Deserts conjure up images of desolate wastelands, sparsely populated with vegetation or life. In this world, not only is this accurate, it is also a depressing place of soul destroying elements. Temar Grazer is a young man who makes a youthful mistake of trusting the wrong people one time too many. He follows his sister's foolish plan only to find himself enslaved. His proof of corruption is stricken from his hands and he is left in a world where good and bad seem to have been flipped. And there is no one who will pull him from the depths of this violent hell.
Ms. Gala is one of the authors who creates intricate characters. Few are exactly who they seem to be. The main characters are flawed. She even spends time on secondary characters to ensure they are just as complicated. From a character building perspective, this book is amazing. The way Temar and Shan have to overcome great odds and how the people they turn to are not as expected is delightful and keeps a reader on their toes. This is not to say that every character in this book is different than their initial appearance. Some are exactly as they appear to be which is what makes this story captivating. What will happen next and who will be the one to make the next move?
The villains in this story are clever for the most part and play their strategy well. It's a chess game where the loser will be wiped out of existence. This plot driven story balances out the mediocre world building. The attention is all on how Temar is treated and what he uncovers.
The sex in this book is complicated with baggage and pitfalls. It is a Ms. Gala story so there are no easy sex relationships. What a reader can depend upon is rape and conflicted desires. Ms. Gala sets it all up well and it makes a reader wince. Ms. Gala perpetrates horrible acts upon her characters. She is a sadist and seems to delight in both physical and psychological torture. The fact that her tormented characters do not commit suicide is a feat. Still, the story ends in a surprising and enjoyable happily ever after. This m/m romance is recommended for dystopia lovers who revel in angst.