This trilogy is actually three separate stories bound into one edition so that you can enjoy them all back to back. They follow the same protagonists as they find their way to love while navigating the murky waters of life, secrets, and misdirection. You can, in fact, get them separately through multiple places, and if you choose to go that route, the first one is free. But it’s worth it to buy it in one go, because you aren’t going to want to stop once you get started. Fairy Compacts is an excellent read and I highly recommend it to you.
Since these are three individual stories, let’s take them one at a time.
The Dangers of Fairy Compacts
Aeron the fairy has been dreaming a voice for a long time. So much so that it interrupts his sleep. One fateful morning, while resting at the Old Willow, he hears the voice out loud. When a tear in the worldfabric appears, Aeron takes a deep breath and takes the path. He finds himself in the mortal realm, shocking the hell out of a mortal man. The man runs, but Aeron knows this is his destiny. He follows, and when he can’t get beyond the man’s wards, he waits.
When the man finally comes to his senses and invites Aeron in, Aeron is still very angry. But he quickly sees to the heart of Tammas—who didn’t know he was summoning Aeron in the first place—and they come to an understanding. Aeron stays because he has to, because he’s somehow bound to Tammas. When they finally discover the truth, Aeron is beyond livid and Tammas is also upset at the news. But they have a plan in place, even if it means that Aeron will have to leave again. In spite of their growing feelings for each other, they have no other choice.
Hawthorne immediately sets the stage, throwing us into the fairy world and giving us a perfect glimpse of what’s going on. It was so easy for me to get immersed in this world because of the picture she paints with her words. Not only does the author give us a beautifully built world, but she gives us two fantastic characters in Aeron and Tammas.
Aeron is drifting and lost, and he doesn’t understand why his father barely cares for him. When he feels the call from the mortal realm, he finally thinks his destiny is calling. But nothing is what he thinks, and he is by turns angry and snarky. And still feeling lost. I loved him to pieces, and I adored the multiple layers he had. This guy is truly fantastically written, and I was invested in him from word one.
The same can be said for Tam. Shy, confused, not knowing the strength of his own power, but so goodhearted underneath. There was never any doubt he would do the right thing, even if it meant letting go of the man he had fallen in love with. I adored him, and his endearing shyness. He’s such a sweetheart.
Between the world and the characters, Hawthorne gives us a complete story in this first installment, short though it may be. But I was very glad this wasn’t the end for this pair and couldn’t wait to read more and to see how their newly blossomed love would continue to grow.
Life as a Fairy Thrall
With the bond between them broken, Aeron and Tam don’t even have time to process how it feels before trouble comes to their doorstep. Firez’s sister was taken to the fairy realm against her will, and he needs Aeron’s help to get her back. Aeron sees this as an opportunity to make Tam’s dream come true, and so he agrees to make a compact with Firez and rescue Firez’s sister, Suchi.
The three men go to Faerie, and with the help of Aeron’s sister, Awela, make a plan to locate and rescue the missing girl. Finding her is easy, but the plan falls apart when Firez panics and speaks out of turn. Captured in Suchi’s place, Tam and Firez have to bide their time until Aeron and Awela can rescue them and be very careful so they don’t end up thralls themselves. Until Tam finds a way he can rescue himself and get free.
While the first story is a complete one, Hawthorne managed to find a way to continue the saga without taking anything away from it. What I loved here is seeing the relationship between Aeron and Tammas continue to grow. Some time has passed since the ending of the first story, and we are immediately drawn into their existing relationship. We know that they are happy and content, and love each other fiercely. When the bond between them is broken, they are both sad. Despite the reasons for it existing in the first place, both men are so accustomed to it, and love being able to feel each other, so the disillusion of the bond is bittersweet.
I like the way we didn’t have time to dwell on the breaking of the bond, and are instead thrust into the greater part of the story. It’s a perfect illustration of their characters. Of course they’ll help Firez, that’s never in question, but while Tam is willing to offer is assistance without consequence or payment, Aeron sees it as a way to secure good things for his lover. Tam, as always is thinking about what is morally right. And Aeron, though concerned with that, always has his primary focus on Tam. I love these guys together, and I love the way they love each other.
If I had one quibble about this story, it’s that I would have liked just a bit more detail. Some of the aspects felt a little glossed over. But it’s a small thing, and didn’t detract too much from the story overall all. This second installment is definitely a bridge between the first and the third stories, and while it progresses the plot, it’s meant to set up the ending as well. The ending of this story ends in a big cliff hanger, one where the nature of Tam and Aeron’s relationship hangs in the balance. These two men have a big decision to make where it’s concerned.
Despite now having a way to bind themselves together again, Aeron and Tam are not bound. Tammas refused to consider it, thinking the price is too high, and he won’t listen to Aeron’s reasoning. There is an edge to their relationship, though they still love each other immensely.
Tammas has his dream teaching job at the monastery, but things aren’t quite what they seem. The rumors in town are starting to grow, and the disgruntled town folk are making Tam’s life difficult. Despite working on their home, and making a tree grow right into it, Tam and Aeron realize it might be best for them to leave. Neither of them wants that, and the thought alone pains them. But they love each other too much to put themselves at risk. When the worst comes to pass, and the town folk decide to force them out, Tam and Aeron take the step that they have been reluctant to take, to save each other and their tree-home.
In this third installment, life is not as simple and easy for Tam and Aeron as it has been. Admittedly, I really appreciated the growth in their relationship and where they were when this story started. Even though they were arguing, it was clear to see how much love they had between them, and it was completely understandable why each man felt the way he did. I loved watching these guys blossom and grow over the series, and to have them at this place was rewarding.
What the author does remarkably well is consistency. Hawthorne has given us a world with solid rules, and characters that are who they are without wavering. Even as Aeron and Tam continue to grow and change, they do so within the confines of who they are and I so appreciated that. As always their chemistry leaps off the page; these guys are so right for each other and so sexy together. I loved that even as their relationship continued to grow, the foundation was solid.
There was some angst in this as the men face more troublesome situations than before. I liked that the external conflict mirrored the internal one, and that these guys were in the right place in their relationship to handle it. If they hadn’t been as committed to one another, everything would have fallen apart from them. But we see just how deeply their love runs, and so even as they argue, even as they are made to deal with the harsh realities of their world, it’s clear they will come out the other side. What I loved here was that Hawthorne still made me care, despite knowing it would all work out. I was glued to the pages, wanting to see how it would all resolve. The action was a perfect complement and this story had me engaged from word one. I was right there with the MCs as they navigated their troubles. And that, for me, is the mark of a story well told.
This last story in the trilogy bring everything to head and leaves us with a satisfactory conclusion. When I was finished, I had that feeling of a story well done, and characters that had wormed their way into my heart. Essentially, this trilogy reads as one novel with three distinct parts. And I loved every moment of it. The world building, solid characters, and wonderful pacing all combined to give me a story I won’t soon forget.