This was one of those books in which the characters/narrator were just the slightest bit absurd in a funny way, but also with pretty writing (I think, it’s harder for me to notice writing in audiobooks). Anyway, that humor and writing style is one of my favorite types, so I loved this.
I also loved Thornby. I felt terrible for him, trapped on this estate for a year and a half, going mad, desperately wanting to know it wasn’t all in his head but also desperately wanting to leave. But I also just loved his absurdity, his quirks, his confidence, his cheekiness. John had a bit of absurdity too, I think it kind of came with his magic, but he was also more serious, and he was kind and self-assured and resourceful, and I liked him too.
I also liked the two of them together. I felt the chemistry between them. I awwwed at their tender moments, and the sex scenes were hot. They worked together really well, those two, and it was nice seeing them trust each other and be vulnerable and find this magical relationship with each other.
The actual magic was really cool too. I’ve never read about magic quite like John’s. His magic involved the use of objects. In addition to just using things for doing magic, he could, in a way, speak to objects and listen to them. They could tell him things, show him magic they were involved in in the past, help him out. I found it interesting. He also had to make sure he dispelled enough magic before sex, or it could be a problem. And sometimes his magic reacted in strange ways with Thornby.
“You realize there’s an octopus under the bed?” he said, getting under the covers.
John, who had been slipping an arm around him, went still for a moment. “Is there? Yes, alright. I’m not surprised.”
“Yours, is it?”
The plot revolved around the mystery of what magic was keeping Thornby trapped on the estate and how to break it so he could be free. The whole story had a bit of underlying darkness, but it was fun with some humor and some sexy times and some growing feelings between the men. Then things got real serious real fast (in a great, intense, emotional sort of way), and there was this reveal that was just this total “Everything makes so much sense now!” moment. Bonus: *SPOILER* I finally got to read about a supernatural creature I’d not read about yet (selkies), even if I didn’t realize I was reading about it until the reveal. *END SPOILER*
I also enjoyed the audio narration. Joel Leslie did a great job, no complaints.
This was a completely random find, I’m pretty sure I found it while browsing through Hoopla, but I thought this was a fantastic little standalone book with great characters who had great chemistry, fascinating magic, and an interesting story!
Anyone who likes historical/paranormal m/m fantasy, a bit of absurd humor, pretty writing, likeable characters, and some scorching hot sex scenes.