When Cosmo Ono-Nai and his pride are assigned to work with two magi on their new TRD response team with the NHSO, things don’t start off on the right foot. Cos immediately butts heads with Madeo, a prickly magi with a huge attitude. He never expected to fall for Mads, nor be bonded to him. But they are and they are finding their footing, both as a couple and as a team.
When the NHSO begins a manhunt for a young, unregistered magi, Cos is once again reminded of the abuse and torment magi are subjected to. And he knows how much it affects Mads and Jude. It upsets him too, as he doesn’t think the way magi are treated is right. With that in mind, Cos offers to help Mads track down the young magi and help get him to safety. Mads initially hesitates, because as much as Mads wants this kid to be free, he knows how dangerous it is. Especially with the whole of the NHSO after him. And while Cos appreciates that Mads doesn’t want Cos or the pride in danger, Cos knows they have to help.
Working together brings Cos and Mads even closer. Figuring out their bond and how they fit into each other’s lives is only part of their struggle. Cos is also feeling uncertain as to whether or not Mads wants this relationship as much as he does. But Cos isn’t about to give up, and he’ll do whatever it takes to show Mads just how much he supports him.
This is a companion novella to the larger Magi Accounts series and, as such, is not meant to be read as a standalone. Here we get to see Cos’ POV, which is a treat to see after the first book. Though the prologue is Cos’ viewpoint of a scene we saw in The Scars That Bind Us, the majority of the story is after the events of that first book and setting up for the second (yet to be released) book. I liked that we get into Cos’ head here. He almost seemed too good to be true in the first book, and being able to see his thought processes helped flesh him out a bit more.
Mostly, we get to see just how good Cos is. As leader of his pride, he’s a caretaker, and that extends to everyone in his life whom he cares about. We also get to see his insecurities and how he’s working through them. It’s not easy, and he has valid concerns. I would have liked to see more conversation between Cos and Mads about some of what Cos is feeling. However, it’s clear why Cos keeps it to himself and does his best to push it away. Some of what he feels he knows isn’t exactly rational. But mostly, after the atrocities Mads has faced in his life, it’s not right or fair to put more pressure on him.
This story focuses mostly on the relationship between Cosmo and Mads, and how they are working out how to fit together. But it also serves to provide more information to Cos, and therefore the reader, about how this dystopian world works, especially in regards to magi. Cos and his pride came from a rural area where much of this information was just not known. I will say here that I felt there were sections of this book that wandered too close to “info dump” territory and slowed the pacing a bit. In the same vein, there were scenes toward the beginning that were too much telling and not enough showing. However, given that this is a companion story, some of that makes sense, as it would just be rehashing scenes the reader has already viewed, just through a different lens.
The rest of the story is about the team working together, behind the NHSO’s back, to locate the unregistered magi and get him to safety. I liked watching them together, and how they supported one another. And it went a long way to cementing them together and, maybe more importantly, proving to Mads and Jude that the pride can be trusted. There wasn’t much in the way of world building here, but it did keep in line with the world the author has already created. And the story, as a whole, sets up a foundation for the next book in the series.
If you’re reading along, then you definitely don’t want to miss this side story. I’m still enjoying my romp into this world and with these characters that Notaro has created. And after this, I’m looking forward to book two even more.