Author: M. Raiya
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Rating: 4.50 of 5 Stars
Most people would consider near perfect recall, an ability to crunch numbers that rivals a computer’s, and an uncanny knack for predicting the stock market to be remarkable gifts. But for Kyle, those abilities also curse him to recall every moment of his horrible, abusive past. Searching for an escape, he takes his therapist’s advice and leaves his finance job behind for a weeklong camping trip on a remote lake in Vermont. He’s not sure how a week in seclusion with nothing but his own thoughts for company will be the reprieve he needs. Then he stumbles across a man engaged in a pagan ritual and is drawn into mysteries he never dreamed existed, and realizes nature is more distracting than he thought.
What a lovely, magical story was my first thought, even though I was otherwise at a bit of a loss with this novella. It even defies any categorization. Contemporary romance? BDSM? Shape-shifting fantasy? Myth? This story had a little bit of all that and yet didn’t fit anywhere. And I liked it all the better for it.
First, there’s the narrator, Kyle. The story is told from his 1st person POV and yet he doesn’t speak a single word in the whole book. Not one. Having a mute character as the narrator is a stylistic element I’ve never met before. You’d think missing dialogue from the POV narrator would create a distance, but the opposite is true. Being exclusively in Kyle’s head, I felt deeply immersed in the story.
Anyway, the writing deserves mentioning – as much value as I place on beautiful wordsmithing, this novella made me happy as I found the prose as lovely as the story itself. Sigh.
Then there’s the loon – I had to look up what a loon is since I’d never heard of that bird before. (In case that’s not just me, here is the wiki link, by the way). And speaking of hearing – here are recordings of the loon calls that play such a prominent role in this story. An unique animal to shift into, that’s for sure, but a perfect fit.
The romance between Kyle and Jon happened incredibly fast; sure, there was the mythical element as an explanation, but this felt a bit rushed, as I’ve found it’s often the case with novellas. Which I thought really too bad for this story in particular, because I found the underlying mythology incredibly interesting and would’ve loved to learn more about it. That was also my only issue with this story – after all the complex buildup for Kyle’s character, I was a little frustrated to see him go through such a profound shift in perspective solely based on some kind of magical bond. I missed a bit more of angsting from him, but that’s probably only me.
Even the ending was perfect – fairy-taleish, mythical, a HEA that felt still a bit uncertain and left room for imagination. I can only recommend this dreamy, beautiful little novella.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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