Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: November 9, 2016
Received From: Review copy from author
In the wake of the final battle against The Oppressor, Benedict, Ophelia and Dylan face their magical community in triumph. But that triumph rapidly loses its shine as they realise the war is not so easily left behind. Returning to, and relearning, the lives they had before proves to be more difficult than even they had anticipated.
GENDER: presumed cisgender
SEXUALITY: bisexual, lesbian, heterosexual, polyamory
PAIRING: F/F, M/F
TROPES: magical abilities, nonlinear timeline, friends to lovers
TAGS: young adult, new adult, fantasy, existing relationships
WARNINGS: alcoholism, PTSD, violence, mind control, war
“I… I can’t promise never to hurt you,” Ophelia said, her voice raw with honesty. “I wouldn’t, even if I didn’t like anyone else. But… liking Benedict more than I love you? Love isn’t like pudding—less for one if there’s more for another. My love certainly isn’t.”
A few months back, I saw the author offering up review copies on twitter to anyone who was willing to post a review for it. Happily, I accepted a copy of the book. The premise sounded interesting, and I knew it had an F/F pairing, so I was excited to read another story with an F/F pairing. (I didn’t know there was an M/F as well, but surprise polyamory is always acceptable in my book.)
I did enjoy this story, but I don’t believe it quite lived up to it’s potential. The writing was a bit choppy and stilted, and there were multiple occasions where the dialogue and narration were very awkwardly phrased. There were nonsensical inconsistencies within the larger text (why did she put cream on her new tattoo right before getting in the shower?) as well as in the dialogue. Additionally, there was a lot of head hopping. I liked that there was multiple points of view for all three main characters, but it was difficult to get a real idea of their individual voices when they kept overlapping so thoroughly.
I also found certain aspects of the plot a bit strange. The three main characters are magicians who’ve lived amongst humans their whole lives, as have magicians before them, but these 19 year old main characters were clueless about modern technology. I just can’t see how that is plausible, even if magician society did try to seclude itself with secrecy. And then, there were a few moments, after the existence of is exposed, that Benedict references the Salem Witch Trials. Contextually, it made a sort of sense. However, the story takes place in England and all three of the main characters are from Great Britain, as well as the characters Benedict was speaking to. It didn’t seem to make sense that he would reference something like that from American history when a reference to European, and British specifically, history would’ve made geographical sense.
One thing I really did like, other than the queer rep, was how the PTSD of Ophelia, Benedict, and their friend Dylan was handled. The author did a wonderful job of exploring and showing that PTSD can affect everyone differently. There’s no one way to have PTSD , and there’s no one way to handle PTSD.
Overall, this was a good story, but it would have been better served with more editing and more length.
Nicole writes across the spectrum of sexuality and gender identity. She lives in Melbourne with one of her partners, two cats, a whole lot of books and a bottomless cup of tea.