Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I just love this author when she’s being playful! Those who loved Cutie and the Beast will also love this book. It is not explicitly in the same universe, but still involves beings from various mythologies (the MC in this one is Norse) who are interacting with the morally ambiguous and manipulative world of the Fae, as well as mundane Earth. This book is set primarily in the Interstices, “the pockets in reality where … magic from all supernatural realms could coexist”. In addition to the Fae, this book has an eclectic mix of supernatural beings from just about every folklore and tradition that I can think of, cleverly integrated into a cohesive whole. It was only as I was writing this review that I realized how very clever the author was in taking such complexity and making it seem effortless!
I will save you the trouble of looking up the norn (which I just had to do because I didn’t want to wait for the author’s specific explanation). In Norse mythology there are three divine female beings who influence the destinies of gods and men (roughly corresponding to the Greek Fates), Norns with a capital N, and then there are other norns of lesser strength and influence. Anders Skuldsson is one of these – half human son of one of the big three, which makes him outcast for being a half-breed, but also mistrusted because when you are around him, how to you know that he didn’t just make things happen according to his will? Despite his questionable status, he’s a good guy just trying to do the right thing and earn a little respect. He’s the Senior Event Coordinator of Enchanted Occasions Event Planning, and has been chosen by no less than the Fae Queen herself to be in charge of her son Prince Reynard’s ceremony to choose and bond with a consort. This job is not only his greatest challenge so far, it is also a make or break event for Enchanted Occasions and his employees – all of whom are half-human and looked down on by most of the Pure bloods of the other supernatural races. Anders has a lot to prove with this gig.
Prince Reynard, on the other hand, has no desire to participate in this Faerie version of “The Bachelor” and get hooked permanently to some suitable consort chosen by his mother. He’s all about a life of freedom and promiscuity. His half brother Conall of Odstone – bastard result of the Faerie Queen’s own consort’s infidelity centuries ago – has been blessed/cursed with the gift of responsibility: he does what’s right, even when it’s difficult or inconvenient. Rey is used to exploiting this trait, and Con has ended up impersonating Rey multiple times over the years for any events that Rey finds boring, or onerous, and Con once again found himself uncomfortably forced into a predicament that unfortunately has much higher stakes than he’s ever faced before.
Through a comedy of errors and missteps, these two unlikely men end up thrust together – while each impersonating someone else – and find that they really like each other, and their chemistry is off the charts. But they are both basically men of truth and integrity, both responsible for others and wanting to do the best by them, and how can anything real and true come from such deception?
I laughed out loud at the antics of the MC’s, and at the ridiculous situations they ended up in despite the best of intentions. The secondary characters – Talus, man of iron, arbiter and dispenser of justice for Faerie, and solid supporter of Con; Brooke and Smith, the other half-breeds who work with Andy who are brilliant at creating the perfect worlds in the Interstices; the other characters that are pure comic relief like the goblin chef who creates the most incredible and delicate food but goes into a rage when people don’t appreciate it – were just pure genius. The Interstices themselves were an incredible and subtle weave of magic from different worlds combined with the best of Earth. And the plot, while superficially a romp of increasingly ridiculous circumstances, was really a story of integrity and kindness overcoming manipulation and selfishness. It’s a romantic comedy with a moral, in the style of a fairy tale, but so much more fun. I can’t wait for the next book, and there were definitely some clues dropped about who might star in the next one…
Cover art by Aaron Anderson actually detracts from the book. The story is otherwordly, beautiful, and magic, and this cover is downright boring…
ebook, 224 pages
Expected publication: May 15th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
SeriesEnchanted Occasions #1