In this sequel to the acclaimed Caged, the pirates are dragged into a dangerous new world by Captain Baltsaros’s all-consuming obsession. In the midst of terror and chaos, Jon learns that the captain and first mate have been keeping secrets from him. But will the truth tear them apart?
I actually have to keep this review pretty general, if I didn’t it would be, hold on, let me check to see how many pages are in this book . . . 380. So my review would be that x 2. I’d be mostly rambling because trying to navigate the mind fuckery would take at least that and more to explain. The first three chapters were the perfect way to start Book 2 in this series. The back and forth for each character filled in blanks, gave reminders and made me anxious to get going on this adventure. That being said, I’m actually not going to say a lot about the adventure. You have to go into it without any preconceived ideas of what’s coming, because the absolute crazy ass stress about the whole thing is half the fun.
This is an example of my rambling notes and thoughts – obviously taken out of any context but you’ll get the idea:
Tom has never had any power sexually and now he does? Maybe? It’s scary. Scary to him, confusing to Baltsaros and arousing to Jon. Baltsaros is the only person Tom ever sought out. Did Baltsaros ever really understand that gift he had been given? Or maybe he did, hence the guilt. Or maybe he only did once he had Jon. Or maybe I just have no fucking clue, should stop taking random notes and get back to the reading.
So, Ann, conflicted much? Conflicted yes, confused no. There was a lot going on but it was so well done it kept the angst from being the story and the marrying of the adventure with the evolution of their relationship dynamics was fascinating.
Sacrificed really explores the relationship between Tom and Jon. I loved it and it was everything that each of them needed. But, it wasn’t complete without Baltsaros and something is off with the Captain. And, I don’t mean his usual “off” self, but something is changing, he’s hiding something and for fuck’s sake I had no clue. I pretty much wanted to strangle him so many times! It’s bad enough that they can’t explain how they feel to one another because they don’t even understand it themselves, but throw in there some kind of plan the Captain has in his head and there is no way to figure out what’s coming. Now, take all that and put them in a situation that could end with them all dead in pretty horrific ways and you’ve got yourself a story to power read.
What I find incredibly brilliant about this series so far is the fluid dynamics with the three main characters. Their “roles” were pretty well established after book 1, but it was all still pretty new and really could have gone in any number of directions. Book 2 takes all that and chucks it out the porthole. The perceived roles are still there, but the evolution of the characters as they grow and change is well written and flows organically making it easy, yet sometimes painful, to follow. Because they do change, they change a lot and it’s totally believable. It makes me see the effect each one has on the other, both good and bad.
These three have their perceptions of themselves that are not wholly accurate. Perceptions of each other, also not accurate and perceptions of what they think the other believes of him. These guys are mind fucked before they even leave their bed in the morning. Jon really does change everything and he sees more than Tom and Baltsaros are capable of. Jon knows that the other two are scared; scared of being vulnerable and scared of being broken. Neither of them thinks so and in their misguided attempts to protect Jon, they end up pissing him off instead. Well, turns out a pissed off Jon is a very bad thing. He’s become much more “pirate” living his new life and while it was a big change from when he first came aboard Baal’s Heart I think it was a necessary maturity in him to survive in this new life.
Jon also is the catalyst for the evolution in the relationship between Tom and Baltsarsos. He’s changed them both and he’s really screwed up their perception of ‘normal’. The two of them have been pouring the love and protective feelings onto Jon because they can’t do it with each other. That was the piece that was missing. Jon has become the glue that keeps them together, but he is also the one person keeping them apart. Not because of anything he’s done, but because of the fucked up perceptions in Tom and Baltsaros’ brains. Baltsaros’ brain is the wild card in this one and while Tom is his outlet for his evil and Jon is his outlet for his tender side, the lines are getting blurry and are starting to cross. What’s funny is that when they do have a pretty reasonable feeling like jealousy or protectiveness they think that feeling is somehow wrong and they try to bury it.
So yeah, conflicted. But seriously, in the best and most fascinating of ways.
