The Adorned

The Adorned - John Tristan I had a difficult time with the slavery themes here. While I knew it going in, there were a few moments of discomfort when Etan began to display his ink.

This is an interesting story with layered world-building. At times, it was confusing. Because it's first person POV, we learn about the society and life in the city through Etan's eyes. This is a double-edged sword. While it allows for us to learn, it also allows details to remain vague or obscure since Etan will never know some of the political dynamics and palace intrigue.

I'm not sure I can say I enjoyed this, but I did find it compelling. I had to push through some moments, but I wanted to get to the end. The relationship is by no means the focus of this story, and I still waiting anxiously for their HEA. The end was a whole lot of growth in ultimately not many pages. That said, I like that the pressures in society were built from the beginning and threaded throughout. I'm content with how things fell together in the end.

Recommended for anyone with more interest in the tale of a boy becoming a man than looking for a romance.