A guest review by Jenre
A well written, sweet urban fantasy romance with a hero so delightful I wanted to take him home and love him forever.
Daniel Hart is a graduate student at the University of Arcane Studies, who works in a museum and mostly enjoys his calm, routine life. Everything changes when he meets Rhys Daveth, a visiting businessman with mysterious connections who pursues him with a passion that Daniel has never experienced before. The chemistry between them is undeniable, but things take a turn for the worse when Daniel is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, one that he suspects his new lover had a hand in. Once the truth comes out, Daniel will have to choose between the future he had planned and something deeper, more exciting and far more dangerous than he could have imagined.
I’ve read quite a few of Cari Z’s m/m short stories and always found them to be well written, with solid plotting and characters, so when I saw this book I knew I was going to be in for a good story. Actually this was more than good, mainly due to the character of Daniel who I found completely delightful.
Daniel is a grad student who also works at the university museum of arcane magic. He’s happy in his studies and doesn’t mind too much that he has only limited magical skills. Whilst at work he meets Rhys, a visiting businessman who sweeps him off his feet, and into Rhys’ bed. Taken in by Rhys good looks and charm, Daniel doesn’t realise that there is more to the handsome shifter, until it’s too late.
How much you like this story depends very much on your feelings towards the first person narrator, Daniel. I have to admit I’m a complete sucker for guys with low self-esteem and Daniel fits this type exactly. He’s studious and serious (another of my favourite characteristics) and although he has friends and gets on with his work colleagues, he spends most of his time studying for his thesis and working at the museum. It’s no wonder then that he is so overwhelmed by Rhys, who just bowls him over with his charm. I quickly connected with Daniel and then felt completely helpless as events unfolded in the book. I could see what was coming pages before it happened, and part of my enjoyment of the book was anticipating the moment when Daniel realised that all was not as he thought, and seeing his reaction. I also liked that Daniel wasn’t a weak man. He’s sensible and when things go wrong he doesn’t resort to tears, but manages to keep himself together despite the hurt he feels. He also grows as a character through the story, becoming more confident thanks to Rhys’ attention. Rhys is less well defined, but there was enough in terms of characterisation to lift him from just being hot and handsome. The heroes worked well as a couple and the sex scenes were blistering as well as romantic – just how I like it – and I was satisfied with the conclusion to the story.
Another aspect of the book which worked was in the UF setting. It’s not too far off a contemporary setting, and so the UF part is in the details rather than sweeping descriptions or complex world-building. This meant that the setting was familiar but with an added twist which I felt worked well, especially as the focus of the story is on Daniel and his relationship with Rhys rather than some epic story involving lots of characters.
The only niggle I had was due to Rhys’ occupation, which I can’t say much about here or I’ll give the whole plot away. Suffice to say, I felt a bit uncomfortable with it. I also felt that Daniel was perhaps too accepting of what Rhys is, especially given how good and honest Daniel is. It gave a slightly false note to Daniel’s character at the end of the book, which was a shame when otherwise his characterisation was realistic.
If you’re looking for a well written UF-lite story with a great hero; good writing; and a nice mix of drama, romance and humour (the scene where Daniel speaks to his mother after he is arrested was very amusing), then I’d recommend Treasured. I enjoyed it a great deal and found it hard to put down once I’d started.