Three years ago, Diego, the most powerful human sorcerer ever known, unleashed his magic on the world. He was stopped by his beloved husband, Finn the pookah, and his devoted friends, but not before lives were lost. The Queen of the Fae banished Diego to the Otherworld — to heal, to learn to control his powers, and to give the human world time to forget — but his time of exile has passed and it’s time to return home. Having caused so much pain, will those he loved ever be able to forgive him?
Even if the fae are able to look past what he did while he was under the mind mage’s spell, Diego isn’t quite ready to forgive himself. Nor can he reclaim his title as Consul, the liaison between humanity and the fae court, but he can’t just sit and do nothing. Fortunately, there are many places where someone of Diego’s talents can be useful. While magic is allowed in some countries, in others it’s a death sentence. The fae court does what it can to get out anyone caught up in those dangerous places, but sometimes diplomacy fails and brute force is needed.
Able to be both a diplomat and a threat, Diego and Finn volunteer to head to the Middle East where three Canadian students have been imprisoned due to possessing magic. They take with them Theo, the young vampire who swore to serve Diego during his madness, and who still feels conflicted over the events he took part in and the decisions he made while in Diego’s service during that dark time. What none of them realize is that they are also taking along a stowaway selkie, or that Diego and Finn will end up captured and imprisoned themselves!
With Finn locked in iron shackles, an unfriendly and unknown collection of prisoners, the Canadian college students, as well as a menagerie of monsters, Diego has to find a way to get them out of here. While Diego frets at the prison, unable to use his magic, Theo is crossing the desert, risking his life beneath the blazing sun to find him. Theo’s only help is the oceanic selkie, as lost in the sands as Theo is. Somehow, Goddess willing, they’ll be in time.
No Fae is an Island is the fourth offering in the Endangered Fae series, and — owing to the rich world of the fae and the large cast of characters and side plots — you’d be best served having read the other books in this series. The author pulls from mythologies all over the world, from the more well-known Celtic paranormal creatures such as the pookah, selkies, and the sidhe, to werewolves, vampires, and even djinn and slattenpatte (nordic water spirits), and has created an intricate fae society. It especially helps to have read book three as parts of this story involve the aftermath of actions taken by Diego and Theo in that story.
Diego and Finn are a happily married couple, and very much in love. In the last book, Diego, in his spell-cursed madness, left Finn behind. Instead of breaking their bond, it only strengthened it as Finn was determined to find and cure Diego. Now it’s Diego’s turn (again) to save Finn. Finn never once doubts either Diego’s ability or his love and seems amused when Diego feels any jealousy when the pookah cuddles up with anyone else as Finn only loves Diego. Diego would do anything for Finn, no matter the cost to himself, no matter how much it hurt him, and yet — when there’s a chance that Finn might be able to help free them — he sends Finn into danger, knowing the pookah can take care of himself. It’s a well-balanced relationship, respectful and loving, though it takes a bit of a back seat to the other couple in this book.
Theo was turned into a vampire against his will and cast out of his family for being a monster. In fact, he became a monster, lashing out at the world. When Diego offered him a chance to join his new army, he eagerly accepted. Theo looked up to Diego, who made him feel not just powerful but … almost human. Wanted. Diego made him feel like the world not only could, but would accept him — even if it was through force. Having gone through difficult times, Theo was okay with force.
Now Theo is serving the fae court and having to find his new place. Even so, Theo keeps himself apart from others, aware that he’s a monster. It’s something that was ground into him for years, and even now, with Zack (Diego’s friend and current Fae Counsul) on his side, Theo still isn’t comfortable with himself. Diego was almost a messiah figure to him, a change for the better; now he’s just a man and Theo isn’t certain how to deal with him. All he knows is that he has to save him.
Limpit is a selkie and is — almost literally — a fish out of water. He’s never been in the human world and doesn’t have the slightest clue how it works. He just knows he wanted an adventure and something about Theo draws him like bait. He likes Theo, and he wants to be liked back. As the youngest selkie (the fae don’t have many children; Limpit is his pod’s only child), he’s used to being spoiled, protected and indulged. Only, Theo doesn’t have the time or the inclination to baby him and, in its own cruel way, this adventure is encouraging Limpit to do more for himself as well as for others, to realize he can pull his own weight
Together they’re not quite the best of friends. It’s taciturn meeting the tactless, and like water on stone, Limpit is wearing away at Theo’s shell. For Theo, Limpit is someone who needs his protection, someone — like his little sisters — he can take care of and look after. But it’s not infantilizing (Limpit is, after all, some 700 years old.) The selkie is naive, not innocent. Theo lost his family’s unconditional love when he became a vampire, and he thought he’d found it with Diego, only … that wasn’t love, and it wasn’t what Theo needed. Limpit is willing to love Theo, all of Theo, the sharp and the soft.
Like the other books in this series, this story is filled with plans that always work, people who always get along (eventually), and so many convenient happenings that it feels more like a fairy tale than a romance. Limpit has a bit too much treacle in his nature, for me, but there’s a sincerity under all that sweetness that makes the book, and the characters, work for me. This is a feel-good series and a feel-good book, and sometimes you just want to wrap yourself up in a blanket of true love and happily ever afters.