Nor Iron Bars A Cage by Kaje Harper
Nor Iron Bars a Cage is a beautifully paced standalone novel centring around the relationship of two men. It’s written in first-person view, from Lyon’s perspective as he is forced to face his demons and leave the safety of his home.
Lyon is a sorcerer, but no longer wishes to be one. He is a young man, but feels as though he is old. He longs for companionship, but wants to be left alone.
After barricading himself in a house made from stone, hiding away for over 15 years, his past comes back to haunt him. Yet, it comes in the form of an old friend, a kind soul, and a man whom he can trust. Or… eventually, at least. The king calls on Lyon for aid in a translation, and Lyon’s old friend Tobin – being one of the king’s Voices – cannot refuse this order. But he doesn’t want to force Lyon to leave the safety of his home, even though he can’t wait to finally be with Lyon again, after thinking he had died in a fire so many years ago.
This is one heartfelt story of a broken character. Two men come together in friendship, understanding, sweet reunion, and ultimately love. It comes in stages, goes back and forth, as trust and feelings build across every page of the book.
There are just so many great characters and story arcs. So many things to enjoy, and not enough space in a review to remotely tell about it.
Lyon’s struggles are beautifully written, both physical and mental. The boundaries that he’s placed in his life are now slowly broken down as the story progresses. Absolutely fabulous! And the tenderness between Lyon and Tobin is to die for.
“He was my safety and my wall, the mirror in whose eyes I somehow looked brave and desirable.”
The descriptions are wonderful, and I loved the magic system with the summoning and transference. Everything was well-thought-out, and the story culminated with unseen twists.
I can’t finish this review without mentioning Xan. His story absolutely broke my heart, and I still need to tell myself it is only fiction, for it upsets me time and again. He will stay with me, just like Lyon and Tobin, for a long while, I reckon. For anyone in the mood for some M/M romance in a fantasy setting, I highly recommend this read.