Theodore has never traveled far from the town where he grew up; in fact, other than college, he has never left. Instead, Theodore is running the bookstore his father established and living his adventures through the fantasy novels he reads. When a new shop suddenly appears where none has ever stood before, Theodore is drawn to it and, once inside, is given a strange looking wooden object. A few hours later, a man appears and informs Theodore that the object he has is a hilt that is part of a dangerous dagger that must be returned to his realm in order for it to be destroyed before it falls into the wrong hands. Theodore is certain he must be hallucinating, but the man, the hilt, and an entire race of creatures he thought were only mythological are staring him in the face. Theodore decides he will help this man, Samuel, get the dagger back to his realm, even if it all seems just a little bit crazy.
Knight and Day by Jacki James is one of the books from the multi-author Magic Emporium collection. Set in a world where different realms exist alongside the human one, this story is pure and unadulterated fantasy and must be approached as such. If you are looking for a lot of world building or background, this is not a story where you will find it. Instead, the reader is thrust into this magical place and expected to suspend all disbelief, which means accepting that Theodore very quickly, almost instantaneously, goes along with the idea that there are a whole host of creatures and places he never knew existed right outside his door.
The story is lots of fun, low angst, and rather simple, but still very interesting. I like how Samuel, a guardian from a place called Evorea, is a culmination of all that is best in a person—loyal, true, and kind. He and Theodore fit together nicely and, of course, instantly fall in love—another bit of fantasy that just seems so right in this cute little romance. While there is a mention of an immortal bad guy, the author doesn’t make him a reality, something I think should have happened since the threat of this person is mentioned more than once and seems to be the basis for Samuel’s need for haste in returning the dagger to the king.
While it is important to remember that this is not a full novel, plot-wise I still feel the author struggled to create a complete story, even though most of the bits and pieces of lore are explained eventually. I think it came down to creating a sense of this alternate world where places like Evorea exist. I also feel that Theodore taking everything in stride so quickly didn’t always make sense; he just seemed to shrug off the more fantastical aspects of what was happening around him and that is hard to swallow, even when it comes to this kind of story. Still, the chemistry between Samuel and Theodore is palpable and quite nice, as is their brief but intense romance.
I am looking forward to reading more stories from this collection. The idea of this floating magic emporium that shows up on a seeming whim to deliver something to a person who is unsuspecting should lend itself to some fabulous stories.