First and foremost readers need to know this story is about teenagers, boys at the age of 17. While there is no sex, they do kiss a few times and get a bit frisky. Eiland is the son of a healer while Charon is a homeless Cursed boy. These two could not be more different but what they find in each other is ultimately acceptance and affection. When they first meet, there's attraction but that attraction swiftly dies when Charon takes Eiland away from his home against his will. A good portion of the book Eiland is scared and angry with Charon while Charon is a mix of angry bitterness. Because Charon is Cursed, he can have and take anything he wants whether it's people, food, clothing or even hurt people if he wants. Everyone is afraid of the Cursed because they can curse others to be like them which would lead to a life of pain, anger and bitterness.
What I loved about this book was the way it was told. Eiland is the sole narrator and his awe and experience at everything him and Charon encountered was very interesting to me. He was such a sheltered boy that he's never had to worry about people hating or being disgusted by him like Charon does. I loved how his emotions were so tricky and fluctuated from being angry to sympathetic to upset to even aroused. The journey Charon takes Eiland on is rough because not only are they in the wilderness, walking weeks on end to a mysterious destination, but Eiland has to watch Charon go through his Agony which is brutal for Eiland who has such a soft heart he could never not help a person in need. The way Charon treats Eiland at times is cruel because of the way Eiland fears him.
It's really hard to describe this book without giving too many spoilers or being confusing. As I said, the story is not focused on the romance part even if it ends with that. The story is focused on Eiland overcoming everything he knows about the world and understanding it, finding himself in the process and helping Charon find who he is. The only thing wrong with the story is the lack of details in some instances. I was confused on what exactly a Cursed one was and what an Agony is even though it's shown. You don't exactly know why the Cursed were originally cursed or why the Gods 'gifted' them with it.
In the end, this was truly a remarkable story. I'm not exactly sure why it is called Timshel but this story intrigued me and made me want more. It's not a traditional story at all and is completely original as far as I can tell. I would truly love to see how Charon and Eiland are and how they're surviving in a sequel because I feel like their adventures are just starting now that they've finally accepted each other truly.