We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: M/M Paranormal
A magical accident at Berkeley ha created holes between realities an all manner of non-human creatures start popping down on Earth. These displacements are referred to as RARE – Random Anomalous Reality Events. This has taken magic out of fiction, put it into our reality, resulting in a great deal of chaos and confusion, but led to the creation of AURA – the Agency of Unnatural Resettlement and Assimilation, a group of humans and non humans working together to intercept these beings as they appear in the human world to help them and the humans. Valerian is a displaced elf that works with AURA while Quinn is a young mage trying to get by, mostly as a con man with a few other magical creatures that have methods that are sometimes morally dubious!
The story is told from Valerian and Quinn’s point of view mostly, but Kai, the drow in the research department of AURA, gets a couple of chapters from his point of view as well.
Is Wow a sufficient review?!? Probably not, but that would be one of the words to come to mind for this book. Well written, incredibly imaginative, excellent pace, great chemistry between characters - whether as friend, lover, former lover or enemy! And once you get into it, it is so hard to put down.
And the concept is easy to imagine, an experiment gone wrong that pulls beings from other realms to Earth, how would they assimilate, can they get back if we can't determine how they got here? For beings connected to nature in their homelands, if they get plunked in the middle of a city, can they survive and how do they thrive in our world?
So many interesting questions this book brings up! And in the midst of that, a young mage meeting an elf that definitely attracts him, but because of his past, he believes he is broken, but they do have a common link, loneliness. Not to mention, because Quinn's actions are sometimes not the most above board, he usually avoids AURA officers, since they are considered police and that could get in the way of his ways of getting by, however, when he is unable to avoid the AURA office as a result of an Event, not only do they meet, but then they have a tough time not thinking about one another!
This is an amazing adventure and fantasy story, and the number of characters and creatures the authors came up with, wow! Kai, who gets to provide his point of view for a couple of the chapters, is a drow working in the research department of AURA. He and Val have a past in their world, but they mostly tolerate each other here, Kai is now mated and is very good at what he does, he's just a bit dramatic about it. Both of those factors create the catalyst for the teamwork of humans and creatures that were once on either side of the legal fence to now work together and they include humans, elves, drow, a yeti, centaurs, griffins, wyverns, winged horses, wizards, an incubus (whose name is Sin and is a key figure in how this story plays out – yes, I ended up having a soft spot for the incubus, how appropriate!), a phoenix and a dryad that connects Val and Quinn.
And the climactic scenes? Well, I could hardly put the book down, but it also brought out the tissues because of a promise Sin had asked Quinn to make and the way it is written, you believe Quinn will have to follow through with that promise and despite being an incubus, you kind of want a happy ending for this set of characters that almost seem like a set of misfits - talented and not to be trifled with misfits!
I would recommend this book to all fantasy fans as well as anyone who has thought about reading a book in a new genre who might not have tried fantasy, it does not take place in space, but it is such a good book, I'm sure any science fiction/fantasy fans would still be satisfied, especially if they like the idea of MM pairings in that genre.
There is some violence and reference to child abuse, but it is relative to the story and not graphically described .
I can hardly wait for Book Two and where this series may take us!