Title: Half Blind
Author: Christine Price
Cover Artist: Lyn Taylor
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Buy Link: Buy Link Half Blind
Genre: Gay Alternate World / Fantasy
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Entertaining fantasy thriller – quarrelsome characters slowly exploit unresolved sexual tension and enjoy an explosive ending – but this lacked something undefinable for me to completely love it.
Opposites attract…and drive each other crazy.
Freelance Magic, Book 1
Eight years ago, wizard Ashley Brandon thought his mentor was above the temptation to misuse magic. He was wrong, and the aftermath left him scarred. And determined to never again let anyone close.
When he’s assigned to a task force protecting an ancient relic, he butts heads with the infuriating, charismatic Frederick “Charles” Greer. The man is completely unreasonable. And so is Ashley’s gut response to his outrageous flirting.
Greer was only supposed to temporarily consult on the task force, but his admittedly unorthodox views on team building put him at odds with Brandon, one of the most attractive, frustrating men he’s ever met. The mission’s success requires complete cooperation, so Greer makes the first move to ease the tension.
An apology leads to bickering, which unexpectedly leads them to the bedroom. But as that tension shifts into something more fierce, a brush with the relic’s power turns everything upside down. Leaving the mission—and Brandon’s heart—in even greater jeopardy.
Contents may contain sartorial choices both exceptional and asinine, deception, thievery, magic, naughty language, and one hell of a MacGuffin.
The only other book I have read by Christine Price is The Usual Apocalypse which is utterly without question a 5 star book for me. I recommend it whole heartedly. This new book is a good quality and enjoyable read, but I didn’t quite love it. This could easily be a mere misalignment of taste and it certainly happened at a minor level.
Half Blind is an entertaining story. The romance between the bickering in denial main
characters was slowly developed as was the initial plot set up. Eventually both the personal and the practical explode into action. I was slightly reminded of an action film of the Ocean’s Eleven crime caper type where the first half introduces the characters; how they get together including various back stories and then flings this new group into some stressful situation. It is certainly a very visual book, displaying a scene set, filmic quality.
The world building of this subtle alternate Canada is achieved cleverly and indirectly. Galleries in the museum display extant magical beasts, taxidermic specimens of unicorn and bun yip. While dangerously powerful wizard Brandon works out his system of protective and magical wards for the museum with all the everyday practicalities of an electrician. He works for CSIT, the Canadian Supernatural Investigative Team, the interesting title is belied by the bureaucratic reality of any large organisation.
I have a suspicion that my hesitancy with absolute commitment to this book comes from the character of Ashley Brandon. It is possible that the author just did too good a job in creating his, albeit understandably, cool aloof personality. Indicative of this detachment is the way I want to call him Brandon in this review never the more intimate Ashley. Though I really appreciated the way he thawed emotionally through the story. It is with a certain irony that in the beginning he could be described as half blind on an emotional level.
In the dynamic as opposing personality, Charles is an outrageous character easy to warm to. He is the catalyst that sparks all the action, emotionally and professionally. He is the leader of this disparate group brought together to organise and improve a museum’s defences against theft of a dangerous magic relic. With the Eye of Odin, I learnt a new term from the book’s blurb – MacGuffin, “………is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist (and sometimes the antagonist) is willing to do and sacrifice almost anything to pursue, protect or control,………”
I was a little unsatisfied by the treatment of the other two members of the team. Although I guess Agent Winters, the punk computer expert did provide a personal warning for Brandon of taking cold and aloof to the extreme. Riley as the inexperienced puppy like trainee played the part of provoking empathy and protection.
I enjoyed a great deal about Half Blind. In particular, the final scenes are fast moving with some original, effective and gruesome twists. I was very involved with the action, unusually for me I was more pleased by these elements than with the relationship. This is an enjoyable book and well worth a read, it just didn’t completely steal my heart…..and I wanted it to.