Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
LGBTQ+ Category: Gay
About The Book
Ryld must learn to control his dangerous shadows before they kill someone he cares about or someone unscrupulous learns how to control him.
AURA’s offices have been quiet since the mage tower incident—as quiet as they can be for an agency dedicated to policing holes in reality—and the department heads have been free to turn their attention back to mundane matters. The return to quiet bureaucracy gives AURA’s Director of Research, Kai Hiltas, the time to turn his energy to a new issue—a young drow with unusual and dangerous powers named Ryld.
Though his shadows always lurk at the edges of his vision, Ryld does his best to live peacefully and not let them hurt anyone. He has his work, his apartment and a succession of minders assigned by AURA who are, ostensibly, there to keep him safe in his new world and to prevent him from causing any scenes with his shadows. Most of the time, the arrangement works. But one disastrous incident causes Ryld’s minder to leave him unattended and lost—the precise thing he was hired to prevent.
To replace the faithless minder, Kai suggests Hank, a half-goblin accountant recently in the middle of a string of terrible luck, while Kai works out how best to get Ryld the magical training he so desperately needs. For his part, Hank truly likes Ryld and insists he would be happier working as Ryld’s companion rather than as a controlling minder.
As Hank and Ryld slowly come to terms with sharing space—and eventually more—Kai’s search for a teacher for Ryld takes them out west on the invitation of the Elvenhome’s aelfe queen and right into the lap of inter-elven feuds, ancient prejudice, conspiracies and trafficking rings. What should have been a pleasant visit soon turns into more than even forever-scheming Kai can handle.
Although Ryld’s Shadows is Book Four in the AURA Series and I have not read the first three volumes, Angel Martinez and Belora Quinn hooked me early in the story with a quick paced and enchanting tale. Whether or not you’ve read the previous three books, Ryld’s Shadows will captivate you with a unique world of different beings, mysterious creatures, and political intrigue.
AURA – the Agency of Unnatural Resettlement and Assimilation – needs to assist the young drow, or dark elf, Ryld because of his unusual and unexplained power and visions. The agency must protect others from his shadows and Ryld himself as he tries to adapt to living in his new home. The AURA director faces a challenge when Ryld’s most recent minder abandons him to catastrophic results.
At the same time, Hank, a half-goblin, finds himself without a job and again down on his luck. Though Hank is not thrilled about the assignment, AURA gives Hank the duty of watching over Ryld as his new minder. Hank has a difficult time monitoring his subject and more than anything wants to help Ryld control and understand his power. For his part, Ryld likes his new minder and persistently attempts to seduce Hank.
Ryld’s seduction proves rather easy, given Hank’s mutual attraction. But Hank’s scruples compel him to resist, lest physical attraction and a blooming relationship get in the way of his job. When the mysterious and powerful queen of the fairies agrees to assist Ryld with his shadows problem, Hank, Ryld and the AURA Director of Research venture off to her realm. Once there, the trio discover that controlling Ryld’s shadows and any burgeoning feelings between he and Hank take second place to political intrigue and danger.
Any more of a summary risks spoilers, so you will want to pick up Ryld’s Shadows to see for yourself the final outcome. I doubt you will wait too long to find out, because the novel is a tough one to put down once you get started. I intended to read the story over a few days in preparation for writing my review, but instead never stopped reading once I began. Each chapter builds the adventure toward more and more excitement and keeps you in suspense.
Martinez and Quinn have a gift for merging a romance with the feel of an action thriller, along with the inclusion of a realm of magical creatures and other worldly designs. I loved being inside their creation! In particular, the reader will care for Ryld and Hank from the beginning, and then go along the roller coaster ride of their journey with them! You will care for them deeply, which heightens the tension as they face discrimination and danger. One minute, the reader concentrates on wanting them to become a couple, and the next minute you fear for their very survival.
Ryld’s Shadows is a delightful read! If you already embraced the AURA series, you would love this addition! And if you’ve never experienced AURA, you can start right here with no problem. But I doubt you’ll stop there and, like me, go find the first three books to read, too.
Damian Serbu lives in the Chicago area with his husband and two dogs, Akasha and Chewbacca. The dogs control his life, tell him what to write, and threaten to eat him in the middle of the night if he disobeys. He has published several speculative fiction/horror novels with NineStar Press. Keep up to date with him on Facebook, Twitter, or at www.DamianSerbu.com.