Within Hallowed Walls – Andres Cyanni Halden

The paladins of the Hopegiver serve as pillars of the community. Commoners view them as immune to the normal vices of pride, lust, and jealousy. However, each worries about their hearts and the hearts of their comrades. The love between two males is accepted by their god, but it does not stop others from questioning their choices.

Rasvim, a fox, wishes only to be with the person he cares about. Vorel, the wolf leader, hopes to keep his chapel together throughout any hardship or complication.  The mouse Acton sleeps with every female he can to avoid his true desires. His oldest male friend, Mier, just wants to make him happy.

When more zealous individuals find out about these desires, how will the chapel remain intact against powerful religious figures? Can love coexist with faith?

Set in the fantasy universe of Bestira, Within Hallowed Walls is a work of anthropomorphic fiction for adult readers only.

The first chapter of this book really worried me, and I was afraid I’d made the wrong decision by picking up this book. You see, this book follows multiple characters and it switches between them multiple times per chapter. This is something I am pretty allergic to, and they switched so many times in the first chapter, that I became highly annoyed.

However, being the die-hard that I am, I didn’t quit there and just kept on reading. It’s a good thing I did too, because the story gets gradually nicer the further you get into the book. Especially the parts with the Oracle were highly enjoyable. The “side story” that takes place around Torr was also a joy to read. I got really into the book as soon as those events took place.

A thing I found was quite a shame, was that the relationships between the characters were already pretty much defined, especially the one between Vorel and Rasvim. I love seeing romantic relationships develop, which is why my favourite couple in the book couldn’t be any other than Mier and Acton.

The ending of the book really got me excited for the sequel, as Halden promises to go on a treasure hunt in the next book, which is something I absolutely love. It’s a real shame I don’t have the sequels in my possession yet. This is only a matter of time, however.
– Faolan

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Within Hallowed Walls – Andres Cyanni Halden

Heretic – Rukis – (18+)

Born in poverty, discrimination and fear. . . .

the fires that forged Luther throughout his young life were none too kind. Now a man hardened and angered by the trials he’s faced, his many years serving active combat in the navy of his proud nation, and finally the loss of a lover and comrade-in-arms, Luther faces imprisonment and a possible death sentence for the crime of heresy.

The charge. . . loving another man.

Now the desperation of a noble family and the grave situation of one young woman may be his salvation. But to embrace it and pursue a future he has only ever dreamed of, Luther must learn to become a part of their world. . . a world of intrigue, dark secrets, courtesans, religious zealotry and assassination.

Luther is a man accustomed to fighting his way through life. But sometimes, with love and family on the line, a battle waged by the sword can have terrible repercussions. And the secret which threatened to destroy Luther his entire life could land all of those he loves in shackles beside him.

9 years before the events of ‘Red Lantern’, Luther Denholme’s story begins

Written and illustrated by Rukis

Wow. Just wow. I didn’t know what to expect from Rukis, seeing as I’d only ever read Red Lantern, one of her visual novels, before, but I was completely blown away by the high quality of writing in this book. The quality of Rukis’ illustrations are top-notch as always. A writer and illustrator combined in one person is a wonderful formula for creating amazing books. After all, Rukis could decide for herself which scenes she wanted to depict and what she wanted everything to look like, making the illustrations complementary to the story in a way I’ve never seen before.

All the characters in this story are interesting in their very own way, and we can see many of them transforming throughout the book, which makes for some incredibly character development. By reading the book, I felt connected to the characters. Connected to the family Luther was a part of now. My heart really ached when certain characters left the story, be it through death or them simply leaving.

What I enjoyed most about Heretic, is that I was often caught by surprise by certain events taking place. There were some that I could predict perfectly, but also some that threw me off-guard. These were usually moments that either made my eyes grow big, or that made me laugh, my favourite one probably being the time when Delilah pulled that little stunt at the Officers Ball, copying her loving husband’s action earlier in the book.

The religious aspect of this book is very tastefully done, and shows both those men stuck in their beliefs, and those willing to tailor what they believe in from time to time. The inquisitor surprised me on all accounts. I did not expect what he did to happen at all.

All in all, this was a very satisfying book that I’d love to recommend to EVERYONE, and I am already very thrilled for a sequel, as the ending literally states:

“Two weeks from now, I’ll leave for the Dark Continent.

But that is another story.”

Don’t make us wait too long, Rukis!
– Faolan

Heretic

Heretic – Rukis – (18+)