Nevahn was orphaned as a young boy and was left homeless and hungry. There is no place in his world for someone like him and becoming an apprentice to a blacksmith is the best that Nevahn can hope for. He’s not the most skilled apprentice at the forge, but he’s a dedicated worker. When Nevahn ventures to where he is warned not to go, he winds up making a deal with the Lord of Nightmares, Cian, and is taken away to another world, a world filled with terrifying and walking monstrous nightmares. If Nevahn thought that Cian was scary, it is only because he hadn’t met Hellion yet. But something calls to him from both Cian and Hellion. Cian and Hellion have a long history with a lot of unfinished business, but Nevahn dreams about being between them and bringing them all closer together in a world on the edge of war.
For the past fifty years, Cian has mourned the demise of his relationship with Hellion and has been consumed with helping his people claim their freedom. But Nevahn is in Cian’s head now and the thought of claiming him fills his thoughts. Now, with Hellion back, Cian’s heart is split and this is not the time to be distracted for matters of the heart. Cian has to stay focused and lead his people to a new tomorrow or there might not be a tomorrow.
Hellion is supposed to keep the peace between their court and Cian’s. So much is unfinished between them and Cian, but Hellion’s heart will always belong to Cian. Except, Hellion’s feels a pull to Nevahn and some of that pull makes Hellion question whether Nevahn is truly all human. Sparks are flying between the three of them just as true as the sparks in the forge. But war is upon them and there are truths yet to be told and when Nevahn learns it all, the three of them will have to sacrifice everything to find the peace they all desperately need.
It’s a good sign to be 15% into a book and look to see if the second book in the series has been released, and that’s what I found myself doing while reading A Dream of Flame and Shadow. Fantasy and monsters are not my primary genre, but it’s great to pick a story up that truly captivates from the start. Nevahn is the first character we meet and, while we get POVs from Cian and Hellion and well, it feels mostly like his story. He gets swept away to a world he truly never knew existed and, despite everything, feels at home there.
While the land Nevahn goes to is filled with the most nightmarish of monsters, it’s not a scary or overly gory book. These characters maintain a softness to them despite all of the hardships they have endured. There is a lot going on in this story, with a land on the brink of war that has a long long history to it. There is the relationship between Cian and Hellion and lots of history between them and then the relationship between the three of them. I instantly liked all of them and Hellion is a particularly fascinating character. There is a lot that Nevahn doesn’t know and, when he finds out, it changes everything.
The characters and the world are fascinating, but there is so much to learn and work through with this story. The reason behind the war runs deep and it takes a while to fully learn that story and I kept feeling like I was missing something when it hadn’t been disclosed yet. Also, there are signs and conversations that Nevahn is more than he seems, but that gets pushed aside for now. While the story does end on a soft cliffhanger and there is more story to come, I did wish more had been explained in some areas.
This is also the story of Nevahn’s journey as he rises up from thinking he is no one to thinking maybe he can be someone and that there might be a home for him in this strange land. I definitely enjoyed my time in this land with Nevahn, Cian, and Hellion and am anticipating continuing on in the next book.