“Cain crafts a vivid world ... rich with detail and myth-lore that traipses brightly through the darker themes of oppression and suffering.” —BookLife Reviews
Queer Grimdark Fantasy: Finn is no hero, chosen born, or noble. Despite escalating tensions from the Dayigan soldier’s occupation of Feah lands, the happy-go-lucky twenty-five-year-old is content to spend his days fishing and flirting with the other men in his Celtic-like village. But everything changes at their midyear’s eve festival when an angry Dayigan commander catches Finn in the arms of another man. Suddenly framed for murder, he must flee his village or face death.
However, Finn isn’t the Dayigans’ only target. They believe all Feahs are wicked and intend to destroy them by any means necessary. The Feahs’ one hope of stopping the reign of terror is to find a relic forged by dark faeries and able to control chaos magic—and claim it to protect themselves. With the fate of the Feah lands resting on his shoulders, Finn seeks out sorcerers who practice ancient, forbidden magic.
Instead, he finds love with the handsome but fierce head of the sorcerers—and a power he never knew he could possess.
But when the Dayigans strike, can Finn harness the perilous magic to save his people without losing himself in the process?
When Finn finds himself wrongly accused of murder by a Dayigan soldier, he's forced to flee the only home he’s ever known, desperately seeking the Feah’s previous Chief Morgana, who he hopes can save his kind from the religiously fervent, xenophobic, and intolerant Dayigans. Finn, a flawed young man, doesn’t stop from blundering forward to do what’s right, no matter the cost to himself, and he’s joined by a small army of elegantly drawn secondary characters, including his brother, Cal, and standout Laisren, a childhood friend and son of Morgana who develops a gentle, and welcome, romance with Finn—a relationship that adds tenderness to the story’s otherwise vicious foundation.
Cain crafts a vivid world built around coming-of-age and man-vs-self tropes, a world rich with detail and myth-lore that traipses brightly through the darker themes of oppression and suffering. The Feah stand to lose everything, and Cain’s painstaking examination of the characters’ mental states gives readers a window into their anguish at the cost to protect their way of life. Depicting the brutal Dayigans as blatant, Christianity-derived acolytes may be off-putting to some readers, but that discomfort only serves to spark deeper reflection on the story’s nuances.
Takeaway: A dark fantasy embodying the power of love and sacrifice.
Great for fans of: Mercedes Lackey; Emily Lloyd-Jones’s The Drowned Woods.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
eARCs of the LGBT+ dark fantasy, Thorns of Chaos, are now available for review through Netgalley.
“Cain crafts a vivid world ... rich with detail and myth-lore that traipses brightly through the darker themes ...” —BookLife Reviews