by Anela Deen
Series: Magic Underground Anthologies #3
Also in this series: Hidden Magic, Wayward Magic
Publisher: Magical Mayhem Press
Publication Date: May 12, 2020
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
The only hope of defeating the fairies lies at the heart of the Forgotten Vale. To reach it, Simith and Jessa will have to bargain with the lich who dwells there, a terrifying wraith that feeds on reason and sanity. If they don’t find a way to outsmart its traps and obtain the magic they need, not only will the war be lost, but their lives as well.
After that cliffhanger of an ending for the last novella, I was very anxious to find out what happened with Simith and Jessa. Thankfully, this is the last novella in the series, and it definitely delivers!
“The grief you suffered and this peace you engineered absolves you of nothing.”
Jessa and Smith have led the trolls to the pixies’ home, but peace between the two races is still uneasy, not to mention that the pixies don’t trust Simith, not even his own family. Soon after, the fairies arrive looking for Simith – but also with a plan of their own. The trolls have retreated back into their lands, so the fairies intend to force all of the pixies to became their invasion force – decimating both them and the trolls. The only hope to stop the battle is to bargain with a lich, an evil magical spirit confined in a separate realm. Simith volunteers, but it’s Jessa the poet who the lich will really want. Can they both overcome their pasts to stop the battle?
“[S]he wondered how much of herself still dragged along her pain like a mangled limb. Maybe some battlefields were impossible to leave, even after all the fighting had ended. No wonder she hadn’t been able to write a single poem in a year. Words had become fallen comrades, scattered like casualties. Voices silenced by death.”
At the start of the novella, Jessa and Simith’s linked dreams have progressed further, and Jessa now knows about Rimthea’s death, while Simith knows about the deaths of her family. Simith has a complicated relationship with his family – the last time he saw them was when he brought home Rimthea’s body, and allowed them to believe that it was him, not her, that originally wanted to go fight against the trolls. Simith’s actions as the Sun Fury for the past ten years are anathema to the mostly peaceful pixies, and he’s not sure there’s much left of him besides regret and violence. Jessa knows there’s more to him, but she has her own demons to deal with, the disconnect she felt from her family even before they died. They each feel like something is “wrong” with them, but it takes the other person’s insight to find the root of the problem and then support them through it.
There’s a bit more romance in this one, and it’s adorably sweet. Jessa and Simith are drawn to each other, though Jessa worries that it could just be a result of the link and the shared dreams rather than something “real.” I thought the resolution of that was handled very well, and I finished the book thinking that they had a real chance at a HEA. The pacing was excellent and well-balanced between action and the introspection both characters needed.
Overall, this was a very satisfying ending to Jessa and Simith’s story, though I hope to see more of them soon!