I'm a big fan of fantasy and I've been looking for a good story in the m/m genre. I finally found it! Counterpoint is the first book in the Song of the Fallen series. This is an epic, world-building fantasy of Elves and Humans, two races who've hated each for centuries.
Although I loved the descriptive world and characters, it did take me some time to get used to the lyrical narrative style. After a few chapters it was smooth sailing.
Ayden is an 800 year old elf who can hear and feel people's emotions through song. The closest description of Ayden I think of is a Bard with magical abilities. He is strong-willed, proud, always has a quick witty come back and above all he loves his sister, Ella. Although Ayden hates humans, he is forced to cross into the their lands in order to save his sister. He fights and kills along the way and eventually Ayden and his sister are captured by the humans.
Prince Freyrik Farr, the acting King is instantly fascinated and attracted to Ayden. He is a strong and compassionate man. At the time Ayden is enslaved, Freyrik is preparing for the upcoming Surge. This was a bit confusing to me a first. I knew the Surge was an upcoming battle between the humans and the Ferals(crazed beasts) but I wasn't exactly sure the history behind the Ferals. I wanted more details. I felt the history and the relationship between the Ferals, Elves, and Humans was lacking in the beginning. It was eventually explained but I would have liked a bit more up front.
I absolutely adored the relationship between Freyrik and Ayden. And the sexual tension was off the charts! Freyrik is constantly torn between his duty and love for his people and his attraction and ever building connection to Ayden. Freyrik's people despise and want to kill Ayden. Fredrik wants nothing more than to please his people and rule fairly but how does he do this while trying to win Ayden's affections? Ayden does nothing but push Freyrik away and wants nothing to do with him. Even though Freyrik wants Ayden he never forces himself upon him. Behind closed doors Freyrik slowly falls in love with Ayden, while in public he puts up a front for his people. It's like a juggling act that slowly eats away at Freyrik.
Ayden is also constantly battling his emotions. All he wants to do is save his sister and gain their freedom. He will do anything to assure Ella's safety. In the beginning, Ayden has nothing but hatred in his heart for Freyrik and keeps him at arm's length. He doesn't understand human politics or the decisions Freyrik makes as acting King. Every move Ayden makes or insult he hurls could end up hurting Ella. However, he slowly realizes that Freyrik is an honorable and intelligent man. This confuses him and he begins to question everything he was brought up to believe. These emotional contradictions are a constant irritation for Ayden.
So, Freyrik and Ayden both have to face their prejudices and begin to look beyond their years of hatred. They both have so much to lose. How far will they go to be together and what will they have to sacrifice?