As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Review: Atone – J. C. Owens

Atone - J.S. Owens

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Tony

Get It On Amazon

About The Book

Tal finally had it all…until the man he loved abandoned him.

Once, Tal Oryan was an elite warrior, fighting for the kingdom at the side of the powerful general who loved him. Then Tal loses everything in a haze of pain and betrayal after his hand is severed in battle. Now labeled a “cripple” and cast out from the warrior life he’s known for so long, he has no choice but to return to his past, a place of horror and guilt. He can no longer stay in the capital after High General Ramidine Swal, the man who once claimed him, never shows up after Tal is wounded. Worst of all, the priceless sword Ramidine once gifted to Tal is gone. Now Tal struggles to find a new purpose as the traumatic events in his past demand the most brutal of sacrifices…

Ramidine Swal is known as The Golden General, feared, revered, and the right-hand man to the prince. But when he returns from a desperate victory to Tal, the wounded warrior he was forced to leave behind, he discovers that Tal has fled the capital. Ramidine soon learns of a twisted cover-up and a betrayal so dark it threatens not only the future peace but the very man he loves. Ramidine is not a man to be stolen from, and certainly not someone so precious as Tal. He is determined to find Tal and set things right, no matter the distance and no matter the cost. Tal will be his again.

Reader note: this gay fantasy romance contains intense emotional elements and male male love

The Review

Atone is a tale of many things: a love story between two men on different social levels as well as ages; the need to atone for something in the past; the subjugation of a race of people; war and its resolution; the abuse of power and position; and so much more. That may seem a lot, but it is all really well handled to produce an engrossing story of the golden general’s love for a subordinate and his quest to regain his man, who is a victim of jealousy and prejudice.

The golden general, the High General Ramidine Swal, and his army the Chitosos, are engaged with a dangerous enemy at their border. While he is away, his lover Tal is lying injured in a field hospital. Ramidine is loved by his men and takes advantage of that by taking whoever he fancies to his bed. The men seem to vie for such attention so you can tell this story is set in some fantasy world.

Still, this is one of the least questionable activities going on. When he selects Tal Oryan for a bit of abuse of his position, his life choices are going to change, as they do for Tal. When Tal goes missing, Rami starts to fall apart. But no more spoilers. 

This is a definite page turner, with so many things hanging in the balance. Any one of them failing could lead to a very dark outcome for the two men.. There is not a lot of explicit sex going on which, is a plus for me. I’m not a fan of off-the-peg man on man action, and we are spared that here. What we do get is an explosive union fairly early on, which leaves us wanting more. It verges a little on the abusive side without being too explicit, but it feels right under the circumstances.

Yeah, I know, I’m a contradiction. Good sex is readable; generic sex is skippable.

What isn’t skippable is this book. Do yourself a favour and read it!

The Reviewer

Tony is an Englishman living amongst the Welsh and the Other Folk in the mountains of Wales. He lives with his partner of thirty-six years, four dogs, two ponies, various birds, and his bees. He is a retired lecturer and a writer of no renown but that doesn’t stop him enjoying what he used to think of as ‘sensible’ fantasy and sf. He’s surprised to find that if the story is well written and has likeable characters undergoing the trails of life, i.e. falling in love, falling out of love, having a bit of nooky (but not all the time), fending off foes, aliens and monsters, etc., he’ll be happy as a sandperson who has just offloaded a wagon of sand at the going market price. As long as there’s a story, he’s in. He aims to write fair and honest reviews. If he finds he is not the target reader he’ll move on. 

Join Our Newsletter List, Get 4 Free Books

File Type Preferred *
Privacy *
Queer Sci Fi Newsletter Consent *
Please consider also subscribing to the newsletters of the authors who are providing these free eBooks to you.
Author Newsletter Consent *
Check your inbox to confirm your addition to the list(s)