GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Book Review: A Trust to Follow (Wild Magics Book 1) by Diana Waters + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Friday, February 28, 2020

Book Review: A Trust to Follow (Wild Magics Book 1) by Diana Waters + giveaway

by Diana Waters 
June 1, 2018
64 pages
Genre: M/M Fantasy Romance 
In a world where magic is hated and feared, sometimes the bravest thing a man can do is trust. 

Daymon is the second prince of a kingdom in which Evokers—those who possess intuitive magical abilities—have long since been treated with fear and mistrust. Marked as an Evoker himself, Daymon is captured by those who wish to take advantage of these powers. Now, the prince must put his faith in Rhyder, the captain of his guards—and the man Daymon has claimed as his own—to free him. 

Prince Daymon came to with a stifled moan, the pain dragging him back to unwelcome awareness. His entire body throbbed, but he kept his eyes closed, not wanting to be greeted with the sight of a bare cell or the bruises where he had been struck. The cold had numbed him to some of the damage, but he could tell without looking that several fingers were likely broken. Instead, he concentrated on what he had been dreaming of only moments before. 

His mother’s voice. 

Daymon did not remember it or his mother well, but he knew what she looked like from the portraits his older brother, Daylor, secretly kept. Her hair was fine and dark as ink, and her eyes a deep blue—both of which Daymon had inherited from her, unlike his brother. Instead, Daylor bore the golden hair and amber eyes of his father, as well as his father’s height, broad shoulders, and olive skin. In contrast, Daymon had a slight build and pale complexion, further marking him as more of his mother’s child than his father’s—as though everyone needed reminding. 

And yet, despite being too young to recall his mother’s voice, or so he thought, Daymon could have sworn he had heard her whisper to him. Just a little longer, the words had tickled passed his ear. Just a little longer, and he will come for you. How could he not? But the sensation of his head being held, the fingers brushing softly through his hair, had vanished as soon as Daymon had woken up, and although he had never really known her, he felt her absence now as keenly as though she had truly been with him. 

He will come for you. Daymon’s good fingers touched his left ear, feeling the shape of the small jewel still threaded through the lobe and then the right, empty one. Rhyder was as strong and as fierce as all the stories said and as stubborn a man as Daymon had ever known. 

Once Rhyder had decided on something, there was no stopping him—and he had decided on Daymon. It didn’t matter if his father did nothing—being too paralyzed by increasing paranoia or drink to break his self-imposed confinement. It didn’t matter if Daylor, torn between genuine love for his brother and his strong sense of filial duty toward their father, was likewise unable or forbidden to act. Rhyder would come. If Daymon believed in nothing else, he would believe in this. Daymon fell short of anything resembling strong or heroic, but Rhyder was everything a hero should be and more. While Daymon’s courage failed him, Rhyder’s would never waver. 

“I’m sorry. Rhyder, I’m sorry...” The apology was as much for himself as it was for Rhyder. Daymon’s isolation, combined with the surrounding darkness, brought to mind half-remembered fears from long ago. 

Yet perhaps even now his valiant captain was making his way here. Perhaps he was already nearby and merely waiting for the right moment to strike. Perhaps— 

The door to Daymon’s cell burst open with a high-pitched squeal, and he held himself still, determined at least not to flinch away. He owed Rhyder that much. I’m not afraid, he told himself silently. I’m not afraid at all. You can hurt me all you want, but Rhyder is coming, and I won’t be afraid.
 He only wished the last part were true.

Kaidyn's Courage (Wild Magics Book 2)

Prince Daymon lives in a world where magic is scorned and those who possess it are feared and hated. He is captured by those who fear it most and faces his possible death and hopes for rescue by Rhyder, the decorated hero, who fell in love with him. While Daymon awaits to die or worse, he relives some of his youth and courtship.

Story Concept: C
I liked the idea of starting with an established couple and getting to see their trust in one another. A world where magic is feared isn’t a new idea, but the author manages to give it a new feel.  Beginning the story with Prince Daymon’s capture had a lot of potential to deliver a story from back to front, blanketing the reader with strife broken up by heart-wrenching memories.

