William was working on his Ph.D. when the funding to his department was cut and he finds himself relocating to a different university. Charmcrafting isn’t the most popular area of magic, but it is a good fit for William. William is careful and structured and this new university is not that and William is going to have to adjust quickly. He will also have to adjust to working with his superior, the Archmage of the school, Talesin, as the position William was offered is not exactly as stated.
Talesin unnerves William at every turn, from his crimson-colored office, to his air of dominance, to his downright sexy appeal. William is at once drawn to and resistant of both Talesin’s methods of magical experiments and the man himself. But all is not right at the university as William is pursued by another staff member while uncovering corrupt magic being used to alter the minds of students, leading to them being taken advantage of sexually.
There is danger on campus and when Talesin disappears without a word, it is up to William to address the threat that will lead him directly to Talesin’s biggest secret.
This story offers magic and fun as it immediately gets right to it as William arrives at his new post. William meets Talesin and the man wastes no time shooting fire at him and conducting full scale weather experiments right over his head. William has basically no idea what is going on as he was offered a position as a researcher, not an assistant.
A good portion of the book has the reader figuring out the story and exactly what is going on. Being a fantasy book, there can be a lot more leeway allowed and I liked the magic aspect with a touch of mystery. William is structured and reserved and Talesin is not that at all. The men work together and get close, but something or many things just aren’t right and then William is left to figure things out all on his own.
There is no sense of time or place in this story, other than the use of old English style language and the use of quills. I would have enjoyed knowing a bit more as to when and where this story was taking place. But then, William goes to a festival and states it was, “busy as all get out,” and the contradiction in language didn’t offer cohesiveness.
For as cute and fun and magical as the first part of the book was, the ending failed me. If magical creatures are going to be introduced as a major plot point, I needed more than just a simple introduction without any back story at all. Talesin became a character that was completely under developed for the amount of potential and intrigue that he offered the story early on. The epilogue as well, while it wrapped up one area of the story, opened up many more questions and did not finish off in a satisfying way.
This was a shorter read set at a university with interesting magical experiments and would be best for a quick hit set in a fantasy world.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.