Author: Anah Crow and Dianne Fox
Cover Artist: Angela Waters
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Buy Link: Buy Link Trammel
Genre: M/M fantasy romance
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
This second in the Foundations of Magic series proved to be as complex and compelling as the first.
Neither love nor magic comes without cost.
Foundations of Magic, Book 2
In the relative security of Atlantic City, Lindsay feels safe for the first time in his life. He and Dane even sneak away from their mage “family” for the occasional date.
All that ends with the arrival of Noah, whose magic is a pure, wild fire fueled by terrible grief over the loss of his wife. To Lindsay’s great surprise, he is assigned to be Noah’s mentor, protector and healer. Of course, his efforts to help Noah master his immense power aren’t without a few fiery slip-ups.
Just as Lindsay is rising to the challenge, word comes that Moore, the scientist who once imprisoned Lindsay, holds a young girl who has manifested a powerful new magic. The desperate mission to free her leaves Noah severely wounded, Dane captured…and Lindsay in charge of those who remain.
The fate of Dane and the lives of the family rest on Lindsay’s untested shoulders. He must trust in himself and his growing connection to Noah to save his lover, his friends, and everyone else who will suffer if Moore’s plans go unchecked.
I greatly enjoyed the first book in this series Tatterdemalion, which I reviewed here, and I was really looking forward to reading this next book. It’s been a whole year since I read Tatterdemalion and I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to remember the characters. As it is my worries proved to be groundless as I easily slipped back into the fantasy world created by the authors.
The story begins closely after the end of the previous book. Lindsay, who is a mage with the ability to create elaborate illusions, is enjoying his time of training with Dane, a shifter, who as well as being in charge of Lindsay, is his lover. Into the group of mages, led by Cyrus, comes Noah, who as a fire mage has come into his powers relatively late and who has been sent by his family to Cyrus to be healed and trained. Cyrus gives Noah to Lindsay, changing the dynamic of his and Dane’s relationship slightly. When evil scientist, Moore, captures a newly turned female mage, Dane, Lindsay, Noah and the other mages are charged with saving her from Moore, a task which changes things for ever for the group of mages.
The main thread of plot which runs through this story is that of Noah and Lindsay. Lindsay is at first tasked with training Noah into his new powers, but this leads to much more as an attraction builds between them. As such the book becomes a sort of triangle between Lindsay, Dane and Noah and as the book progresses the shifts and changes in the relationship between these three are explored. For me this was the most interesting part of the book, especially because we see Lindsay grow in confidence and move from what was quite a passive character in the first book into someone who knows he is strong and can take charge. At one point in the book, Lindsay inadvertently becomes the leader of a small group of mages and I found it delightful to see how, after a certain amount of resistance to the idea, he was able to flourish in that role.
Dane is missing for quite a lot of the book and so the main romantic pairing is Lindsay and Noah for quite a number of pages. Their relationship is so different to that of Lindsay and Dane, that I wasn’t at all put off by the fact that the two grow close. In fact, the way that the three men all bring different facets to the relationship made me feel optimistic as to their success. It helped that themes such as Noah’s isolation, his recovery from the death of his wife and his jealousy were given space in the book just as much as the growing affection he has for Lindsay, so that when the two men finally make a move on each other it feels realistic. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this relationship develops into the next book. One thing to note, this isn’t an m/m/m book as such because there is no romantic or sexual scenes involving Dane and Noah, just separately between Lindsay and the two men.
Other parts which worked for me were in the exciting action sequences which take place during the daring rescue scenes. I also liked the way that the little band of mages form together, and the tensions that causes. Each character was given enough to come across as three dimensional, and all had a part to contribute to the story. The book is structured with tightly written action followed by more fluid and slow moving sections and if I have any complaints its that these slower sections lost focus a little. However, I could understand that the authors were using the slower sections to build characterisation so it didn’t bother me too much. Besides, these slower sections were then followed by tense scenes involving Moore and her laboratory, or faster paced scenes, making the plot varied and exciting to read.
Overall those who liked Tatterdemalion will be very pleased with this sequel. If you haven’t read that first book then I do feel you ought to read it before this one as although you can still understand the action and characters in this book, much of the relationship between Dane and Linsday is built within that first book. Personally I can’t wait for the next in the series as this book was an absorbing read with fascinating characters and a intriguing magical world which sits alongside our own, yet hidden from view. Marvellous and recommended!