Rating: 2.75 stars
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Kelly O’Malley is dancing the night away when a bounty hunter shows up and drags him off the dance floor. Kelly hasn’t done anything wrong, but the bounty is set to bring him before The Law. Kelly goes along because he knows it would be futile to fight.
Graham would be a fool to pass up that much money on a bounty. He doesn’t care what O’Malley did or that he claims innocence. But over the journey to the Abode where The Law resides, Graham begins to think maybe Kelly is telling the truth. And his attraction to the little mage doesn’t help.
The two become close and act on their attraction, but Graham has to turn Kelly over no matter his feelings. However, he can’t stop thinking about the mage and feeling as though he did something wrong by letting him go. When Graham heads back to the Abode, he sees that things aren’t what they seem. And getting Kelly out won’t be easy. But when Graham is threatened, Kelly goes to the extreme.
The premise of this one intrigued me, but sadly, the execution failed. Mostly because there is no depth to this story and it barely scratches the surface of the characters and world building. There’s a lot going on, nothing is really explained, and it’s just a quick succession of events that have no real exploration.
The story is told in alternating POVs with Kelly and Graham, as well as a third character. Upon seeing this, I expected a good explanation into the world and the story. Unfortunately, that’s not what happens. These chapters are short, sometimes no more than a few of paragraphs, and I was left feeling like I was skimming a story despite reading every word. There’s just that little information. Kelly and Graham are caricatures more than characters, and their jump from attraction to even acting on it isn’t very believable. There’s no depth here and it failed to draw me in and get me invested.
There’s a passing attempt at world building, but again, it just barely scratched the surface. A few sentences here and there to try and explain in more depth, but every time I thought there was finally going to be explanation, it petered out with just that. I was left frustrated because there was so much jumping around. And for a rather short book, a lot of happens, though as I stated, it’s more just a series of events.
The romance wasn’t believable, the magic system was bordering on interesting but never got there, and I finished this book feeling unsatisfied. If my review seems vague, it’s because the book was as well. I wanted so much more from this. Even though it’s the first of what appears to be a trilogy, that doesn’t account for the vague surface storytelling, and though it ends on a cliffhanger, I won’t be continuing. There just wasn’t anything here to draw me in and engage my interest.
Note: Per the author, though this is a re-release and it has had extensive edits, the basic content remains the same as the original version and no substantial story changes were made.