Callum wakes up to a stranger smoothing his hair, a stranger who had been watching him sleep. If that wasn’t crazy enough, Callum can’t even remember his own name or how he got here, let alone why he’s in an unfamiliar bed. As any normal person would do, Callum asks for the handsome stranger’s name — which turns out to be Ainsley — only to be disappointed that it’s not a name as beautiful and angelic as the man himself. Ainsley knows who Callum is, or was, but won’t answer any of his questions. What he will do, though, is show Callum around the marvelous and magical and completely unbelievable town of Silkwater.
Silkwater is something like Atlantis, only it’s a city of paranormal creatures living under a lake. Everyone here is something magical. Does that mean Callum is as well? Why won’t Ainsley tell him who he is or how he got here? And, more importantly, does Callum even want to know?
To be honest, nothing in this book worked for me. The idea of a city of paranormal and magical people living under a magic lake was interesting, but that’s all it was. An idea. Due to his amnesia, Callum has all the personality of a blank page. He knows nothing (unless he does) and has no emotional response to anything, as every person, place, and thing is new to him. He not only learns that he’s able to breathe water like a fish, he learns there are mermen, shifters, unicorns, and vampires walking around the place. It’s hard to connect to him as a character because there just isn’t much there. He made wild leaps of logic, but instead of feeling like it’s because clues had been laid out or because he was clever, it feels like he did them because the script told him to.
Ainsley was a little better, but he and Callum felt like a sketch of where something ought to be— like Silkwater, itself — rather than being anything themselves. Ainsley is beautiful, tall, and Callum’s kidnapper. He didn’t kidnap Callum out of cruelty or malice; he kidnapped Callum out of love. He lives with his mother, who understands the depths of his feelings for Callum and accepts both her son’s actions and Callum’s arrival into their home with charm and grace. Ainsley wants very much for Callum to want to stay in Silkwater. I imagine he also wants Callum to love him back, but he ends up taken by surprise when Callum does eventually confess his love.
Ainsley has been spying on Callum for all his life, since he was a child, and fell in love with him. He watched Callum go through life, fall in love, and then suffer from heartache so severe it broke his heart and caused him to try to kill himself. But once Callum realizes Ainsley didn’t let him die, he falls head over heels in love with him and the heartache that caused him to try to commit suicide feels forgotten just like that. There’s also the vampire he was head over heels in love with and then wasn’t. Or the vampire who was about to rape him, but he died so it’s okay. Nothing felt like it had any weight. It seemed like no one cared about anything, and no one had any reaction to anything. Even Callum mouthing the words “I love you” didn’t have emotional resonance for me.
If this hadn’t been a short story, I would have DNF’d it and it took me longer than it should have to read it. There was nothing for me to grab on to or have interest in. The plot itself, the events of the story, left me both confused and bored and it just didn’t work. Certainly the characters (who I also didn’t connect to) didn’t seem to care about what was going on. The one spark of something almost there was the author’s brief idea of shifters. That they were born with a soul too powerful for one body, so were given two. It’s the one idea that I’ll take away from this story, and it was a throwaway line. Regretfully, I am left indifferent to this story and suggest you give it a pass.