Welcome to a world of subdued magic and beauty in this short queer romance novel by the incredibly talented Bran Lindy Ayers. Get it from Less Than Three Press, it’s worth it and will leave you smiling.
Genre: Fantasy / Romance / LGBT
Explict content: No
Sidhe cannot lie. Yet Cedric lies about everything from being happy to being human. Hiding his true appearance with glamor runes, he’s managed to live quietly among humans for nearly fifty years. But as he journeys to the capital at the behest of the empress, a chance encounter with the first dragon to be seen in a thousand years threatens to reveal all his secrets.
Talfryn commits a taboo every time he leaves the mountains. Yet for an outcast, long banished from the dragons’ last city, taboos are trifles. He’s more interested in acquiring items for his hoard. Drawn by the scent of a rare enchantment, he’ll risk everything, including his freedom, to find the source.
In Forbidden Enchantment, traditional high fantasy themes rub shoulders with Celtic mythology and flirt with the idea of modernisation. It’s imaginative. Vivid. Has characters that come alive within the first few lines of their introduction, and gives each of their leads their own, unique mysteries and secrets.
I adored all of them. Cedric— Talfryn— Jurryt— they’re a real delight. Cedric I mostly admire for how he’s lived his life with dignity. Talfryn for his curiosity and want for more, and Jurryt— Jurryt for being an incredibly strong and resourceful boy. He stole my heart almost immediately, and probably with a great deal more ease than the narweed he was after.
All world building is subtly woven into the story, leaving just the right amount of gaps to be filled by the readers imagination, and making you want to know more. Least it made me crave more, and I’m still horribly curious about the Sentinels and the wealth of different magical creatures that we get to see glimpses off. But especially the Sentinels. Damn.
The plot itself is clearly focused on romance first and foremost. We see Cedric and Talfryn pulled together despite their conflicting heritage and a world that has it out for both of them. But even so, there is more going on around them. They’re not suspended in their own bubble, but individuals within the greater gears turning around them. Gears which we get to see glimpses of as they keep the world turning and remind us that there is more to see past Cedric and Talfryn.
And that brings me to the… more. Or the lack of it. Forbidden Enchantment ends rather abruptly, the last quarter feeling just a little rushed. While there aren’t any unanswered questions, and no real loose ends wanting tying, I do wish there’d been more time spent with our heroes and the hardships they had to endure towards the end.
That, and the Sentinels. I wanna know about the Sentinels, damn it.
Overall, I’d highly recommend Forbidden Enchantment. It’s a quick enough read, well written, and I’m fairly certain that the characters will stay with the reader far longer than the last turn of the page. They did with me- and I’m not likely to forget them any time soon.