Rating: 4.75 🌈
I sometimes wonder if you can really love a story when you spend so much time cringing in anxiety over the anticipated horrors you know will be visited upon the characters you’re coming to connect with and the found family that’s being constructed. Somehow I’ve found a way. It’s just that great.
The Shackles That Hold Us is only the second book in Michele Notaro’s fantastic dark fantasy series, The Magi Accounts, but already it’s served as both a outstanding foundation for the characters but also as a warning for this horrific, grim universe where several species of beings are seen as nothing less than disposable tools, or worse.
Tagged, tortured, served up as war fodder , born in breeding camps. This is the nature and foundation of the Magi. And the Shifters have it only marginally better. Be warned. The torture scenes happen on page. And to characters we have come to care about.
And because dyad pair magi Madeo and Jude Driscoll are magically powerful, they are targets so any “misbehavior “ will see them collared and taken to a compound for punishment.
This is a utterly brutal world and Notaro makes us feel every inhuman rule, every legal enforcement that uses to pain to degrade and in some instances kill those that would fight back against humanity and those that are oppressing them.
Each story dives a little further into the heartbreaking , cruel conditions under which the humans have managed to contain and imprison all magi for decades. Compounds become breeding camps, children removed to become tools for war. All seen slowly through the tortured memories of Mads and Jude when they’re able to emotionally to look back at what they’ve endured.
This includes, and will probably continue to bring up instances of child sexual abuse.
As I said this series is a dark fantasy fiction and each book will fill the reader with dread as the stakes build higher for all the characters as the events point towards even more deaths and battles to come.
The characters here. The magi, and all the members of the pride are so perfectly layered. Each has a well developed personality and each shows growth as the Pride and the three magi, Mads, Jude, and Logan (all part of the Pride) face greater challenges to the multitude relationships forming and the ones hitting them as a team.
Notaro’s storylines continue to build a series arc that carries a potential for horrific events and further deaths to come.
I’m both highly anticipating the next book and highly afraid for all the characters.
If you love fantasy, read this. But only if you read the trigger warnings first. You decide what you’re comfortable with.
Here’s the series. They must be read in the order they were written to understand the events and relationships.
The Magi Accounts:
🔹The Scars That Bind Us #1
🔹The Shackles That Hold Us #2
🔹A Date To Impress Him #2.5
🔹A Purpose That Restores Us #3 – TBR
As if crushin’ on a shifter wasn’t bad enough, I had to go and date one.
A mage and a shifter walk into a bar… No, that’s the whole joke.
Magi and shifters don’t mix, and yet I find myself in a relationship with Cosmo, a lion shifter. And on top of that, Cosmo, and all his pride members, consider my brothers and me to be a part of their pride. Three magi in a shifter pride. Who would’ve ever thought?
Navigating our connection while trying to figure out what’s going on in the world isn’t easy. Trusting that Cosmo means forever when he says it? Even harder. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned since meeting the Ono-Nais, it’s that taking a risk with my heart will be worth it to be a part of their lives.
The Shackles That Hold Us is a 113K novel and the second book in the MM urban fantasy series, The Magi Accounts. It’s recommended to read the series in order because it has an ongoing storyline.
*Intended for adults only. Please read the trigger warnings at the beginning of this novel.