New York, 1925
Arthur Kenzie’s life’s work is protecting the world from the supernatural relics that could destroy it. When an amulet with the power to control the tides is shipped to New York, he must intercept it before it can be used to devastating effects. This time, in order to succeed, he needs a powerful psychometric…and the only one available has sworn off his abilities altogether.
Rory Brodigan’s gift comes with great risk. To protect himself, he’s become a recluse, redirecting his magic to find counterfeit antiques. But with the city’s fate hanging in the balance, he can’t force himself to say no.
Being with Arthur is dangerous, but Rory’s ever-growing attraction to him begins to make him brave. And as Arthur coaxes him out of seclusion, a magical and emotional bond begins to form. One that proves impossible to break—even when Arthur sacrifices himself to keep Rory safe and Rory must risk everything to save him.
I picked this one in part because I was looking for a book with a one word title,since
that was the theme of the TBR Challenge for this month, but also because I love both paranormal romances AND old New York. So a paranormal romance in New York City
in 1925 seemed like it would be perfect . .. and it kind of was.
Arthur “Ace” Kenzie is very non-magical but also very wealthy, and a veteran of World War I. He’s the (tall, dashing, very handsome) baby of his family, with lots of brothers and sisters and niblings and also paranormal friends. He doesn’t have any magic but he does his best to use the power he does have (his money, social standing, etc) for good, and to take care of everyone else, and where possible to save the world, or at least New York. His challenge is to learn to let other people take chances – especially when the chance they are taking is loving him.
Rory Brodigan (not his real name) is a scrappy survivor with a dangerous gift, on the lam (kind of) and in hiding from people who would use his talents for nefarious purposes, and threaten his sanity in the process. He is both young and foolish and remarkably tough and resilient, and slowly but surely falling in love with Ace. His challenge is to find a way to balance his desire for independence and self-sufficiency with accepting the care of his new friends, both Ace and others.
Really Ace and Rory are both learning to be loved, in their own different ways, and how to
communicate effectively with each other, while trying to track down dangerous magical items and prevent New York from being drowned.
I had so many favorite parts of this book it’s hard to pick just one. The overall story is
a great romp through 1920s era New York, complete with mobsters, speakeasies, with added magical amulets and rings and associated skullduggery. The romance and action-adventure parts of the plot are very well blended; reading this book is like sinking into a warm soothing bath of story.
Therin clearly took the time to do some research, and has neatly woven in the paranormal details alongside the real history of the city and the country – the good, the bad, the really ugly. For example, The novel has a diverse cast, and Therin does not shy away from incorporating and addressing the very real problems faced by immigrants and other marginalized groups in the 1920s. New York gets to shine as the diverse and complicated place it was (and still is), limned by magic.
I additionally liked that Rory and Ace take some time to get to the point where they are together, and the reader gets to go along for the ride as they begin to choose each other.
The paranormal flavoring is also interesting. Each person with talents has a unique
talent, such as telekinesis, or being able to turn invisible, or, in Rory’s case, being
able to determine the history of an object by touching it.
There were no weaknesses that stood out, i.e. that threw me out of the story or
made me want to stop reading. I was a little confused by the treatment of the magic
amulet at the end – a full explanation would also be a spoiler – but not enough to be
upset about it.
SPOILER: The full Happily Every After ending arrives at the end of Book 3 – books 1 and 2 achieve “Happy For Now” and Ace and Rory (and the reader) are never left in doubt of each other, but if you need a “married” ending – in this case magically implied – it does not arrive until Book 3.
On the plus side, Books 2 and 3 (Starcrossed and Wonderstruck) respectively, also really great, and I was halfway through the second one at the point I started writing this review. So, yes, I would absolutely read this author again, after this series.
*E.N. This is for the June TBR challenge “one word title” prompt. My apologies to Sailorstkwrning who sent this to me on June 23.