The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic Kindle Edition
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Here we have a paranormal/fantasy YA book in which magic, including myths and legends live hidden amongst the human world. Our trepidatious MC, Bridger, desperate to leave small town Michigan via college, answers a job ad on Craigslist for an assistant. Some high flying acrobatics later, he lands the job. What he doesn't know is that now he is assistant to an intermediary, Pavel, who seeks to solve the problems of the magical beings.
Bridger finds himself trying to accept that magic is real, fretting over his sexuality, lying to his best friend, getting good grades, escaping rampaging unicorns, and angsting over his gigantic crush on Leo, the new jock in town. He’s got a full plate.
The characters Lukens created were very engaging, from Bridger, to seemingly perfect Leo (and there is a good reason for this), to Pavel, and to Astrid, Bridger’s best friend. Along with these primary and secondary characters, we see a host of magical creatures who Bridger and Pavel confront to keep the two realms at peace. This diverse cast make for a creative and lively read.
The excellent writing helped the plot move along. What I liked most about this story was that I wasn't given all the information up front. I had to see this from Bridger’s eyes. And while frustrating at times because I wanted to know all, it served its purpose to keep me engaged and invested in the outcome of not only the clash between the magical and human, but between Bridger and Leo, as well.
This is the second of Lukens’ books that I've read, and I must say that I will now list her as one of my favorite YA authors, and one of the best in the GLBT genre.
**I received an advance review copy of this eBook from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
I liked Bridger. He’s a bit geeky, a lot lonely and only really has one friend. But he’s determined to change, which is why he’s so desperate to go far away to college and transform himself into a whole new person that includes full acceptance for his newly acknowledged bisexuality. I liked how he handled the weirdness of his new job, slowly finding his feet with his new boss, Pavel, and his interesting assistants.
I loved those assistants. They’re great fun. Like most of the paranormal elements, actually. There’s a nice mix of old myths and more modern cryptids, adding a little danger here and there, but mostly just keeping everything interesting. There’s a bit of magic about too, but never anything too big or flashy. It’s mostly a mix of mundane and mediating, with often amusing results.
There’s a bit of romance too, very sweet and cute, as Bridger comes to terms with his bisexuality. In fact Bridger has a lot of things to face up to in this book – not just magic and romance – but there’s a handful of good secondary characters to help him along. One particular conversation he has with Pavel about acceptance is just perfect.
I only wish the ending had been a little more powerful. After all the build up it felt a bit anticlimactic. Which is a shame, because the rest of this is great fun and I’d love to read more from this world and these characters.
(ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley.)
F.T. Lukens is an author that never disappoints. Her Broken Moon Series (The Star Host and Ghosts & Ashes) remain absolute favorites of mine. Lukens is truly gifted with prose style that not only builds worlds effortlessly, but that create clear pictures for the readers. There’s an ease to her style that creates a cinematic experience for the reader.
The very first page of this book had me laughing out loud. Bridger’s internal monologue builds his character from the start. Bridger is immediately endearing. He’s clever and also very much a teenager. Lukens captures the feeling of adolescence — Bridger’s struggle with his sexuality as he begins to sort it out, his loneliness, his fears and insecurities — balancing them with his humor and to be frank, downright adorable self. It’s impossible not to root for him.
The tensions and development of Briger’s relationships throughout are handled beautifully. I clearly felt his fear of coming out to his mother and how the distance between them contributed to his loneliness. The friendship that blossoms from his work with Pavel brought tears to my eyes. Pavel is strange and changeable, but the affirmation and acceptance he brings to Briger was so necessary. I really appreciated that Lukens gave Briger an adult to help guide him and to show him support in his times of anxiety and the painful struggle of a difficult transitional age. Balancing new relationships, a new job, and Briger’s struggles felt very age appropriate. The way in which he began to build a relationship with Leo foiled with his falling out with his best friend (name) bring to mind how it felt to be seventeen and figuring out navigating love and friendship.
Additionally, there are the myths and magic. I loved that Lukens balanced a coming of age story that was so relateable with this magical world. There was no part of introducing or immersing the reader in this world that felt cumbersome. Here we have world building executed by a very skilled reader: no clunky exposition, no moments that dragged as the reader navigated her world.
The resolution of the plot regarding the increased appearance of mythical and magical creatures felt a little rushed, but it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of this novel at all. There’s a quality to Bridger and the humor infused throughout reminded me of David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy, but on it’s own terms.
For readers who want YA fiction that captures the ups and downs, the insecurities and joys of adolescence, this book is a must. I could not recommend it more.
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