Reggie Orrick is a Magus with special talents and is therefore sent on a mission to Ireland. On the ferry, as he arrives, he’s drawn into conversation with Ian “Kelp” McGinty. Kelp pegs Reggie right away as a Magus, and takes a chance on revealing his own status as an Unfortunate—someone from a Magus family who has no magical abilities themselves.
Kelp is engaging and charming, and there’s something about him that draws Reggie in. Despite his better judgement, Reggie takes Kelp up on his offer to be his guide as he travels to a particular town to complete his spellwork. The two men grow close rather quickly, and they confide in each other. When Reggie completes his spell, and the two men head home, an accident tears them apart. Now it’s up to Reggie to figure out if Kelp betrayed him in the worst way, or if Kelp was actually protecting him.
Guys, there was something fantastical and fun about this story that I just loved. It’s set in a contemporary, familiar world, where magic has its place. The author throws us right in to the world, and assumes we know where we are, but what she does amazingly is give us all the reference points we need to immediately discern the idiosyncrasies of the way magic works, how it’s used, and who can use it. It was wonderfully clever, at once familiar and new, and I was completely immersed within the world and with the characters.
Reggie is a little bit naïve, having grown up sheltered in the Magus world. But I thought he was a wonderfully pleasant character. He made me smile, at his wide eyed surprise at the things around him, and I loved the confidence he had in himself that made it easy to believe he’d be taking this journey and working this spell.
Kelp, even more so, was a fun loving guy. I liked the way the author crafted him, showing a truly unique individual who had a smarmy, yet endearing, arrogance about him. Honestly, there was something about him that drew me in, just as it did Reggie, even if neither one of us could exactly put our finger on it. Really, he was wonderfully written, engaging and charming, and I wanted nothing more than to spend time with him as well.
One of the things I really liked here was the way the romance aspect was so seamlessly woven with the rest of the plot. Or perhaps the reverse was true. At any rate, the two plotlines worked together wonderfully well, and I appreciated how they went together.
That being said, I did have a problem with the last third of the book. Things started to feel a little rushed, and I felt like I didn’t have enough explanation about why thing were happening the way they were. And I found myself just a bit dissatisfied in the ending. Kelp did something that I couldn’t understand, we were told months had passed, and we get no explanation as to why, and then the pair is reunited and the explanation is thrown out and accepted. Now, I’ll admit that the reasoning behind it made sense. However, I needed and wanted more of it after how invested I was in the characters and story. I would have liked to see more of the closure to really feel it myself. As it was, it almost felt like an afterthought.
That being said, this is truly a clever little story and I enjoyed it a great deal. This story is definitely worth a few hours of your time, especially if you’re into magic and alternate contemporary realities.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.