Rating: 4.5 stars
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Body Magic is the second book in Poppy Dennison’s Triad trilogy, and picks up almost immediately after the end of the first book, Mind Magic. The series creates an interesting paranormal world made up of three types of magic. Wolves and other shifters have body magic, mages have mind magic, and demons and vampires have soul magic. The three types of magical beings are supposed to stay separated, but over the course of the series they begin to interact, in both good and bad ways.
Mind Magic introduced us to the High Moon pack and its alpha Grey. At the end of the story, Grey has mated with Simon, an apprentice mage. The pack has just survived an attack on both its members and Simon by an evil mage and it is still recovering from the trauma. Things are further complicated by Grey and Simon’s sudden mating, especially since these two types of magical beings are not supposed to mix. In Body Magic, we begin to see the fallout from some of the action of the first book. Namely whether the wolf council will accept the idea of a wolf mating with a mage. It is basically totally unheard of and some members of the council, as well as the pack, are wary of the sway a mage might have over the pack alpha. At the same time Simon is recovering from the damage he previously suffered to his mage skills and trying to get caught up in time for his 25th birthday in a few days in order to become a full-fledged mage. We get a chance to see the men settling in to their relationship and their lives together. Simon in particular is still at a bit of a loss after the sudden upheaval in his life. After being solitary for so long, he is now mated, part of a pack, and helping to parent Grey’s son and it is all a bit overwhelming for him.
The story also focuses on two wolves we met in the first story and their developing relationship. Cade is a member of the High Moon pack and in charge of security. He still blames himself for the cubs being kidnapped in the first book and is determined to do whatever it takes to protect his pack now. Rocky was brought in by Grey to increase their weak security system and is still in the middle of that project here. Both men are wary of each other and at first things are openly hostile between them until they learn to trust each other a bit. We also learn that Rocky’s pack alpha has less than altruistic motives for sending Rocky to help the pack, and Rocky feels torn between his home pack and this new group of wolves he has grown to appreciate. Grey is a totally different kind of alpha and runs his pack in an open and accepting way. Rocky has never felt part of his old pack and is treated poorly for being weaker than the rest. So he struggles with his alliances and figuring out what is really the right place for him.
Over the course of the story, Cade and Rocky move from adversaries to being attracted to one another. And although they eventually act on their feelings, there is a lot of trouble happening with the pack and things only just begin to get off the ground for them. There is definitely something continuing to threaten not only the High Moon pack, but other shifters as well. The creature is very powerful and dangerous and the men struggle to figure out what it is and how to stop it. Here we get more pieces of the puzzle and the mystery moves along well, but there is no clear resolution to the threat in this book or to the relationship between Cade and Rocky.
So that brings me to my only real complaint here, and that is the book felt a bit like a placeholder between the first and last stories. I think this is often a difficulty with middle books in a trilogy as they are connecting the beginning and end of the story, but don’t stand distinctly on their own. I would have liked to see a little bit more resolved here, or at least moved along faster, especially in the relationship between Cade and Rocky, as there is not a lot of time for emotional development between them in this book. I really love Simon and Grey and was happy to get to spend so much time with them. I think it is important to the overall trilogy to see how things are growing between them as I think they are the pivotal characters holding things together. But I would have liked to see things move forward a bit more here, both plotwise and with the second couple.
However, overall I found this a really enjoyable story. Dennison does a great job combining the romance with the supernatural world building and adding a big dose of excitement and suspense. The book moves at a fast pace and has a lot of energy. I love the world she has created and I am fascinated by the interplay of these different types of magical beings. The wolf pack is the most interesting with its great main and secondary characters and wonderful dynamics to the group, but I also enjoy Simon and his teacher Cormac and the rest of the magical world. I am really enjoying this series and can not wait to read the final installment and see how it all plays out. I would definitely recommend this series highly.
P.S. I am interviewing Poppy Dennison at the blog today to talk about the book as well as the series, so be sure to stop by and check it out!