First and foremost, I’ll start by saying that I am generally not a reader of fantasy. That said, this book had me hooked and drawn in by the end of the first chapter and I am now (im)patiently awaiting book two. I instantly fell in love with the premise, the characters, and the world. The main character, Adam, is easily one of my most favorite characters I’ve read in recent history. Not only did I absolutely love his personality, but I loved that he was laced in struggle, both from family woes and his social status as a poor, gay country boy. I instantly wanted to protect him and shield him from any more hurt or harm.
The way David R. Slayton explores wealth, family, mental health, and sexuality lends an extra special undertone to this book. I appreciate a story that breaks away from the typical “scenery” of the genre. Most urban fantasy is in large, sprawling cities, and with a myriad of characters with extensive backgrounds. It’s not often you see a hero come from a small town in Oklahoma with nothing to his name but his little bit of magic. I think that kind of representation is amazingly important.
I can’t say enough about the cast. You immediately feel for each character, no matter if you’re meant to hate them or love them. Each character, while they may be unlikeable for a multitude of reasons, has a glimmer of redemption to them. I appreciate the way Slayton works to make you hate a character throughout most of the book, to only then expose another layer, pulling you in with an empathetic chord. I loved Adam’s complications with his magical ex-boyfriend and his new love interest. While immediate and quick-burning, elements of their story held tension, leaving you wondering if it was real and if either would get their heart broken—something I desperately wanted to see Adam protected from.
While much of the time is spent in the mortal world, the use of the spirit realm and how it functions was both engaging and unique—I was instantly drawn in to how it all worked and how it played into the story. I loved the way Slayton approached magic and the struggles Adam had growing up not knowing anything about himself or why he was the way he was because of it. The LBGTQ representation is fantastic, both in the mortal and spirit characters, and it was lovely to see it reflected in so many different aspects and combinations.
I could gush about this book for ages and I seriously cannot wait for the sequel. I blew through it and am so happy I stumbled upon it. My only drawbacks were some editing choices, but honestly, that’s just personal preference. I highly recommend this book and hope more people check it out.