaviour. The court politics is expected and easily surmised. What is unexpected is the manner in which Leith's heart leads him. Instead of falling for the fae life, Leith is bespelled by another human – a stolen human existing as one of the last slaves. Ash is a pet of Orias's sister, Bloodless.
For every fae story, there is one ruler enamoured of the humans and wants to protect them. There is always another ruler, generally a sibling, who merely torments humans and keeps them as caged animals. Bloodless is the counterweight to Orias's humanity.
If the fae mythology in this story was fleshed out more, it would have enhanced the plot. A bit more showing of the sexual interludes rather than a summary conclusion would have set this book on fire. The character development of Leith seemed to be more focused on his inexplicable desire and love for Ash. Why was he so attracted to Ash? Why did Ash look so familiar to Leith? Is life as a guest concubine for Orais supposed to be so boring? It comes across this way as Leith tries to find something to occupy his days of doing nothing.
The story was enjoyable and the writing voice was easy to follow. It does leave the reader wanting because the anticipated sexual debauchery is muted. The build up to the conflict pointed at a dark ending. Yet the conclusion ended abruptly with a seemingly happily ever after. The lovers are not unscathed, but it feels as though they were cheated. It makes the reader wonder if there will be a sequel to this story. This m/m fantasy is recommended to fae lovers who enjoy a sensual story about forbidden love.
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