I wanted that from this story, however, I think it had several things working against it. The first being, it’s too short to build anything either in the present or the past. Each scene of Daymon in his prison cell rehashes the same feelings, the same moments, sprinkled with a few dreams about his mother and one empathetic guard.

When I was taken into the past where Prince Daymon’s story really began, those moments are exceedingly vague and excruciatingly short. I am not given any time to feel the characters mature and develop feelings and any passion is two dimensional and brushed over.

I’m told about all these things between the characters, but the moments where I can experience them are delivered trapped within the current past narrative.

I feel like if the parts where Daymon and Rhyder meet, their courtship, and finally falling in love, had been given dedicated chapters, or at least the word count the prison scenes had been given, this could have been a far more powerful and fulfilling story.

World-Building: C
Emotions are explained, thoughts are conveyed, but the world around these characters remained trapped in a haze where I was never quite sure where I was, or what the world was like. Yes, there were some small parts where the hate for magic users was shown, but it was cliché in its delivery. I would have loved to have been a part of the sheer terror of what it could feel like to try and exist in this world. And maybe it was because Daymon was a Prince that these things never really seemed to affect him accept in the background, but to me, it came off more like the author was too afraid to hurt anyone, make them seem too flawed, or draw blood.

In the end this gave the story a fairy tale type rhythm to it, where nothing was every concreted down.

Characters: C/B
Two scores for the main characters because they were so different to me. The fact that they were so different, leads me to believe this writer held back on their full potential of delivery, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Prince Daymon: C
I wanted to like Prince Daymon, but he came across too whiny for me, very flat, and wishy-washy. I understand as a magic-user he was not a physically strong person, but he wasn’t really mentally strong or spiritually strong either. We were given hints about his possible abilities but never really allowed to experience them. I’m not even sure I liked him and I was never given a truly palatable reason to feel sorry for him.

Rhyder: B
For the small amount of page time Rhyder was given, he had a powerful presence. His gentleness and his chivalry were all very palpable. I liked Rhyder, I would have liked to see more of him. I really wish more of this story had been given to him, such as what Rhyder did to find Daymond and how he suffered in his journey to rescue him.

Secondary Characters:
There weren’t really any secondary characters for this story. The brother maybe, but there wasn’t enough of him for me to draw any rounded opinion.

Plot Execution:  D
The shortness of this story really worked against it. What hurt it more was leaving all the action, the character choices, the physical struggles, as well as emotional journey of their relationship development, in the background and carrying the story on the shoulders of one character and his own self-doubts. Not because a story can’t be delivered that way, but because it felt like 90% of the story consisted of the same internally experiences in slightly different dingy dungeons.

Resolution: D
This story gets its happy ending, however once again, it’s excruciatingly vague and very disorienting. I feel like everything is just made better with some self-hate, guilt and a final “prove my love” sex scene that I honestly wasn’t even sure was a sex scene because of how hard the writer seemed to avoid letting you know it was a sex scene.

Enthusiasm: B
This is probably an incorrect assessment of the writer’s passion for their world, however, due to the meager bites of the world, of the characters, and of the events, I honestly can’t decide if this was written because they felt like they had to or feels this way because the story reads more like a synopsis.

I’ve started on the writer’s other story in this world—while I feel like there are some of the same weaknesses—they can clearly deliver a much more involved, fleshed out, and colorful experience to the reader. I’m not sure why they didn’t do the same with this one.  They have skill, they have the ability, and clearly in reading the other book, they have enthusiasm for what they write.

I would like to see more of this world, read more stories, really experience the characters, and follow them through their experiences both good and bad.

Guest Reviewer: Valentine

About the Author: 
Diana is an M/M romance author from New Zealand, although she currently resides in New York and has previously also lived in Japan and Thailand. She has no idea where in the world she’ll be this time next year and is pretty okay with that. Other than reading and writing, her main passions include travel, amateur photography and competitive swimming.

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