Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
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.
Angel Martinez and Bellora Quinn’s AURA series continue’s its marvelous saga with Flax’s Pursuit. The world has been made unstable by a magical explosion, causing tears in the fabrics of the universe to heartbreaking effect. Beings are snatched from their worlds without notice, torn from their worlds, loved ones, family and all things familiar, and sent tumbling into the human one often with the worst repercussions you could imagine. A mermaid falls through a tear in the fabric, appears over the Mojave desert, despairs and commits suicide, all without ever knowing why. For others, the death is slower, achieved through addiction or other means of self destruction when the idea of never being able to return home becomes unbearable.
Martinez and Quinn bring not only this new world in a constant state of flux to vivid life but makes it carry with it the aroma of misery, shock, and depression that surrounds those who are unable to adjust to their new circumstances. Magic has returned everywhere and people now aren’t quite sure how that is going to affect the things or beings around them. I love that these authors have a whole world and any number of mythologies to pull from when gathering ingredients for these stories. You never know what type of being or universe the authors will pull from when the next “event” occurs to bring another creature into the human world. It creates a level of suspense that rolls over from moment to moment throughout the story, a anticipatory narrative note that helps to make each tale sing with surprise, delight and sometimes sorrow.
Val and Quinn return from the first story. In fact, its Quinn’s wild powers and a need for control that bring Flax into the picture. Quinn needs a teacher and Kai Hiltas has determined that the elf Flax is the one to teach him, willing or not, mostly not. Flax is one of those who has not adjusted well to life within human laws or society, nor does he find human Quinn particularly suitable for the majestic Val. Flax reeks of unhappiness and arrogance, never a good combination but the authors also make us taste the bitterness of life as he sees it. The stench of the air pollution, or the smell from the garbage in the alleys, all an anathema to a woods elf who remember the purity of the life he can never return to.
Then two more elves fall into the city, taken from their lives and world mid battle. The manner in which these two will complicate everyone’s lives is lively, layered, semi-sweet, and ultimately satisfying. At one point it looked as though the authors were taking it (the m/m/m relationship) in one direction, but didn’t. But it was the way the story line flowed in that direction, the reasons and emotions behind the plot twists that swirled, eddied and then moved on, and felt so natural doing so, was just one more narrative gift from Martinez and Quinn. It was right in very aspect of the story and relationships. Yes, this is a m/m/m but there are cultural reasons behind it. It feels natural and in many respects, healing. And so damn sexy.
Another moving aspect of this story? The murders and the culprits behind them. For every evil, there is an explanation and accompanying pain, a blackness you can watch grey out with understanding by the end of the storyline. That happens here. That’s really another of the facets about this story that I love, one that the authors both bring to the story and series. A sense of depth, an openness of attitude towards all sorts of beings…drows…yetis…trolls…there is something good in every being if you look for it. I wonder what or who will fall to earth next?
There is a secondary love story between Kai and his yeti lover, in fact there are all manner of relationships or would-be relationships going on here at AURA headquarters. I can’t wait to see who is up next. This is one amazing series. It has heroes of every variety, it has quests both small and large, personal and for all beings involved. It has first loves, established partnerships teetering, and lost loves mourned. It really has it all. Grab them up and get started today. This is a series you won’t want to miss.
Cover artist Posh Gosh does a nice job with adding the ears and with the characters, especially as one is so young in age.