A guest review by Jenre
A well constructed paranormal romance which takes some well loved character conventions and mixes it effectively with an arresting plot.
Deep runs the world of magic—and desire.
Foundations of Magic, Book 1
Lindsay Carrington is a prisoner of his life—first in the mundane world, then in the military testing facility where his parents sent him to have his magic dissected, studied and “fixed”. When he finally escapes, freedom comes at great cost. The man who rescues him from near death in a dark alley is far from a savior. He’s a feral mage nearly as broken as Lindsay himself.
Dane knows better than to argue with the wind that summoned him to Lindsay’s rescue, but playing nursemaid isn’t the role he envisioned for himself in the battle to end the human campaign to control his people. In spite of his resistance, he is bound to the delicate, skittish mage who unwittingly harbors one of the greatest magical powers ever known.
Lindsay desperately hides his growing desire, sure that Dane could never reciprocate. Yet Dane lays his life on the line to protect him, restoring the one thing Lindsay thought was gone forever: hope.
But true freedom to live—and to love—will elude Lindsay until he can regain his magic and win Dane’s complete devotion. And survive long enough to do both.
Tatterdemalion begins in frightening fashion. Lindsay, the young hero of the book has been captured and institutionalised. He’s a mage who has been handed over by his parents to be ‘cured’. This treatment involves keeping Lindsay drugged and subjecting him to horrific testing that leaves him outwardly in pain but inwardly numb, his magic trapped and broken inside him. When things go wrong, Lindsay escapes, only to be rescued by Dane, a twisted shifter mage whose magic is also broken, almost beyond repair. Together the two men travel to Europe to see what effect the tests have had on Lindsay’s magic and whether he can be made whole again.
On the surface there are several well loved themes running through this book, especially in terms of the characterisation. There’s the ‘beauty and the beast’ theme, with young and pretty Lindsay falling in love with the bestial Dane. There’s also the theme of protector/protected as the physically imposing and stronger Dane cares for the smaller, weaker Lindsay who Dane affectionately calls his ‘little bunny’. If that were all there was to the characterisation then this book would not be graded as highly as it is. Instead the book takes these well known themes and adds a twist to them. Dane may be physically stronger than Lindsay, but both of them are broken. Dane’s magic has been twisted causing his rough hewn appearance and an inability to shift, so he’s almost stuck half way between beast and man. Lindsay’s magic is stuck as well, hidden inside him and he is unable to use it without great physical pain. This levels the field a little in terms of their relationship, as they both try and fail to save each other using their broken magic. The way that the two men change through the story, with Lindsay recovering from his ordeal at the institution and changes in Dane too, which I don’t want to go into for fear of spoilers, means that by the end of the book the two men are almost equal, if not in age and experience, then in terms of ability. At the beginning of the book Dane is ‘assigned’ Lindsay to take care of, giving him all the control in the relationship, especially as Lindsay falls quickly for Dane, the only person who has ever shown him any affection. Yet as the book ends, it is Lindsay who holds much of the emotional power and I liked how this shift had been so gradual, so integral to the story, that it wasn’t until the end that I realised it had happened.
The story itself moves swiftly from place to place, keeping a pacey feel to the book. There was a nice balance of action sequences, emotionally laden scenes and quiet moments so that the story kept my interest and pushed me onwards towards the conclusion. Not all the questions in this book are answered, especially in terms of what happens to certain characters and some of the back story of the characters and how they affect Dane in particular. As this is the first book in a series, I didn’t mind that so much. In fact, it made me interested as to who will feature in the next book and how their story will intertwine with Dane and Lindsay and the events in this book.
If I had any problems with this book it was that because the focus is solely on Dane and Lindsay, some of the world building is only really hinted at. I hungered for more information about the mages, how they operated, who the mysterious Cyrus and the equally mysterious Ezqel really are and how they fit with each other. I also wanted to know more about the enemy, Jonas the shifter and ‘the girl’ Lourdes and why they are against Cyrus. Other questions about the institution where Lindsay is held at the beginning of the novel were not answered either. I’m hoping these are all questions which will be answered in subsequent books in the series, otherwise I may feel cheated.
Having said that, because the focus is on Lindsay and Dane, this book provides a richness of romance, as we follow the two heroes on their way to love. The sex scenes were beautifully erotic, and the tenderness between the pair was palpable. I really liked the way that they grow into their feelings for each other, the shift and change as they move from mere acquaintances, bound by duty and thankfulness, into deeper feelings and I left them at the end of the book, satisfied with the outcome to their romance.
If you are looking for an unusual paranormal story with a strong romantic plot then you can’t go much wrong with this book and I’m very much looking forward to the next book in the series. Highly recommended.