Review: Finn (Endangered Fae #1) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Finn_432(1) coverStruggling writer Diego Sandoval spots a thin naked man from the rail of the Brooklyn Bridge, the pain and desperation inherent in that figure spurs Diego to action.  An advocate for the homeless, he wants to get the man help and then to a shelter.  But when Diego takes the man home to get cleaned up he gets the biggest surprise of all.  The man, Finn,  is in fact a Pooka,  a being left behind when the Fae closed the doors between worlds.  Worst of all, the city’s pollution and modern day chemicals are killing him. When Diego’s agent suggests he borrow a friends home in the woods up in New Brunswick to write, he jumps at the chance to get the Pooka, Finn, out of the city and into a more pristine environment where he can start to heal. But its not just Finn who needs healing but Diego as well, fresh off an abusive relationship.  Diego is not sure what to expect from their adventure in the woods but what happens is both more wonderful and horrific than anything he can imagine.

Fionnachd, a Pooka, awoke to a new modern world where nothing is the same as he left it and all the changes are ones that have the power to kill him, even the water and the air he is breathing is making him sick.  Rescued by a human who seems to glow with the light of compassion and something more, Finn slowly comes to care for Diego as he recovers from his centuries long sleep and illness.  When Diego takes Finn to Canada’s remote woods, Finn finally feels healthy and at home in the wild natural setting.  But something else lurks deep in the darkness, something that Finn accidentally awakes.  Like calls to like, so magic calls to magic, only this magical being is an ancient, evil spirit: the wendigo.

As Finn and Diego struggle to find a way to kill the wendigo before it can possess Diego and return to the the city, they find themselves falling in love.  Can a Pooka and a Human find love together or will the wendigo kill them first?

The púca (Irish for spirit/ghost) or pooka is an ancient Irish fae being, feared for its ability to assume all types of animals forms as it creates mischief and harm, usually after nightfall.  And while the pooka may be best known here in the US because of a large pooka rabbit called Harvey, trust me when I say, this is not your  parents pooka!  This fae being, Finn, is sinfully sexy, with long black flowing hair, and once healthy, a body to die for.  In Diego’s case, perhaps literally.  How I love this story!

It didn’t take me long to fall under the magical spell that Angel Martinez creates for Finn, the first in her Endangered Fae series.  With her first setting the melting pot that is Brooklyn, Martinez starts to spin a yarn that will incorporate a number of different mythologies into a romance with supernatural overtones.  There is the Irish púca (also pooka, phouka), the Wendigo from the Algonquian Nation, and Taliesin, a wizard and bard who acquired the gift of prophecy, found in Welsh mythology.  Layered onto such a fantastical foundation, Martinez brings in a main Hispanic character steeped in his own culture and language until this story just simmers with a richness of traditions, folklore, and diversity.

The story is told, in part,  from Diego’s point of view, a gentle city dwelling writer whose daily jaunts through the streets of Brooklyn include stops to check in on various homeless people who have become friends.  Diego delivers food, clothing and kindness and receives their trust in return.  Martinez manages to reveal Diego’s personality not through a summary of his character traits but through his actions.  And that’s a method that almost guarantees our affection and understanding of his nature and generosity of spirit.  Diego’s support system includes Tia Carmen,his wonderful landlady whose friendship, acceptance, and wisdom will be necessary for the events to come.  Through Tia Carmen, the story is peppered with bits of their language, cooking recipes and herbal medicines that Finn will need to recover.  I wanted to taste her chicken and stuffed poblanos, red beans, and rice along with Finn as he licked his fingers and asked for more.  It is this attention to detail and the layer upon layer that Martinez adds to her stories that make this such a multidimensional tale that will resonate with many.

