Disclaimer: I consider the author a friend, and the two of us have worked together to help promote each other’s work as nontraditional authors. I won a hardcopy version of this novel from the author in a random giveaway drawing during a social media launch event. I would absolutely have purchased this novel anyway.
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, previously reviewed here) 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.
Currently reading: The Eighth by Stephanie M. Wytovich
Currently editing: 96,989/90k words