Zack hasn’t had the chance to tell his parents he is gay. Well, that isn’t quite true; he’s had plenty of chances, he just hasn’t taken them. But now that his face is plastered over every tabloid, talk show, and entertainment news site as he’s being kissed by — and kissing back — the sidhe prince, Lugh, any hope of handling things quietly and gracefully is gone.
While giving his father, and himself, some time to cool off, Zack comes across a pair of children in the park being attacked by, well, a monster. It isn’t anything fae, anything that he recognizes, but that doesn’t stop him from doing what he has to. Unfortunately, by drawing the beast’s attention, Zack ends up becoming the monster’s new target, and then things just get worse from there. Now he’s cursed with lycanthropy, the sidhe queen tells him she’ll destroy him if he even thinks of eating one of her people, and he and Lugh still haven’t figured out what their relationship is.
While Zack’s carefully ordered world is falling to pieces, Diego’s is pretty much going along as normal. True, Finn — his pookah husband — is sick with the uncommon cold and shape changing all over the place, and he’s besieged by phone calls, emails, and requests for interviews as the world wants to know what’s going on with the fae royal family, but this is nothing new for the foremost mage and diplomat. Putting out small fires is pretty much what he’s supposed to do. But as the malady of misfortune, magical monstrosities, and malefactors gets worse, Diego can’t help but get worried. Something he did caused this; when he brought magic back to the fae world, he also gave it to the mortal one, which wasn’t supposed to happen.
Meanwhile, the Silver Adepts, five young people who have suddenly been granted their own gifts of magic, are having problems and they need help. They have no idea what they’re doing, or how it is they’re able to do these things. Nate is a telekinetic, Brandon can compel with his voice, Kira finds lost things, Minkey can turn somewhat invisible, and Will … Will is having visions of a disastrous future in which a dark mage is destroying the world. The group can think of only one person who can help them: Diego. But when he won’t reply to their calls, the coven gets desperate and they decide to take matters into their own hands. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and with their intention to stop the evil, the Silver Adepts have started them all down a freeway that may yet lead to the end of the world.
This is the third book in the Endangered Fae series and while I did not read the first two, I was able to follow the story and the majority of the plots fairly well. However, if given the chance, it might be easier for other readers to start with book one, where you’re introduced to the world through Diego and Finn’s stories before jumping into this one. The story hints at the focus of the book being an ex-marine and a fae prince, but it’s actually pretty split between two couples: Diego, the Sorcerer and his pookah lover, Finn; and Zack, who is the ex-marine in question and bodyguard to the fae prince, Lugh.
We enter this book with Zack and Lugh already past the first flush of romance, heading right into the drama of misunderstandings, life and death stakes, and teary-eyed making up. When Zack is bitten by the werewolf and cursed, he ends up turning from a man into a monster, a monster who has only one desire and that is to fill the void inside himself. Rather than let Zack eat people — which is only sensible — Lugh gives him a new hunger and helps Zack focus on his bodily needs and pleasure. The only problem with that is Zack isn’t home, anymore. He’s a beast, not a man, and isn’t able to either consent or participate. The book, and the couple, do deal with this issue, and fae morality isn’t the same as human morality, but it’s still a rather lengthy and detailed few scenes of Lugh ‘helping’ the monster, even though he, nobly, won’t take too much pleasure in it. Just a little.
Diego and Finn are a married couple and, as Finn is sick, we don’t see much of their relationship in this book. We get to see a little of Diego as a concerned, powerful, and ever so slightly martyred sorcerer trying to understand the problems going on — with magic erupting violently in the mortal world — and trying to find a cure for Zack. We also get to see Finn’s side of things when Diego is in danger. But, the primary focus is, more or less, Zack and Lugh.
To be honest, there’s not much Zack and Lugh for all that this book is supposedly about them. They spend more time fighting or separated, with brief, emotional scenes peppered here and there as they make up or console each other. What little we do see shows a pair of men who do love each other, though they each have their issues — the werewolf and werewolf sex being one of the major ones — as Zack is only human and entering into a relationship with an ancient fae prince who has had thousands of lovers while Lugh, for his part, is trying very hard to give Zack what he wants.
A handful of misunderstandings later, and our main couple have patched things up before the book reaches the halfway point, which leaves us ready for the plot. And there’s a lot of plot. Between human mages being supremely powerful, dragon exhibitionism, a lot of nudity — nothing non-human wants to wear clothes, it seems; they only do so when they think humans will be made uncomfortable by the waving about of genitals — and every background couple having a moment to declare their love for each other, we have the wonderful presence of a dark and evil sorcerer. Zack has to put together a force of human mages and fae warriors, healers and magic users to track down the villain and rescue the innocent.
The plot is interesting and there are moments where things are getting going, only to have everything stopped, abruptly, so one couple or another can have a moment. If it’s not Nate and his vampire making out, it’s Brandon and Will cooing over each other, or either Zack or Finn wailing and gnashing their teeth over their missing lovers. It’s not that it’s a bad thing to show the human — and not-so-human side — of people getting ready for violence, or dealing with someone you love being in danger, but it manages to stop everything cold, killing all the momentum which, when the action starts up again, leaves for some disjointed and tonally dissonant moments.
Other than the stop-start-stop of the plot, and the fact that this book didn’t appeal to my personal aesthetic as far as sidhe, dragons, and other fae folk are concerned, I still found this to be a pleasant read. The writing is good, the author clearly cares for everyone in the book and manages to include the back stories of people, places, and events in such a way so that I was able to read this third book as a standalone. And while I found the personal endearments and billing and cooing of every single couple to be a bit eye-rolling at times, I did find myself intersted in Finn and his back story. He was the stand out character of this book, for me. He started out as comic relief and ended up being rather charming. I also appreciated that there were consequences to the actions taken by Diego and Lugh. There was much to be enjoyed, here, and if you’ve read the other two books — as I plan to do — I think you’ll enjoy this one.