NUTSHELL: Two plots that could’ve been a pair of companion novels, so let’s call it a 7.
Two plots again? Yep, though at least these went together, and knowing that there are two more sequels, they make even more sense. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that when I started reading — or, indeed, when I finished. Oops.
So how would you have done it? Split them by narrator. We have one in the first-person, Giorgio/Abdullah, and one in the third, Sofia/Safiye. Each of the subsequent books seems to focus on each character; let’s make it two doorstops instead and tell all of the story.
And what story is that? So far, Giorgio and Sofia have been taken to 16th-century Turkey, where Giorgio becomes the eunuch Abdullah and falls in love with Esmikhan Sultan, the princess, while Sofia becomes harem girl Safiye, thrown at Prince Murad. Safiye gets herself, Abdullah, and Esmikhan kidnapped by brigands, and when they’re rescued, Murad and Esmikhan’s fiancé, Sokolli Pasha, are ready to kill them both.
…twisted. It’s a long, twisty tale, just how I like ’em.
But not long enough? There’s more to the story. I was shocked to discover I only had a few more pages to enjoy by the time the plots came together and peaked. (Oh, God, how obscene I sound.) So, yes, initial enjoyment was indeed dampened by the abrupt ending. Rest assured that I’ll be looking for those other two books in my library system.