Saturday, March 2, 2019

Prince of Air and Darkness by M.A. Grant

Phineas Smith has been cursed with a power no one could control.

Roark Lyne is his worst enemy and his only hope.

The only human student at Mather’s School of Magick, Phineas Smith has a target on his back. Born with the rare ability to tap into unlimited magick, he finds both Faerie Courts want his allegiance—and will do anything to get it.

They don’t realize he can’t levitate a feather, much less defend the Faerie Realm as it slips into civil war.

Unseelie Prince Roark Lyne, Phineas’s roommate—and self-proclaimed arch nemesis—is beautiful and brave and a pain in the ass. Phineas can’t begin to sort through their six years of sexual tension masquerading as mutual dislike. But Roark is also the only one able to help Finn tame his magick.

Trusting Roark’s mysterious motives may be foolish; not accepting his temporary protection would be deadly.

Caught in the middle of the impending war, Phineas and Roark forge a dangerous alliance. And as the walls between them crumble, Phineas realizes that Roark isn’t the monster he’d imagined. But their growing intimacy threatens to expose a secret that could either turn the tide of the war… or destroy them both.

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Book 1
Buy Links

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Carina Press – Harlequin

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This book is two things. Firstly, it is the story of the long simmering romance between college roommates Finn and Roark. It is also the story of Roark, prince of the Unseelie Court, as he attempts to protect his subjects from escalating conflict between the Seelie and the Unseelie courts. This is a long and complicated read, but I really enjoyed the relationship between the prince and the human he can’t help falling for. I liked the action in this book, and I enjoyed the way the author brings familiar high fantasy characters to life.

For most of this story, Finn struggles as the only human on a college campus full of magical creatures. He has access to enormous power – but he is unable to control it. Roark’s royal responsibilities mean that he is just as much an outsider as Finn. I love how the relationship between these two moves from open hostility to an uneasy truce to a partnership. This is a low heat read but the chemistry between these two is electric from the start. Like all good new adult books, this story is as much about Finn and Roark growing into themselves, their roles, their relationships, and their identities as it is about the relationship between the two men.

In the last year, I’ve noticed a shift away from vampire/shifter Urban Fantasy towards more High Fantasy/UF writing. Laurell K. Hamilton and Patricia Briggs may have been mixing these genres ten years ago, but the hybrid genre seems to have only recently caught the popular imagination. High Fantasy is a tricky genre to do well (there’s a reason Spencer’s Faerie Queene is more than 1200 pages long) and mixing High Fantasy with contemporary culture is not an easy task. In this first book, the author demonstrates a well-grounded understanding of fantasy lore and weaves the story around familiar fantasy characters. After the first couple of chapters, I did have to check that I was actually reading the first book in the series because at the start of the book there is already a good deal of history between Roark and Phineas and readers are expected to have a basic understanding of the Faerie courts and the conflict between Roark, his brothers, and their mother.

I feel like this book could do with a bit more explanation at the start. Fantasy fans will catch on quickly but readers looking for a new adult m/m romance might end up slightly lost in this story. The plot is complicated and it took me some time before I was fully engaged. Overall, I enjoyed the story and from the halfway point I raced to the end in a single sitting.

M.A. Grant has always loved reading and writing, but fell in love with the romance genre when she started working at an independent bookstore in high school. After meeting her husband in college, they began a steady northward migration and are now happily living in the rugged beauty of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. When she’s not calling out to passing ravens or making a cup of tea, she’s writing dark and moving stories.

Connect with M.A.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Prince of Air and Darkness (The Darkest Court #1) by M.A. Grant to read and review.

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