I really enjoyed this young adult, LGBT urban fantasy.
Thaddeus Cane is 15 years old and has moved twice that many times. He’s been raised by his devoted father, Nathan, and misses the mother he never knew. Getting settled in Superstition, their newest town, is easier as it’s summer and Thaddeus has found a friend, of sorts. Teofil is an attractive young man who tends the massive gardens in the yard next door each night after dusk.
Despite warnings from his father, Thaddeus ventures into Teofil’s gardens often, and when he doesn’t? He watches Teofil at work from his upstairs window. These young boys make a deep connection, and Thaddeus only begins to understand how precious that is when he begins to see the magic the garden holds.
Learning that Teofil is a garden gnome, and the “fireflys” he attracts are truly fairies, should probably be the biggest surprise of Thaddeus’ short life. That pales, however, to learning the truth about his mother, magic exists, and he could be a gay and American Harry Potter. (No wands required. Mores the pity!)
Thaddeus is not alone on his late night walks, though. Evil lurks in the dark, and Thaddeus and his father are targets at the top of the list. I liked how this was all revealed piece-by-piece, with appropriate timing—much like that of his developing relationship with Teofil. These boys sure like each other, and there are some first, and more, kisses to be had.
The steady reveals had me turning pages, and I want to say the book ended in a satisfactory place, for me, but it felt a little cliffhanger-y. That said, I’m absolutely on board for the sequel. I adored the kind relationships between father and son, and Thaddeus and Teofil had me experiencing all the jittery bubbles of first love. The magic was on the forefront, but never seemed overpowering or outlandish. It’s halfway through the book before there’s any revelation of magic to Thaddeus, and yet it didn’t feel too late. The world building is excellent and I enjoyed each element as it was described. I’m all in for garden gnome warriors, dragons, and atypical shifters, so the witch and wizard elements are simply icing on this cake.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.