Saturday, September 7, 2013

Review: The Adorned by John Tristan

The Adorned
Title: The Adorned by John Tristan
Genre: M/M Romance, Fantasy 
Published August 12th 2013 by Carina Press
Length: 280 pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

My name is Etan, and I am Adorned.

A living piece of art, I exist to please the divine rulers of Kered. With nowhere to turn after my father died, I tried my luck in the capital city. Little did I know how quickly I would be robbed, beaten and forced to sell myself into servitude. But I was lucky enough to gain the attention of Roberd Tallisk, an irascible but intriguing tattoo artist who offered to mark me with enchanted ink for the enjoyment of the nobles. I was given a chance to better my station in life, and I could not refuse.

But the divine rulers want not only the art but the body that bears it. In their company I can rise above the dregs of society and experience a life most only dream of, at the cost of suffering their every desire as a pawn in games of lavish intrigue. Their attention is flattering, but I find I'd rather have Tallisk's. 

Caught between factions, I learn that a revolution is brewing, one that could ruin Kered—and Roberd and myself along with it…


I can only describe this book as epic. I think the author has outdone himself and this story is a masterpiece.This is a compelling story with themes coming of age, unexpected love, and a changing era. This story has all the elements of an epic story with magic thrown in.

With no money and prospects, Etan takes a chance by selling himself and becoming an Adorned, a beautiful person with Blooded magic tattooed into their skin meant to please the elites of the Blooded society. As he becomes accustomed to Blooded society, he slowly falls for his tattoo artist, Roberd, and dreams to become an artist himself. Before their plans can be finalized, the revolution to overthrow the Blooded rule and era arrives at their front door.

I love the concept of the Adorned and the secrecy surrounding it, then Etan gradually uncovers more about how to be and act like an Adorned. The secondary characters are memorable and truly supports the story. The writing makes the reader form connections and piece together parts of the secondary characters' stories, to know the best and the worse of these people.

The story follows Etan every step of the way from when he arrives at the capital to his life after the revolution. He's innocent about city ways and keeps bumbling along until he gets used to his role as an Adorned. His emotions transcends from the pages and grabs the reader. After reading his story, Etan has become a legendary character to me. He is not a traditional hero; he didn't save the world or anything. But his struggle, decisions, and strength of character won me over.

While Etan and Roberd's romance is subtle, it suited the overall tone of the book. The only complaint I have is some parts of the writing is confusing because of its style, so I had to reread to understand what happened. Also, since there are three major cultures in this world, when references to their respective religions were mentioned, it was confusing. Otherwise, it is an magnificent book. I highly recommend this for people that love tattoos, M/M romance, and an epic story. I would definitely check out other books by this author as well. 

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