Rating: 4 stars
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Piers grew up in foster care after his uncle died, only barely remembering his parting words. That Piers is not from this world, that his name is something else, and that he has magic. Throughout his life, Piers has made things happen with no explanation, but he dismisses it as unbelievable. Until a night with a stranger, who looks like the man he’s dreamed about his whole life, awakens his latent power.
Prince Wycke has long lived up to his “wicked” nickname. But when his sister tasks him with traveling from the magical realm to the human one in order to find the baby she saved years ago, he doesn’t expect to fall for the man he meets. But a night of passion bonds them, and awakens both their magic. And though neither knows what to do next, their lives change immeasurably.
Because Piers’ mother was evil, before she had the princess save her baby, she set plans in motion that could not be stopped. Those who were loyal to her are after Piers. But Piers doesn’t know how to use his magic, let alone anything else about the magical realm.
With help from Piers’ friend and other magical creatures in the human realm, Piers and Wycke escape, only to find things in the magical realm in upheaval and their lives at stake. It’ll take everything they have, all the magic they possess, and their bond in order to not only save their lives, but the realm as well.
The blurb on this one intrigued me and I was quick to pick it up. And though it had a bit of a slow start for me, things picked up and kept me engaged in the story. This is the story of two realms, of two men who don’t know how to use their magic, and about a decades-old battle that still rages in different ways.
I enjoyed the world building in this book. Winters has crafted an interesting narrative between the two realms, the way magic works, and how it affects the magical realm in particular. This is a long book, though, and there are lots of details. At times, especially in the beginning, I felt this bogged down the story some. I’m a fan of detailed world building, so ultimately I appreciated much of the backstory. However, with the way this book starts, I found myself wishing it moved faster. Having much of the backstory upfront made me wish I discovered it throughout the story instead. Knowing what happened, and how Piers and Wycke came to be in their situations before we met them as adults, lessened some of the tension for me.
I really liked both Piers and Wycke, and thought they were well drawn. For the most part, they are the two we get POVs from, in alternating chapters. But in the beginning, we get other POVs as well. For the most part, this worked for me, and I liked that we got to understand the MCs well, as knowing their thought processes helped with character quirks that would have otherwise been off-putting for me. Wycke is not as arrogant as he seems at first glance, and both Wycke and Piers are big hearted.
Their romance is a secondary plot line in a lot of ways, as it only drives part of the story. Their chemistry was immediate, their bonding a surprise, and I liked that though there was clear affection and adoration between them, they didn’t immediately fall in love. These guys work on a romantic level, and that serves to elevate certain parts of the plot. When things get bad, they have that connection.
Overall, I liked this story. It was long and involved, and at times the pacing felt a little off to me. But there’s a lot of drama, humor, and interesting world building to push the story along. If you’re a fan of magical stories, I’d say give this on a try