Mala, sent on a quest by the goddess Vela, comes to Blackmoor to locate and tam the legendary Beast. She initially believes the beast to be a demonically possessed mammoth that plagues the area and is surprised when she instead discovers that it is the warrior Tavik, who she first met protecting a caravan of refugees from blood-thirsty revenants.
Tavik is pretty much a broken man, who once foolishly defiled a temple of Vela and now believes that everything that happened since then is divine punishment. The goddess told him when the woman in red shows up, the end will be near. He has already had vivid dreams about Mala for several years and isn’t entirely sure he isn’t hallucinating when he first sees her. When he hears that Vela has ordered her to tame him, he is despondent, but he hadn’t counted on what Mala considers taming to be.
Maddek, the hero of A Heart of Blood and Wishes is cold, angry, and bull-headed, taking far too long to see what a precious gift he has in Yvenne. Tavik knows what a remarkable woman Mala is before they ever meet in person, as he’s seen her in his dreams for years. He wanted to return to his home in Blackmoor with an army to kill the sorcerous warlord who ruled there and was instead captured, humiliated, and repeatedly raped and assaulted. When Mala approaches him after visiting the warlord, claiming she has been tasked with taming him, he cannot bear the thought. Instead, he discovers that Mala has no problem showing him both vulnerability and submission, in order to earn his trust.
Full review here.