Picture the Old West. Not some sanitized, idealized version, but a dirty, gritty Old West with massacres in the name of expansion, hookers with hearts-of-lead, and gunmen versus lawmen where both are merciless killers.
Now, picture this in an alternate universe where the theocratic settlers are armed with magic and have systematically conquered the entire world.
Got all that? Okay. Now… picture a romance tossed into this mix.
Still with me?
Ashleigh Trine is arrested for treason, i.e. writing pamphlets criticizing the government; Kieran Trevarde is arrested for drug trafficking and multiple murder. They’re both thrown into a prison that doubles as a magical research facility and end up relying on each other through both the cutthroat prison fights and the experiments to which they’re subjected. The connection between them only grows as they discover why each of them have been singled out by the theocracy—and the ghosts of gods long dead.
Both characters grow naturally, Ashleigh getting progressively stronger and Kieran progressively more human, and their world is richly detailed. There are some of the usual problems associated with an author’s first novel, but not many. Dark, funny, tragic, and fluffy all at the same time, this is an unusual blend of genres and styles, and Hajicek makes it work.