A Really Enjoyable Magical Adventure

Phoenix Unbound - Grace Draven

4.5 stars
This book hit all my book loving boxes. Life struggle, check. Hard earned, slowly developed romance, check. Difficultly with abilities (not a star right off page one), check. A fight for the greater good, check. Well developed characters with realistic backgrounds, check. I didn't want it to end, check.
Even the pacing was spot on. I stayed up way too late several nights, I just couldn't put it down. Seriously, why haven't I ever read this author's work before ?
The story is about a man who was sold into slavery by a despicable, greedy toad of a man. He was a slave/gladiator for 10 years. There he was tortured in all the hideous ways possible. His life changes when he uncovers a woman who has magical abilities and blackmails her into helping him escape. She too is suffering, she sacrifices herself every year to save her people. Blackmail is not the best way to start a relationship and it gets worse. There is a great deal of mistrust, anger and hate, yeh realistic. Respect was hard earned and slow developing, so well done, when a closeness started it felt amazing. They are both on missions, both have much to learn, much to lose and so much more to give. What an adventure. I can't wait to see where book 2 goes.