Genre: High Fantasy, Romance
LGBTQ+ Category: Gay
About The Book
The magic is gone…or is it?
Lucian is a jaded flirt and professional bard who knows all the old songs about sorcery. When he meets Corwin, a shy mage who can still use magic despite the Drought, Lucian finds his desire growing with each passing day—not just for answers, but for Corwin himself.
Sparks fly as they find themselves passionately entangled in adventure and each other. But learning the true origin of the Drought and the Key to ending it comes at a price that their bond may not survive…
I liked The Eighth Key. It is, in some ways, a standard fantasy: a pair of adventurers, a world in peril, magic and artefacts, mages and bards. But, in many ways that matter, it’s not like many other fantasy books: it has queer characters, characters of color, non-binary characters. And, most importantly, it doesn’t have a lot of things.
Many authors use fiction to unpack their own trauma or, unfortunately, use queer and POC trauma as drama and plot instead of writing an actual book. Weyr does not. She takes the Schitt’s Creek approach: what if we lived in a world where people can be who they are, unapologetically, without losing their place in the world and their families? It’s a beautiful thing to read. Weyr does it so seamlessly that I almost forgot to mention it.
The Eighth Key is the story of a bard, Lucian, a well-traveled and independent man with no ties to anyone or anywhere who likes it that way and Corwin, a fairly naïve but not incompetent mage who reveals something to Lucian that he never would have guessed about himself in a lifetime. I liked their characters, though at times, certain aspects of their personalities fell a little flat, but that could well be chalked up to personal preference. Every reader has their preferences.
Overall, I’d like to see the personalities of and the relationship between the main characters fleshed out a little more. Their romance is a bit of a whirlwind and aided substantially by magic. Weyr takes some steps to address this, but I wonder how their relationship will hold up going forward. I think Weyr has the skill and wherewithal to bring them where they need to be, though.
The book sets itself up nicely for a sequel and the prospect of (spoilers) exploring beyond the Source and the Void sounds like it would make for a good fantasy series. It is a truly interesting concept that I would love to see explored more. If The Eight Key has a sequel, I will tune in for sure.
Dan Ackerman is a writer and educator who has lived in Connecticut for their entire life. They received their BSED from CCSU in 2013 and wrote their Master’s thesis on representations of women in same-sex relationships in contemporary Spanish literature and cinema. Currently, Dan is studying for a second MA in ABA and works in a center school for students with a variety of intellectual, developmental, or multiple disabilities. In their spare time, Dan continues to read and write, supplemented with a healthy amount of movie marathons and gaming.