4.5 stars. I really enjoyed this follow up to The Spoils of War. We see how confused and torn Micah is about his place in the world, Eli's love and the extent of his magic only he knows exists. We are captive to his insecurities given the degradation he suffered through while he was captured under Xerxes. Eli can read him fairly well but does sometimes make some mistakes (including with the tutor). Micah's thoughts are at times torn and painful in how he views himself. We really only get the story from Micah's viewpoint.
This book has a ton of hot loving - which I enjoyed because it helped Micah settle into his love of Eli and that Eli loved him unconditionally. That unconditional love took until the end of the book for him to truly believe. Eli was wonderful, always patient and loving to Micah. Giving him what he needed rather than always what Micah wanted. There was never any doubt to Eli's love, even to Micah. Micah just struggled if whether he deserved that love. We also see how Micah would fight for anything related to Eli. A very sexy and loving scene involved Micah turning the tables on Eli and Eli happily allowing it. Micah's magic emerged in spectacular scene showing how he desired Eli.
Like Eli recognized, Micah hid behind is inability to speak because it became clear although he was rusty, the ability was there. I loved vocal Micah, although I continued to love how he could speak through his facial expressions so clearly :)
We get to know Micah's family a little and a touch of Eli's. The scene with Micah's namesake and the goat was particularly powerful and Eli's comments on the grass were full of insight in how he knew Micah. Micah's capture was powerfully written and raw. I cringed for Micah on those pages.
The only thing that knocks this down for me was the ending. I really wished there would have been a few more paragraphs to end it. A few weeks or months later with Micah tending to goats with his hair growing back and Eli making love to him near a barley field. If there is a chance of a book 3, we still could have had those paragraphs versus a full blown epilogue. It just ended a little too abruptly for me.