So, I had this really awesome (and yes, long) review already written but wouldn't you know, I accidentally refreshed the page and poof! No more review. *sigh*
Anyways, the blurb is pretty detailed on what happens in the story. Almost exactly, in fact. I'm actually glad I didn't read the blurb before I started the book or else I might have been annoyed with that. Either way, I think this book would have benefited better if it were separated into two books instead of just one. The first book possibly about Sarna and Nal finally pursuing a relationship and the injury Nal obtains and how he copes with that. The second book, I felt, should have been about the arranged marriage Nal went through because of his sense of duty and the toll it takes on Nal and Sarna as well as anything that happened during Nal's time in marriage and afterward. As it was, everything is just in one book and because of that, I felt like the story wasn't as complete as I would have liked it to be especially since it covered over a century and more of Nal and Sarna's lives.
For one, something really terrible happens to Nal. It's not as bad as the blurb makes it sound and I was actually kind of disappointed in that because it had such a huge impact on Nal and because it had such a huge impact, I was hoping to experience the trials he went through in trying to heal. I would have liked to read about the PTSD he had afterward, to know how he overcame the shame, self-loathing and self-hatred he had and how exactly Sarna was able to help him through it. Unfortunately, we don't get that type of information.
Most of the book (roughly 75%) revolves around what Sarna and Nal go through to finally be together when they are still young (in their twenties). Maybe fifteen percent of the book is dedicated to Nal, his arranged marriage with Maya and the hurt and pain Sarna causes Nal because of Nal's obligationMaybe 30 years after Sarna and Nal become lovers. During the time Nal finds out his bride has been born is when he breaks off his intimate relatioinship with Sarna. Sarna, being his bastard self, decides to hurt Nal in the most painful way by blatantly displaying his fuck-buddy relationship with another elf, Tyrnus. Sarna rubbed it in Nal's face for seventeen years that he had another lover and really hurt Nal during that time making Nal feel extremely depressed and alone. While Nal and Sarna are technically broken up, this still felt like cheating to me on Sarna's part. Mainly because Sarna and Nal made kind of this whole production about only being with each other (with the exception of Maya) and Sarna apparently didn't give a shit about that even though he knew how much it pissed Nal off when Sarna had been with someone else before Nal. It's not cheating but it felt like cheating to me. I could forgive Nal having to marry Maya but I couldn't forgive Sarna for sleeping with Tyrnus for seventeen years all just so Sarna could hurt Nal. I didn't like that part and it made me not like Sarna all that much after that either. The last ten percent of the book is like an epilogue. It shows Nal and Sarna after Maya's death, a little more than 50 years after the arranged marriage started, and how their lives are happy now that they are truly together for good.
I enjoyed the characters because together they are like one person. Where Sarna is angry, mean and uncaring, Nal is the exact opposite. He's calm, in control and polite. What Sarna lacks, Nal has and what Nal lacks, Sarna makes up for. The world intrigued me. There was all these different words and things that I found fascinating and wanted to know more of especially the elements their powers revolved around. I've always loved Elemental books.
While I enjoyed it, though, I felt it lacked a lot of things. The world was interesting, there's no doubt that, but it wasn't as developed for someone like me who thrives on fantasy world-building. I wanted more descriptions on things instead of the vague information given. I wanted to know everything about these elves. How their powers worked, what their cultures were like, more information on social standings and true mates. I had a lot of questions that unfortunately were never answered. I wanted to experience the hardship Nal goes through after a power hungry elf ice-whips him and tries to rape him. I wanted to understand Maya more and how Nal was able to live with Maya's infidelity and the constant reminder that he raised a child that wasn't his and I especially wanted to see the 'discussion' him and Maya had about seeing other lovers and how an immature, bratty, seventeen year old Maya took that news..
Overall, the biggest fault with this book is the lack of depth and development with certain issues. The world and characters are fascinating. It held my attention through most of the book, although there were a few parts that dragged. I wanted more, though, especially when he came to Nal's healing. I still liked it and I'll continue reading the series as it progresses (unless there's girly bits). I do have to ask, what does Arcanus mean? That is the series name but I have no idea what it means and it bugged me a bit through the whole book because I couldn't find the connection between the story and the series name. Lol