Before I just end with, “Why the actual fuck aren’t you reading this yet?” I have to take a sentence or two to talk about Tom. Tom, the completely brilliant and insightful sexy beast with the scarred body and the ocean eyes, Goddammit he’s awesome. He can distill a situation into a sentence that makes so much sense on every level. He doesn’t over think, he just knows. He knows how to deal with Jon and Baltsaros better than anyone he knows how to survive. I love that as the story continues he’s really owning his strengths and letting them play out. He was completely intriguing in book 1, but now he’s my hero.
I don't know how to convey my joy that is in my marrow for "Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires", book # 2 of the Baal's Heart series. Forget that I thoroughly love pirates. Forget that a hero with a damaged heart, mind and/or soul will always call to me.
These words from this story are filled with so much heart, passion and love of well fleshed out characters, I can't not rave about them. When an excellent, well plotted story is delivered like this one, I always get a loss of words. I could discuss the book all day. I would rant and rave about the characters for days. Fan girl gush: There was dirty talk with a few of my favorite words in a scene!
“Does it occur to you that maybe you've burned me out? That I no longer care whether what you spout is truth or lie?”The second book in the trilogy is hands down one of my top five reads of the year. And surprise, surprise, so is its predecessor, Caged. (See the review of book #1, in case your interested - it is not suggested for you to read out of order) This is a book that will not be for everyone, it's dark. Darker than book #1 and if you're put off by kink [breath play, blood play, wax play, mind fuckery] or have triggers: attempted rape and violence, then I wouldn't suggest this.
Bey Deckard has written quite the follow up to one of the best triads I've ever read. Jon, the empath virgin who was alone for most his life, Tom, the damaged first hand that is quick with a fist and Baltsaros, the evil captain that can't help being possessive of his boys. This is how I picture a triangle to be, there are intimacies between the three and sometimes a branch of two men, jealousies and a bond that can't be denied.
“Yes, fine. Savvy,” she muttered.Sacrificed could be considered a character study of each main character. I got all that I asked for in my first review and then some:
“Aw lovey, yer a fine-lookin’ woman, it’s not that,” Tom said apologetically. “All jokin’ aside, if it ain’t the captain, or it ain’t Jon…” He shrugged again. “There just ain’t anyone else.”
-more kink (see above)
-keep that adventure coming (this was pirating and fantasy-gasm adventure)
-more info on Baltsaros (we got more info into that dark and devious mind)
-more of Tom (I am floating from the gift, wonder and character that is Tom. Thank you Bey!)
My list has been answered, my kinky pirates have upped the game tenfold. This book was intense. Consider book #1 to be the foundation of an awesome tale, book #2 is crafting the titanium house. The men have grown: Baltsaros is learning to be a human, Tom is learning to open himself for more than Baltsaros and Jon is learning how to be a man (he makes some mistakes but who doesn't?) The boys aren't 100% set in their ways as yet, there are fluid parts about them but you can not deny they make each other stronger.
“Tom reached out and let his knuckles graze Jon’s arm, a hidden touch just to ground him for the span of a heartbeat. Maybe Jon would turn a blind eye. Maybe they’d continue to live in denial that they both loved a fucking monster.
Jon smiled at the brief caress, and Tom felt his chest get tight.”If Caged was more about Jon and Baltsaros, this book is definitely more about Jon and Tom (I so wanted to learn more about this side of the triangle - not disappointed) We travel to beyond the Spires, to a bloodthirsty land with a mystery behind it. The groundwork laid in Caged comes together. The suspense is subtle but intense, the action even more so. I don't want to spoil all the good parts, so I'll quit before I spill.
Highly recommended - this is why I read for stories like this. I have high hopes for book #3:
- learning about Baltsaros
I can't believe this author started publishing this year, this book is more fine tuned and effortless. I hope there are more stories to come from him and it doesn't end. *hint hint*
Book #1 made me propose to the author. This book is like a honeymoon and vow renewal all in one.