by Anela Deen
Series: Magic Underground Anthologies #2
Also in this series: Hidden Magic, Forgotten Magic
Publisher: Magical Mayhem Press
Publication Date: April 14, 2020
I received an advance review copy of this book from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
After discovering fairies were behind the ambush that nearly killed him, Simith is determined to negotiate a truce with the troll king. But a strange illness afflicts him upon his return to his world. When the Thistle Court captures him, he learns the troll king has accused him of oathbreaking, and chosen a fight to the death to settle his guilt. As the fairies conspire to lure the trolls into a trap, Simith is helpless to stop them. Held captive by his true name, they’ll force him not only to fight in the arena, but to die there as well.
When Jessa collapses after Simith’s departure, she realizes that the magic he used to save her life had the wayward effect of fusing their life forces. If they aren’t reunited to untangle them in time, both will die. With Relle and Katie beside her, she’ll travel into the magical realm to find him. But in a world torn apart by war, with signs of imminent battle on the horizon, locating Simith is the easy part. Rescuing him from his enemies is quite another.
After the cliffhanger ending of “A Veil is Parted,” I was absolutely chomping at the bit for the next story! This is a continuation of the story in Hidden Magic, so there will be major spoilers if you haven’t read it.
“This was a fate of his own making, and he would bear it alone.”
In the last book, Simith came through the portal into the mortal world, but in this one, it’s Jessa who must follow him back. When Simith healed Jessa, he inadvertently linked their life forces – but of course, no one realizes this until they’re separated in different realms and both start falling ill. While Jessa has Relle’s grandmother to explain what that means – that as long as they’re separated, they’ll continue to weaken and eventually die – Simith has no idea what’s going on. Betrayed by the fairies and accused of betrayal by the trolls, alone without allies, Simith fears that any chance of peace will die with him.
Part of the link between Simith and Jessa lets them dream each other’s memories. Jessa sees Simith’s life from when his hamlet was burned down by trolls, most of his family killed, and how, in his grief, he joined the fairy legion in order to get revenge. In return, Simith sees Jessa spending time with her family and writing poems. However, neither of them have seen the catalyst that led directly to their current events, though they are closer than can be explained by the small amount of time physically spent in each other’s company.
“Trust was more than sharing confidences. It was allowing others to be there in times of need.”
Continuing their parallel journeys from before, the main thread of the story is Jessa and Simith relearning how to trust and accept help from others. After the attack, Simith throws himself into vengeance against the trolls, even though the person he becomes is the polar opposite of who he once was. The only check on his ruthlessness is his dead brother’s fiancée, Rimthea, who is worried about the change in him and starts advocating for a treaty between the trolls and faeries, but Simith isn’t willing to listen until it’s too late. While Jessa doesn’t go as far as joining a fairy legion after her own personal tragedy, in her grief, she does her best to push away everyone around her. Only her friend Katie continues to make an effort to reach out to her and of course it’s Katie who got mixed up and hurt in the last novella. But even Jessa has to admit that entering a strange land in the middle of a war is best done with friends, especially if one of those friends is half-fae and can do magic. I really appreciated the emphasis in this novel on their friendship.
Overall, I very much enjoyed this part of the story, though it did end on a ridiculous cliffhanger. I’m very much looking forward to the final installment!