A Free Dreamer Review: Blackbird in the Reeds (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #1) by Sam Burns


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Devon Murphy has never believed that there were fairies at the bottom of the garden, but when he’s in an accident on his way to his grandmother’s house and comes face to face with the biggest, baddest wolf he’s ever seen, he’s forced to reconsider.

When his grandmother asks him to look into a string of suspicious accidents, he finds a much bigger mystery to unravel. From his childhood best friend to the too-attractive Deputy Wade Hunter, everyone in Rowan Harbor seems to have something to hide. Devon has to get to the bottom of it all before the accidents turn deadly.

This novel is intended for adult audiences, and contains swearing and sex scenes.

I love it when there’s several different fantasy creatures in one book and I’ve always had a thing for fairies. So when I read the blurb of “Blackbird in the Reeds”, I knew I had to have this book.

I’ve read a ton of fantasy books, with varying degrees of romance, but I’ve never read a book with a romance between a fairy and a werewolf. So Sam Burns definitely came up with something very unusual, if not unique. I’m always thrilled to discover new ideas in the genre, so I’m extremely pleased to have found this book, even if it didn’t quite live up to my (admittedly pretty high) expectations.

Devon is a modern day nomad, never staying in one place for very long. The only place that’s ever felt like home is Rowan Harbour, the small town where his grandmother lives. It was really interesting to discover the secrets of the town along with Devon, who knows nothing about its supernatural residents. This way, the secrets could unravel without info dump. Though I did feel like Devon took it all a little too easily. There was hardly any doubt or fear, ever. He just accepted everything without ever really questioning it.

The romance fell a little flat. Devon doesn’t particularly like Wade when they first meet. I never got how this dislike turned into love, the author just lost me somewhere in between. Devon went from “I don’t like Deputy Downer” to “I love Wade” in the span of a few days, without the two of them really getting to know each other. I’ve never been a fan of enemies to lovers, though, so I guess part of my disappointment is due to that. It just smacked of insta-love to me, another thing I can’t stand.

The story is told from Devon’s pov. While we get to know him fairly well, we don’t get much of an insight into Wade’s personality. I get that he’s a bit of a lone wolf and doesn’t talk much, but I’d still have liked to know more about him. There are many minor characters, we basically meet a whole town’s worth of them. I especially liked Devon’s grandmother and Oak.

The world building was sadly lacking. Part of it is due to Devon only just discovering his supernatural heritage, but I would have loved to find out more. But since this is only part one in the series, there’s still hope for more world building in future books.

All in all, “Blackbird in the Reeds” was a bit too fluffy for me. There wasn’t all that much tension and everything was resolved fairly easily. I have no patience for happy-fluffy stories. It wasn’t very memorable and left me feeling a little “meh”.

But that’s just me. If you’re in the mood for a sweet romance with a dash of fantasy, then I’m pretty sure you’ll like this book.

Cover Design: Melanie Harlow @ Clause & Effect: I quite like the cover. It really fits the story and is definitely nice to look at.

Universal Buy Link:   books2read.com/BlackbirdInTheReeds


Book details: Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 188 pages

Published January 4th 2018

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