Trammel

Title: Trammel
Author: Anah Crow and Dianne Fox
Cover Artist: Angela Waters
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Buy Link: Buy Link Trammel
Genre: M/M fantasy romance
Length: Novel
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

A guest review by Jenre

Summary Review:
This second in the Foundations of Magic series proved to be as complex and compelling as the first.

THE BLURB

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.

THE REVIEW

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!

20 comments

  • Hmmm. can’t lie, I’m a little torn here. LOVED the first book, in no small part because of Dane and his journey. And I have this /thing/ about characters individually becoming involved with others outside of the main pairing, once said pairing has been established. A thing which can be overcome, depending on the details, and how it is handled by the author(s). Like, I could deal with and enjoy Fleury in Erastes’ Standish (his self sacrifice at the end helped), and the Ranger/Morelli thing in the Stephanie Plum novels (although NGL, I can’t understand how anyone really expects her to end up with anyone but Morelli). Still, a /thing/…

    I think I’m going to have to read it, just to see. And at least I kind of know what to expect, so that I don’t feel betrayed by it. (Because, yeah, that is exactly how it can make me feel as a reader, IDEK!)

    Reply
  • Apologies to everyone that I’m so late getting back to your comments. I’ve been on holiday this week with no internet access!

    Reply
  • I bought this book the other day so I am glad to hear you liked it. As with others, I am a bit anxious about the changing/addition of partners, but I will give it a chance since it sounds like you read and enjoyed both books. Thanks for the review!

    Reply
    • I’m glad you’re going to read it, Jayhjay :). I did enjoy this book and, to be honest, it never occurred to me whilst reading it that others would be annoyed about the slight change in the romantic direction. I was too caught up in the story and felt the authors had done a good job of showing how Noah and Lindsay’s relationship develops.

      Reply
  • Dammit! I pre-ordered the book because I loved Tatterdemalion so much but if I had known something like this was going to happen, I would’ve given it a pass. Now I’m wondering whether to read the book. I probably will at some point but only because I already paid for it and I’m cheap.

    I wish the blurb had been clearer on the love triangle. :wallbash:

    Reply
    • I think you should still give this a go, Enny, especially since you’ve already bought the book :). You may find that, like me, the love triangle works for you too.

      Reply
  • I’m also going to have to agree with everyone else here. I liked Dane and Lindsay. In the blurb I read previously there was no mention of a possible romantic interest between Lindsey and Noah. I’m really glad I read this before buying it. Thanks for the detailed review! I will admit I’m rather disappointed.

    Reply
    • Yes, the blurb doesn’t mention that Noah and Lindsay’s grows from that of mentor/pupil to something more. It’s a shame that my review has put you off the book because I felt the romance theme worked within the context of the situation the men are in.

      Reply
  • I guess I am going to agree with everyone else as I really do not want to read about another guy coming between Lindsay and Dane. For me, this series ends with Tatterdemalion. Which is too bad because Noah sounds like an interesting character, it’s too bad he couldn’t have gotten his own love interest outside of Lindsay. 🙁

    Reply
    • That is a shame, Lasha. To be fair, Noah doesn’t come between Dane and Lindsay because their relationship is still as strong, if not stronger, at the end of this book.

      Reply
  • Unfortunately I had the opposite reaction to the book as you did. I felt the relationship between Noah and Lindsey really diluted and invalidated the relationship between Dane and Lindsey. They are very different but it’s not really a menage either. It’s Lindsey with two lovers on the side, not really choosing or preferring one or the other. I also felt the lack of Dane really hurt the book. He’s such a dynamic and forceful character that I really missed seeing him.

    I do think the world building is wonderful but I was disappointed that the questions raised in the first book were completely dropped here and not mentioned unfortunately.

    Glad you liked it though.

    Reply
    • I can see where you are getting at here, Kassa, and I agree that Dane is a forceful character who added much to the last book – and to his scenes in this book too. Personally, I think that Dane’s absence was necessary for Lindsay’s growth as a character. With Dane around, Lindsay slips into the passive role and his doubts about his own competence continue because Dane will always be the stronger of the couple. We see this at the beginning when Dane is training Lindsay – and Lindsay’s frustration that he just can’t seem to beat Dane. With Dane out of the way, Lindsay has time to grow in strength and confidence, and his relationship with Noah is an extension of that. I agree that there isn’t a defined role for Noah in the relationship with Lindsay and Dane, but I’m hoping that aspect will be explored in more detail in the next book.

      Perhaps another reason why this book worked for me is that I liked Lindsay better than Dane in the first book and as such didn’t miss Dane as much as you did in this book.

      Reply
  • I don’t normally read books involving magic because it’s such a ridiculous concept. If I’d realized, when I started reading Tatterdemalion, that magic was central to the book, I probably wouldn’t have bothered with it. But I got sucked in by the characters and the excellent writing. I’m still not a convert,but Trammel will go on my to-buy list.

    Reply
    • Hi Catana
      I’m glad that you managed to get sucked into Tatterdemalion, despite not liking ‘magic’ books :). The same excellent writing and characters are in Trammel so I’m sure you’ll like this one too.

      Reply
  • I’m still on the fence about this one. I liked Tatterdemalion a lot and I was really looking forward to reading the sequel, but I also liked Dane so much that having the third man introduced in Lindsay’s and his relationship literally makes my skin crawl. After reading your review, I’m more inclined to skip it, but still not completely sure. Decisions, decisions. 😕

    Reply
    • Hmm, it sounds like you may not like this book as much as the first then, Lady M. I liked the introduction of Noah and how that affected Lindsay as a character, but I can see why it may be a turn off.

      Reply
  • Jen, could you please let me know if Lindsay stays with Dane or Noah at the end? I would much rather have m/m/m even though takes a lot to convince me, rather than see Dane left behind and Lindsay stay with new love interest. I realize it is a spoiler, could you email me privately please? If he stays with Noah, I just may pass on sequel after all. Thanks so much.

    Reply
      • Not :). At least not till book three is out and I have read several reviews with a lot of spoilers and known where the relationship went after all. Jen, do not worry, you definitely saved me and saved the book from quite annoyed me, most likely, based on couple other reviews that I have read. Its just it looks that it could have pushed one of my very pushy buttons, I mean I am not a huge fan of threesomes, but I have certainly read books where I loved how it was done. I mean I know we do not know where it is going, but I just feel that it looks like Lindsay did not really care about his lover while his lover was captured and instead got it on with the new one, you know?

        Mind you guys what I said is NOT spoiler, I have not read the book and only guessing based on the reviews.

        I still have not read the Out of Ashes by RW Day for example, where based on the reviews something sorta kinda similar happened and I have a very strong feeling I would have wanted to slap Lindsey and hard, so if say Noah drops dead in book three, or if it turns out into threesome where three guys care about each other, I may. Otherwise I would have rather have nice memories of first book and couple.

        Thanks again Jen.

        Reply

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