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Review: Relativity – Carole Cummings and Andrew Q. Gordon

Relativity - Carole Cummings & Andrew Q. Gordon

Genre: Urban Fantasy

LGBTQ+ Category: Bi, Gay

Reviewer: Ulysses, Paranormal Romance Guild

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About The Book

We’re not alone. There are an infinite number of universes and no two are the same.

For Nathan Duffy, life involves several truths—he has an iron grip on his talent, he will never walk again, and he will never stop putting his best friend Camilo Almenara ahead of his own well-being. In a world where talent can kill or save, Nathan’s nearly did both at the same time. When a drunk driver T-boned Cam’s car, Nathan lost control of his talent. He saved his best friend and nearly killed himself.

Nathan thought the accident that left him with lifelong mobility issues was the worst pain he would ever experience. He was wrong. After years bottling up his talent, it finally breaks through. The hallucinations he experiences induce pain beyond anything he’s felt. It also means he is a danger to everyone he is close to.

For Cam, life has its own truths. Nathan only had the power to save one of them, and he chose his friend. Cam walked away without a scratch, but the guilt is never far. He’s spent the years since the accident taking care of Nathan—or at least trying to. Now something is happening to his best friend and Cam can’t help. So he goes to the one person who can–his father, Colonel Caesar Almenara, a walking legend whose talent has no equal. And who also refuses to help.

If Cam and Nathan don’t find a cure fast, Nathan will quickly find himself drugged, drafted, and shipped off to war. Desperate and angry with his father, Cam takes Nathan to the one person he thinks can help, a friend of his deceased mother who helped work on a top secret military project that could be behind Nathan’s condition. A project Cam’s father led.

When Cam’s father tracks them down, Nathan is out of time. He offers to go quietly, but the Colonel has other plans. One that includes the other personality that keeps taking over Nathan’s mind. If the Colonel succeeds, Nathan has a chance at a better life. If not….

The Review

This is an excellent, exciting read; its tightly-written, complicated plot packed with science (or at least science-sounding stuff) that somehow fuses with this universe’s notion of magic, referred to as arcana. The romance aspect of this is central, but also oddly marginal—and that’s fine with me. Nathan and Cam’s relationship is the driving emotional force here, but all we really get is one of the most intense, restrained romantic moments since Jane Austen—and that’s toward the end. I loved it.

Nathan Duffy and Camilo Almenara have been friends since they were little boys. Their affection for each other was ready to blossom into more, when a near-fatal car accident turns their world upside down. Then Nathan became permanently disabled, and the balance of their friendship shifted. This is the poignant fulcrum upon which the rest of the emotional plot teeters. 

This is a world where magic, called arcana, is seen as science, physics. Nathan is seen as “ordinary” in terms of his arcane talent, while Cam is thought to be almost without talent—not unusual for the child of two of the most arcane-adept figures in the scientific world. The dark edge to this world—which his very like our own world—is that highly adept talent is a signal for the military draft, sending magical young people into an endless war that has raged on since before either of them were born. 

Then Nathan starts to have violent nightmares that leave him exhausted and bloody. This triggers a chain of events that open up a terrifying secret that has been hidden from both boys by Cam’s father, Cesar Almenara, the most arcane-powerful person in the world; and, not coincidentally, the head of Nathan’s prestigious private college. 

This is one of the most interesting twists on magic I’ve read to date. We’ve come a long way from Harry Potter and Hogwarts. You can see a lot of pop-culture lore merging into a completely original take on notions of power and reality. Needless to say, there’s a lot of relevance to the world we find ourselves in right now, which adds a kind of bitter resonance. 

Nathan’s personal trauma is the accident that turned his life upside down and altered his friendship with Cam. Cam’s trauma is more complicated and painful, and is used throughout the narrative to ratchet up the emotional anxiety that keeps you turning the pages. 

I can’t reveal much more than this without spoiling the various surprises that make the book such fun. Let me just leave you with the idea that the title made no sense to me at all, until it made total sense. 

I’m so glad this is book 1. I definitely want more.

Five stars.

The Reviewer

Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave It to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator since 1980, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel to Desmond, is his second novel.

Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of over 41 years and their two almost-grown children.

By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother was the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City. 

The Paranormal Romance Guild was established in 2009 by 8 Indie Authors and one Reviewer to be a constant help for authors. You can be a free author member, submitting your work for review OR become a Premium Author Member for a small yearly fee and enjoy many extra services including Free Beta Reads, Author Giveaways and many others. Your reviews are posted on our 3 FB Sites, Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter and Instagram. WE REVIEW ALL GENRES LGBTQ+ welcome.

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