Finally a fantasy that does not have a teenaged princess or a dragon or a unicorn or fairies or all the other things we've gotten used to. This is also definitely an adult romance with a touch of spice.
We have a world where the old gods were real, but have for the most part left. Behind them are people and creatures with and without magic. Most of the people are normal humans and here they are mostly background. We are not too concerned with them in this book. I suspect they will figure more in later stories in this series. Here we only care about two groups of more magical folk: Charmers and Assassins.
Charmers are concerned with the magical creatures, called beasts, left behind. Beasts are dangerous to people if they are allowed to roam the countryside wild. Charmers tame these beasts and move them to a place where they are safe and away from regular people.
Assassins are a different sort of magic. They were created by the death god just before the gods left. They are alive and control shadows, but they are more than just that.
I said this is also an adult romance. Leena, the Charmer, and Noc, the Assassin, are a star-crossed, or maybe more correctly, a god-crossed couple. She is in exile and he has a curse. These are things that must be overcome before they can truly be a couple. The heart of this story is how they solve their immediate problems and get started on their happy ever after.
I liked this fantasy very much. The characters are wrapped up in their lives. The magic is logical within the constraints of the story. Enough was left to make a second or more volume desirable without leaving important parts of this story unfinished. I am waiting for the second book.
The copy of this book I read for this review came from BookishFirst. I also had a copy on NetGalley and I received one from Fresh Fiction.