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A Theft of Magic (The Fay of Skye) (Volume 2)
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Pre-order today
About the Author
Cara McKinnon wrote her first fantasy romance at the age of six, about a unicorn couple that falls in love and has adventures (there is also pie). Now she writes about humans falling in love and having adventures, but she can't quite stop including magic. She loves history and historical romance, so she decided to set her books in an alternate Victorian era where magic is not only real, but a part of everyday life. Cara attended the best genre writing school in the world, Seton Hill University, where she received an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction and found her writing tribe. She lives on the East Coast of the US with her husband, two kids, and an oversized lapdog named Jake.
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Sorcha has been tasked with protecting items of extreme importance. To do so, she lives mostly secluded and surrounded by magical wards of protection that she must maintain. But when a man approaches her shores and trips her guard, she finds herself and her magic being tested.
Ronan was sent to retrieve a few things from the vaults that Sorcha guards. Unfortunately, when he arrives and loses his letter, Sorcha doesn't believe that he is who he says. Even though she feels inexplicably drawn to the man, she isn't sure if she should trust him.
But keeping their distance from each other is nearly impossible to do when all they can think about is the fiery chemistry between them. Soon, they give in to their impulses and develop a relationship of the intimate variety. Their happy bubble bursts when someone actually does break through Sorcha's wards and steals items from the vault.
To recover the property, Ronan and Sorcha must disguise themselves and track the thief across land and sea. With the aid of a student of magic, a duchess, and her husband, the group fight to retrieve the magical objects. Politics, schemes, and betrayal happen along the way.
This book was a pretty quick read for me. I started it in the morning and was finished by dinnertime. It never lost my interest and the main characters were easy to get used to and root for. The sex started early and got steamier as it went. This was a lust first and love later story, which I can appreciate and believe.
As for the plot, I found the magic to be mostly simple to understand. We get to see plenty of magic used so this is definitely filled with that fantasy element. I would say that it's pretty equal on magic and romance. There are a few twists that I definitely didn't see coming and even one that made me want to pull my hair out. Thankfully, I forgave the guilty party for a momentary lapse in judgement. I won't name names but he knows who he is...
The epilogue seems to set up the couple for the next book and I am certainly interested in reading the first and future installments. Four suns!
Full review on Up 'Til Dawn Book Blog
Romantic fantasy is not my usual cup of tea, but McKinnon hits it out of the park once again with this delightful blend of alternate history, historical fiction, action, and sensuality. This novel focuses on another member of a magical family set during Queen Victoria's reign in a world inhabited by magic. At first glance, Sorcha is a stereotypical fantasy heroine, a loner Scotswoman with a talent for visions, while Ronan embodies the cliche Irish rogue. However, McKinnon's talent for world-building also extends to character building, and Sorcha and Ronan's relationship, set in the larger framework of missing magical artifacts, set in the even larger "Fay of Skye" series framework of disappearing magic, is an exciting magical romp from start to finish.
Part of what I love about this alternate universe is the degree of equality between the sexes, which is put to effective use as conflict between the two main characters in the first act of the book. The explicit sex scenes are erotic without bordering on gaudy, and when the action ramps up in the middle and last sections of the books, it is not to the detriment of the sensuality and affection that exists between the Sorcha and Ronan. Additionally, hints of a potential love triangle never come to fruition, leading to a much more interesting character wrinkle and a (non-romantic) relationship I'm interested to see more of. Fans of erotic fantasy will not be bored with the action- (and magic-)packed heist adventures, and hopefully fans of historical fantasy will enjoy the romance as it unfolds.
Though this book is meant to stand alone within the larger series, I'm glad of the background knowledge I have of other characters and the larger plot at large. Seeing Etta's happily ever after with Mal (from Essential Magic) is delightful, but more interesting is seeing Etta come into her own in the midst of London's nobility. In this same vein, I'm looking forward to glimpsing more of Sorcha and Ronan's future in future "Fay of Skye" novels.