Review: Shivers by Fanny Bae

ShiversRating: 2.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Xavier knows he comes from a line of witches, but that’s about all he’s been told. His mother died when he was young, he never knew his father, and his sisters never told him anything and he’s restless and looking for something. Xavier knows he has magic within himself, but he has no idea how to fully tap into it other than a few tricks. When he is given a gift, it sets Xavier on a dangerous journey of discovering the secrets of his family.

When Xavier’s magic is noticed by the FBI, he meets Agent Malcolm Henries. Despite an age difference, the men are immediately drawn to each on both a physical, as well as a telepathic level, and have a deep need to be together. But when family secrets are uncovered, Xavier’s unrefined magic puts them both at great risk.

The blurb on this one interested me for a story about a guy discovering his magic and also finding love in the process. My reading experience was different than what the blurb suggested, as while the focus was on Xavier uncovering his magic and the secrets of his family, it does not come off as a romance. Xavier and Malcolm meet much later into the book and while they begin a physical relationship, their overall relationship remains largely undefined.

As the book opens, Xavier is 20 years old and he’s restless. He doesn’t know what he’s going to do with his life and his sister is way too secretive. When he gets a gift, he is further able to tap into some of his magic, but he really has no idea what he’s doing. We also meet Malcolm. Malcolm is working in the Special Projects division of the FBI and he is able to tap into, as well as research, magical happenings. The book starts with Xavier’s first person point of view, but at 15% there were many things that just weren’t making sense. It was at this point that I realized that some scenes were being told from Malcolm’s point of view. So I started the book over. There are no chapters in the book, just scene headings and both Xavier and Malcolm sounded the same. Also, while it was written in first person, the book came off as being told by an omniscient narrator and I never knew whose head we were potentially going to be in.

The overall style here didn’t work for me. We get a lot of history on both men and we see them present day, which in the book is 1995. Other than the music Xavier listened to and the fact that he worked in a goth club, there was no sense of place and there was also no world building. Then there were flashbacks for both men that read more as a stream of consciousness and there were also diary entries woven in and there was a distinct lack of flow sometimes as to where the book was.

When we first meet Malcolm, he is having an affair with his married boss while Xavier is looking to experience new things. The scenes of each guy with others were more explicit and detailed than the scenes of them together and that was another area that made it more difficult to see them as the main couple of the book. They were attracted to each other, but it was not clear what they were supposed to be to each other. Xavier is on the move once the men meet and they’re not exactly building a relationship and we are told a lot of things about their attraction but nothing else came off the page. They can also speak to each other telepathically, and when they are alone together that came off as mostly a missed opportunity.

The magic here is basic, there is no world building for the magical community, the secret wasn’t intriguing, and the ending is an uneventful cliffhanger as this is the first book in a series. Xavier and Malcolm will most likely have to carry on without me.

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