For the past month, Wicky has felt somebody reaching out to him through magic. He can tell that somebody is seeking him, but not who it is or why. Wicky finally has decided it’s time to confess what’s going on to his friends, so he goes to Bel for help. With Bel able to see magic, he can give a rough idea of where the spell is coming from and senses the user’s benevolent intent. He can also tell that the person looking for Wicky is using Asian magic. Wicky decides that the only way to solve this magical mystery is to try to get closer to the spell’s origin, so he, along with Bel, Garen, and Nico, begins heading west.
When Sun came of age, he conducted a magical ritual designed to give him a glimpse into his future. In his vision, Sun saw a blonde man reaching out to him, someone that Sun can tell meant a lot to him. Unfortunately, Sun doesn’t know who the man is or where he lives. Now that he has graduated college, Sun has been trying to find this man that he knows is destined to be in his future. For the last month, he has been unsuccessful with his seeking spell, but over the last few days, it’s clear that the man is moving closer. Sun can only hope that this means his mystery man is looking for him too.
When Wicky and Sun finally end up connecting, both men are excited, but also a little wary. Wicky has no idea why Sun is seeking him or what it means now that they’ve found each other. Sun knows that Wicky is destined to be in his future, but he has no idea how the man is going to react to the idea that they are meant to be together. Fortunately, after knowing Bel, Nico, and Garen, Wicky is used to the idea of magic getting involved in fate. But he also isn’t completely sure what Sun’s goals are or what he wants for the two of them. Sun also knows that being with Wicky means moving across the world and that his family is not going to be happy. Wicky and Sun are meant to be together, and if they can get past the hurdles, they will have an amazing future with each other.
A Mage’s Guide to Wicky is the third book, and A.J. Sherwood’s R’iyah Family Archives series. The first two books focus on the trio of Bel, Nico, and Garen, and Wicky has been a prominent side character. This story takes a bit of a detour in that it focuses on Wicky finding love with Sun, so there are new MCs here and their romance stands alone. However, the main trio do play a big role here as side characters, and a basic understanding of the main storyline and world building is assumed, so I think series readers will get the most out of this one. Unlike the first two books that include a second plot focused on magical mayhem that the team has to fight, this story is almost exclusively focused on the relationship between Wicky and Sun. As a result, it reads more like an interlude to the main story and is shorter than the other books.
I like the way that Sherwood explored a different side of magic in this story and there’s some nice world building. We learn right away that it is an Asian style of magic seeking Wicky and so the story exposes us to a type of magic that’s different than we’ve already seen so far. We also get some nice scenes where the men travel to Thailand and have an opportunity to learn a little about the culture and do some sightseeing while they’re there.
From a romance end, the conflict here is really watching Wicky and Sun find each other, rather than the question of whether or not they will end up together. Wicky is a little confused and unsure about what’s happening, but he is the kind of guy that just goes with it. Even with that uncertainty, there’s not a big hurdle for him once he learns what’s going on and he pretty much is all in quickly. I think Sherwood does a nice job of explaining how Wicky’s experience with Bel and his two familiars has prepared him for the idea that fate might get involved in love, and that it’s possible for a mate to sort of be picked for him magically, so I think that works well in explaining his easy acceptance of the situation.
In Sun’s case, even though he’s the one that comes into this knowing the men have a connection, I did actually wish for a little bit more explanation to understand where he’s coming from at times. Sun is immediately prepared to give up his entire life to move across the world and leave his family and everything he knows for a total stranger. When the two of them meet, they spend maybe two days together before Sun is ready to just pick up everything and go. I think having a better sense of how other people have used these sort of visions of the future to make major life decisions would have helped so that I could understand how he is ready to just not only blindly accept his fate, but also how he’s willing to change his entire life based on it. Sun is also frequently frustrated with his family that they are not fully on board with the idea both of his relationship with Wicky, but also him moving to America. And while I get Sun’s enthusiasm, I also found it sort of strange that he couldn’t possibly understand why they were not thrilled about the idea of their son partnering with a stranger, moving across the world, and entering a dangerous career by working with Wicky’s team. It made Sun seem a little bit immature to me that he couldn’t at least understand where they were coming from.
That said, I really did enjoy this story and the chance to follow Wicky and Sun’s meeting. There is a fated mates quality to it all, so things happen fast, but I think it works well within the larger magical world Sherwood has built. I like Wicky a lot as a character, so I enjoyed seeing him find love here. It is also great to have a chance to reconnect with Bel, Nico, and Garen. It sounds like there are more adventures to come for the whole gang and I am very much looking forward to more.