Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Guest Review: Counterpoint by Rachel Haimowitz

Rachel Haimowitz
Guiltless Pleasure Publishing, 2010

Counterpoint is book #1 in the Song of the Fallen series. The second book has the same main characters and will be released in 2011.

It is the twilight of mankind. Depleted by generations of war with a dark race, the human kingdoms and their ancient alliance stand on the brink of extinction. The outlands are soaked with the blood of the fallen. The midlands are rotting with decadence and despair.
Elfkind, estranged by past crimes, watches and waits for nature to run its course.
And then the two collide.
Ayden's life has long been guided by two emotions: love for his sister, and hatred of all things human. When he's captured in battle, he must for his sister's sake swallow his pride and endure slavery in the service of a human prince. To his dismay, this close-up view of his enemy is nothing like he expected. Now curiosity and contempt make a battlefield of his soul, even as he struggles to pick up the pieces of his shattered worldview.
Freyrik Farr, Crown Prince of Farr Province, finds his new elven prisoner puzzling. He's always known elves to be beautiful and dangerous, but never has one affected him as deeply as Ayden. Can his life of service to his people leave room for this attraction? Dancing on a dagger's edge between duty and high treason, Freyrik discovers that some choices can change a life, and some an entire world.
Between prejudice, politics, pride, and survival, Ayden and Freyrik must carve a new path, no matter how daunting. For nothing less than the fate of both their peoples rests on the power of their perseverance -- and their love.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M, Dark Fantasy, Elves, Slavery, War, Kingdoms

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames

*Review copy received from the author*

Guest review by Lis:

So. Counterpoint. Song of the Fallen. Yes that is the book. Starring Freyrik Farr, Crown Prince of Farr Province, and Ayden, Elf. Ranger and the most stubborn elf I've ever met. What to say about them? Because that is sure not an easy feat. Every now and then you encounter a book that has you puzzled and firmly on a fence with your legs swinging indecisively on either side of the fence.

So. Counterpoint. On the one hand, or should I say leg, I want to tell all the wonderful things about this book. Tell you this is a fantastic read that is definitely recommended. On the other hand or leg, I want to tell you that this book frustrated the hell out of me. That I put it away several times and that it has the shittiest ending of all endings.

When Janna asked me to review this book, I was expecting a fantasy read in the style of Lord of the Rings or Feist' Magician. Only with gay characters of course. It's not. It's fantasy, but it is something different and more darker than your average high fantasy read. It is something to be appreciated. Thought went into creating the dark fantasy setting and the themes in this book.

The main characters, Freyrik and Ayden are stereotypes as characters – with Freyrik as the king/temporary ruler/master with a compassionate nature and Ayden as the slave stubbornly holding on to his sense of self and freedom and his prejudices at the same time – and they are not, because both characters do things that that don't belong to their stereotype but uniquely to the character itself. The supporting characters are only there to play a role, but somehow it seems fitting for this story. In the end it is all about Freyrik and Ayden. Not Freyrik the rules and warrior and Ayden the elf, ranger and now slave.

The author has a way with words and she weaves a long and intriguing story with several turns and ups and downs. She takes her time for Freyrik to win Ayden's trust and for Ayden to overcome some of his prejudices and adjust to his new situation of being a (bed)slave. I loved Ayden's wit. This is something I talked about before, but sometimes authors don't give their characters a unique voice and they speak/talk the same as all the other characters in the story. While in real life everyone has their own little quirks in speech. Words we like to use over others. This author mastered that well.

What has me fence sitting is in part the sense of doom that is always present in this story and the romance that isn't quite yet a romance because it starts fairly late in the story and is in the end underdeveloped because, yes, the ending. Gah! That would be my biggest problem. Here you go writing an extensive story that you know can't be fitted into one book and you just have to stop there?! And of course, make us wait more than a year for the sequel? Not fair missy! It's like walking down the road, trying to find your way, when suddenly the road is gone. This bothered me more than the violent scene at the end that pissed me of to no end and made me ashamed of being human. It actually made me put aside the book till curiosity didn't kill the cat, but me, almost.

So. Counterpoint. I'm still fence sitting here. Therefore if you truly want to know what this review is all about, you just have to pick the book up yourself!

Rachel Haimowitz’s weblog | on Goodreads | on Twitter
Buy Counterpoint here



  1. this book sounds intriging, I want to read more but book link is broken :(

  2. They are really kissing those two *stares at them for a while*

  3. @zeraka: You're right, the link was broken, sorry for that. I repared it. :) Enjoy.

    @Blodeuedd: Are you still staring dear? ;D

  4. @Lis: I'm not sure if I warned you about the ending. But the author reassured me the sequel will have a super HEA at the end though. :) Hopefully it'll be worth the wait, hon! I think - with my heart and obsessive need for HEA endings - I better wait a bit before I read this book (until Fall of 2011 approximately). ;D
    Thanks for the review, Lis!

  5. I read part of the book, then happened to hear that the book's a bit of a cliffhanger. Knowing that would put me off the book entirely, I opted to stop reading. When the second book comes out, I'll read them both as a single work. :)

    I know exactly what you mean about the sense of doom looming! O.O

  6. Zeraka: the book is definitely intruiging and worth the read. Just don't say I didn't warn you!

    B.: yes, they are kissing! You can stop staring now!

    Janna: you warned me, but I didn't think it would be that bad! And I don't mind no HEA, but this is just a wrong cut. And you're welcome :-)

    Chris: hahaha good decision!

  7. tnx for fixing!

    yeah I actually come from fantasy side more then the romance, so ending like that is not unusal in series. and I love dark fantasy. I think I'll read this one and see.

    oh hey they even have a cool contest for Amazon on it but only today ^^

    (sorry for my english, it's not my mother tongue.)

  8. Great review, Lis! And I'm so glad to see you mention the cliffy HEA. I'm the same way with obsessively needing a HEA, so if I can break through my m/m hang up, this book is on my list. It does sound really interesting!

  9. Zeraka: I always say, you never know how good or how bad a book is until you try it. Though it is harder with ebooks to try and find a good read!

    Tanya: thanks! A book doesn't always have to have a HEA just a good ending!

  10. Thanks for the honest review. I have to tell you that the cover is what caught my eye. It's fantastic! Although, I'm big on the HEA ending, so I may need to keep this one on the "fence."


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