Author: Anne Barwell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Rating: 4.00 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 08/27/2012
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Sequel to Cat’s Quill
Tomas and Cathal have escaped from Naearu, Cathal’s mystical homeworld, but happily ever after is never as straightforward in real life as it is in books. Then again, most people don’t deal with the complication of a lover who’s magically bound to a tree or have an interfering cat for a cousin.
With Naearu’s police force, the Falcons, still after Cathal, he can’t go home. Now that he and Tomas have consummated their relationship, Cathal’s abilities are evolving and changing to the point that Tomas can sense them. And until the oak portal closes, Cathal—and his new life with Tomas—are in limbo, as Cathal can’t expect Tomas to stay with someone who can never venture past the property line. Will he and Tomas ever get to follow through on their engagement?
This is the sequel to Cat’s Quill, and I strongly recommend they be read in order. Magic’s Muse is not a standalone novel, even though there is some reprising of what happened in Cat’s Quill, it makes far more sense to read the first book where Tomas and Cathal, and their problems, are introduced.
In Magic’s Muse Cathal and Tomas are back from their less than pleasant time in Naearu, but they still have difficulties to face. Cathal is not yet free of the binding that keeps him close to the oak tree, and the portal has not yet closed. With the portal still open they are still vulnerable to attack, which adds to the tension. Tomas is still trying to understand certain things that happened and are happening, as well as navigating his relationship with Cathal. More realities impinge such as Cathal’s refusal to be a ‘kept man’, and his inability to move far from the oak tree.
The reprising slows things a little, as does various characters catching each other up on what happened while they were in Naearu, and what it means, especially for Cathal and Tomas and their future together. I admit I wanted a little less talking and more action in this novel.
However, I was pleased to see that Tomas had grown somewhat as person, though he still fell back on his innate insecurity and uncertainty enough that it did not feel as if he’d had a personality transplant. Cathal and Tomas are lovely together, and for me this is the strength of the novel. I wanted them to have a HEA.
Overall this is a pleasant fantasy read, with engaging characters and a sweet romance at its heart.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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