A murderer haunts the city, turning the unwary to stone. Between hunting this evil and corralling new arrivals, Flax struggles to guard both his life and his heart.
Quinn and Valerian have come through the trials of facing an undead lich queen and the perils of falling in love. Now they work to restore AURA to its previous strength and efficiency while navigating their new life with each other. Fortunately, they’re not in this alone.
Kai Hiltas has taken over as the head of the research department at AURA and has become everyone’s favourite workaholic, everyone except his lover Tenzin, who has had enough of his late nights and broken promises. As Kai tries to salvage his relationship, he finds a teacher for Quinn, who also happens to be one of Valerian’s new officers, Flax Wolfheart, a sexy elf with trouble written all over him.
Flax has motives beyond simply teaching Quinn to control his magic. He’s trying to recover from his own losses and failures, but he has a plan. The two newest elvish crossovers, Ash and Sage, are sizzling hot and might even like him. With them as backup as he tracks a deadly stone mage and figures out how to teach Quinn, Flax sees his chance to impress Val and snag a place by his captain’s side. On the hunt for both danger and redemption, Flax’s pursuit leads him ultimately down trails he never expected.
Picking up after the end of Quinn’s Gambit, Aura and the world are still recovering and rebuilding from the undead lich queen attack. Valerian has taken over the position of Captain of Aura, Kai now runs the research department, Quinn is a contract consultant (even if Kai would like him working for Aura full time) and they have new officers from the academy. Amongst the newer recruits is Flax Wolfheart, a former elf warrior who is trying to find his place in the human world and expects it to be as solitary as his life amongst the fae – naturally, he’s incorrect! At the same time, Quinn and Val are navigating the new points of their relationship since Quinn moved in with Val and with new responsibilities, Kai is somewhat of a workaholic, which is affecting his relationship with Tenzin. They also have new arrivals in the form of more fae warriors, Ash and Sage, who could be trouble AURA does not need, or maybe assistance to Quinn and his magic. And if that is not enough of a story, there is a murderer haunting the city, turning the victims to stone.
The story is told from the points of view of Quinn, Flax, Kai and Valerian.
Yes, there are a lot of storylines to cover in this book, but the book is laid out so well, nothing feels rushed or like a part of the story was missing. A few months ago, I asked in my Quinn’s Gambit review if Wow was a sufficient review, which, that question still stands for book two! Of course, the answer of no likely still stands as well!
Once again, this is a very well written, well paced and incredible world that has been created and if you enjoy science fiction/fantasy stories, I believe you will love this series and the characters within. As much as the characters may be magical creatures, they have the same vulnerabilities as the rest of us – and sometimes the acting out we have, which only seems to make you connect with the characters and care about them even more. Just like the first book, once you start reading, it is hard to put the book down.
This time around, the first theme is about rebuilding – the city, the department, the data and in some cases, the relationships. Quinn and Val are doing pretty good, they have their moments because Val puts in long hours and Quinn is still adjusting to living with someone at all, let alone someone he can trust. Kai has become a workaholic, rarely delegates and Tenzin is at the end of his rope since Kai is rarely home for dinner, let alone before Tenzin goes to bed. When he leaves, the always immaculate and put together Kai is anything but, and they have a murderer on the loose that they cannot find a magical trace for! Then there is Flax, who has a bit of a hero worship thing for Val and initially, thinks Val having a relationship with a human is already beneath him, let alone only one when someone of his stature would have a full senrist back home. He is further insulted when he is to help Quinn control his magic – he is asked by Kai, but since the elves and drows are enemies where they came from, asking is a bit of a stretch! Flax has had a tough time adjusting to being on earth and hopes impressing his new boss, possibly both inside and out of the office, may be what he needs to feel like he is not fading.
Then you have the characters of Ash and Sage, a mated pair of elves who were brought to earth during an Event while in the middle of a battle so they are set to battle whatever new foe they find themselves against. They are surprised and on the defensive, so Flax is sent to assist two fellow officers, a human and a siren, with the two elves, getting himself shot by an arrow in the process. Val shows up as soon as he hears an officer is down, Ash and Sage bow to him based on his position from their realm. As it turns out, Ash is also a healer, so he helps with Flax which seems to initiate a friendship amongst the three elves – Flax recognizes their concern of how they fit on earth and finds a connection he did not have before. As the story progresses and you get to know these two better, I definitely liked them more and more and thought they fit this series and world so well!
Again, wow comes to mind for this series – if you read the first book and have anxiously been awaiting this story since hearing the title (as I have!), you will not be disappointed!
You get quite a bit with Quinn, who still struggles with seeing himself as powerful in any way. And so many more scenes with Kai and his story in this one, I loved it and love Kai! His story was definitely the one that had me crying in this book as I thought I could feel his heartbreak as things seemed to waiver between him and Tenzin – he even let Quinn comfort him! Then again, my secret hope as a reader is that Quinn is one of the few people Kai actually likes, although he would never admit it, but it is why he wants to help him!
This might be more of a gushfest than a review, but I am loving this series! I don’t know if more books are planned, but I would be happy to read more if there are!
I would recommend this book to all science fiction/fantasy fans who enjoy M/M fiction.
There is some violence and reference to mental health issues, relative to the story, but brings an interesting thought of how issues we already deal with as a society would manifest in this setting.