This was an unpleasant surprise to me. I love Greek mythology and when I hear that the authors of gay romances weave mythology in their stories, I usually buy those stories. If I hear that the author manages the unusual interpretation of the well known story, I am even happier reader.
I never thought that I would say that but an interpretation of Phoenix in this story is *too* unusual for me. So unusual that it made me hate Tallis and the more I read the more I wanted to twist his pretty neck and kill him.
The story is very well written and I cannot stress it strongly enough that my dislike is due to the story itself, not how it was written, structured, paced. I thought writing was very good.
I just hated Tallis. I was not convinced that he has to do what he had to do to survive, as far as I was concerned to me he came out as selfish creep and that is PAINFUL if you remember that we are talking about Phoenix here, of all creatures of mythology and if you remember what is Phoenix's main features. It is even more painful because those features of Phoenix (well known ones) are weaved in this story too, but it created even worse dissonance for me, because it just did not mesh for me with what Tallis did to those guys.
I was not convinced at all that they were offered a choice, more like hypnotised into submission. And for them I was sad, not for Tallis.
Artemis was a fun character, I liked him, I liked his struggles, it was quite enjoyable, unfortunately I hated Tallis too much to care about what happens to Artemis