Don't get me wrong - this is a beautifully written story, and part of the reason this story gets such a low rating is that downer ending. It was so unpleasant that it impacted my ability to enjoy it.
IN THE SIGHT OF AKRESA starts out with a descriptive passage about one of the main characters, Aya, having her tongue cut out to prevent her from blaspheming one of the gods. She's then taken and sold as a slave to Claire and her people.
Claire is immediately attracted to Aya and contrives to be alone with her by mutilating her pet hawk after taming it and then taking the poor hawk to be cured by Aya. To me, this was the first red flag that Claire was not going to endear herself to me as a heroine. Anyone who purposely hurts animals is not to be trusted.
They have a romantic and sexual relationship of sorts - a doomed one, trust me, you can sense the doom from the start - but Claire is much more cavalier about it than Aya is, and the power between them is never equal. Claire seems to view Aya as a thing that is her right to use as she wishes, and of course the fact that Aya is mute and never is able to voice consent adds an extra layer of ick to it. Especially since our narrator is an unreliable one. When she says Aya wants her affections, does she really? Or is that what Claire wants to have us, the readers, believe?
It is no coincidence that Akresa, their goddess of justice, has Claire firmly in her sights.
Oh, my love. I know so little of you.
Can it, Claire, you never loved her, or you wouldn't let that happen, you hawk-maiming, consent-waiving, traitorous cowfart.
2 to 2.5 out of 5 stars.