Rating: 4.5 stars
When Simon Osbourne starts hearing the cries of children begging for help in his head, he tries to ignore them. It’s against the rule he is governed by to interfere as he is an apprentice mage and the children in danger are werecubs. But as the cries continue, he feels the children weakening and decides to act. Under the darkness of night, Simon steals onto the grounds of a house in the woods, and finds five were children being drained by a demon. Using the magic tricks he has learned as an apprentice, Simon frees the children and drives them back to the Wolf pack compound outside of town.
Grey Townsend, alpha of the High Moon Pack, has been going crazy ever since his son, Garon and four other children were stolen from the compound. For two days, the pack has searched but all traces of the cubs are gone, along with hearing their mind speak. When a strange mage brings the children home, Gray owes Simon his gratitude and trust, not something the weres give to the Others. Little is known about the Others except that the groups stay away from each others societies, segregated by rules and laws arcane in nature. Then Simon saves Garon from a demon attack for the second time, and Gray admits they need Simon to help solve the mysteries before them. Simon loves the family life he sees in the pack and is attracted to the handsome Alpha, Gray. With the pack and their cubs still in danger, Simon and Gray come together to help find the demon behind the attacks and begin a possible relationship. But Simon’s actions have repercussions within the Mage Society and he could lose the one thing he has wanted all his life if he continues on this course – the chance to be a full blown mage.
Mind Magic combines so many of my favorite elements in one book. It has shifters, vampires, and demons with different takes on all. In this universe magic is divided up into a triangle. At the top point is the Head Magic of the mages, another point is Body Magic of the shifters with the final point that of Soul Magic (demons/vampires). As the author sets the stage in her world, all magical beings have long thought the division between them to be rigid and final. But with Garon demonstrating an aptitude for mind magic as well as body magic, Simon, Gray and the others begin to understand that all is not as they have been told or seems.
Dennison’s alternative world is a wonderfully compelling place that pulls in the reader completely from the very beginning and doesn’t relinquish its hold even after the story is finished. I love the notion of the magical divisions and her unique take on all things fantastical extends to shifters and vampires. Recently I was reading a note on the shifter thread at GoodReads where someone wondered about the difference in body mass between the human and animal forms that disappears from most shifter fiction. Dennison addresses that question as her shifters are much larger than the natural wolves, something that doesn’t appear often in shifter fiction. Her shifters live in a pack in adhering to wolf natural history. Her vampires and mages get the same attention and neat twists to them, especially her vampire who takes very little blood, only enough to sustain his magic.
The author also excels with her characters, both main and secondary. Simon Osbourne is kind, gentle, appealing in every way. Here it is the mages that lead a lonely life, isolated from their families and others which is used to a nice contrast with pack life. Simon yearns to be a part of a family as his backstory makes plain. Simon has a love of herbs and plants that his grandfather passed on to him which gives Dennison a chance to go into herbology with lovely results. I fell in love with Simon quickly just as Gray and the children did. Definitely not a case of “instant love” as Simon must earn Gray’s trust. Gray Townsend is a great addition to shifter Alphas out there. He is steady, older, a wonderful father and pack leader. Slowly Dennison shows us Gray’s history as the story continues with another interesting twist on an Alpha coming of age at 30 to emerge as leader of the pack, Gray is a family man who takes his responsibilities seriously and still has an open outlook on the world around him. Of all the characters in the story, it is the mages who remain the most hidebound, strictly adhering to the old ways and narrow outlook on the world around them. Then there is Goran, Aunt Maggie, and Liam and Cormac, Simon’s “grandfather”. terrific characters, as fully fleshed out as the main characters.
Mind Magic combines some of the most wonderful supernatural elements, tosses it with a good dose of herbology, great characters, and an ongoing mystery to create a story that will continue past Mind Magic. My only quibble is that the end came sooner than I had expected and left me with more questions than were answered. But that makes sense as Mind Magic is the first in a new series called Triad Trilogy. The next books are Body Magic and Soul Magic. Poppy Dennison promises that we will be seeing all the wonderful characters we met here again as the series continues. Great job, great story. And I have a new author to love.
Cover: I love the cover by Anne Cain. That is Gray is every respect. How I love her artwork.
200 pages in length. Published by Dreamspinner Press. Find out more about the author here at her website.
Note; The next edition of Vocabulary Gone Bad will be posted next week instead of today as promised. Sorry, guys but inspiration hit and I have to add it in somehow!