There are so many characters to love here.  From the most important ones such as Finn (such a lovely construct of a Fae) and Diego, a warmhearted, heart torn, generous soul to Tia Carmen, literary agent Miriam, or even such fleeting characters as Tiff and Rodney West, homeless,discarded street people, Martinez has taken great care to make each and every one a believable individual, one character as well rounded as the next.   It’s the reason why you come to care for them all and remember their names long past the scenes they were mentioned in.  In Marinez’ world, there doesn’t seem to be any such thing as a “throwaway” person, whether they be real or fiction.  All matter, all count.  That just deepens my appreciation of her talents as a writer as well as my admiration for her stories.

Both the romance and the Wendigo are great elements here.  The romance is a slow build to love, especially as it has so many obstacles to overcome.  Diego’s ex boyfriend, the very nature of the pooka himself, and finally the absolutely scary Wendigo, a horrific delight for those who enjoy a little fright with their m/m love stories.  The Wendigo and its actions might gross out a few readers but the vivid descriptions and the manner in which Martinez gets her characters out of the wild situations they find themselves in is more than worth some of the gore found here.  Really not bad at all by some of the standard stuff I see or read these days.

Martinez throws hints and clues here and there, scattered about her plot, that point to the next story in the series, Diego (Endangered Fae #2).  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for my favorite pooka and his human love.  This is the second edition for Finn, and as I am unfamiliar with the first, it is the only edition for me.  I definitely recommend Finn for all lovers of m/m romance, the Fae, and the wild unknown.

Cover Art by Winterheart Design.  Nice cover, love the model who stands in for Finn.

Buy Links:    MLR Press        Amazon          ARe

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 205 pages
Published May 2nd 2014 by MLR Press (first published July 2nd 2009)
original titleFinn
ASINB00K3496AS
edition languageEnglish
seriesEndangered Fae #1
charactersFinn Shannon, Diego Sandoval
settingNew Brunswick (Canada)

 

Books in the series in the order they were written and should be read are:

Finn (Endangered Fae #1)
Finn’s Christmas (Endangered Fae #1.5)
Diego (Endangered Fae #2)
Semper Fae (Endangered Fae #3)

Author Book Tour & Contest: An Interview with Angel Martinez on Finn (Endangered Fae #1)

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On Tour with Angel Martinez and the first in her new series,

Finn (Endangered Fae #1)

ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords welcomes Angel Martinez here today to talk about the new series and the story that starts it, Finn ( Endangered Fae #1).  Contest: Angel Martinez has brought along with her a Rafflecopter giveaway. To enter to win an eBook copy of Finn: Endangered Fae, visit this Rafflecopter link and fill out the form.  Contest ends June 13th. 

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STRW: Thanks, Angel, for stopping by today.  I am always fascinated by the different approaches authors take the writing process and inspiration.
What research did you do for this novel?

AM: It’s funny. People don’t often associate research with fantasy. They think you can just toss it together all higgledy-piggledy. You can’t. You have to understand the genesis and history of your world, the nature of the characters and its magic, and the natural history of any non-human species you use. Urban fantasy is compounded with real world research as well. Sure I’ve been to New York and New Brunswick, but it had been awhile. What did I have to research?

Brooklyn neighborhoods, streets and where a Goodwill was located
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (it’s changed enormously since I saw it last)
Fundy National Park, the trees and wildlife there, and its surroundings
What to do for a carsick dog
Pookas – I dug through every old story I could find with a pooka reference and then had to decide what I wanted to use and what to discard
Wendigo – again, I knew something but not enough. I needed everything I could dig up.

STRW: So many people are enthralled by the Fae.  And there is a huge amount of Fae folklore and writings to draw from.  Did you create your own or draw from some of the more traditional aspects?

AM: I went straight to Irish legend, the old stories of the Tuatha Dé Danann and the several waves of invasions, of heroes and gods and ancient wars. My fae are directly built on those old stories, though I’ve made certain to characterize them as neither gods nor humans. Those stories and the old folktales people my fae courts and my Otherworld.

Obviously, I’ve taken liberties in creating distinct fae species and setting down the rules and characteristics of each type, but the old stories from the age of heroes are their forerunners.
STRW:What drew you to write about the Fae?  What was your inspiration for this story?

AM: I suppose you could say my inspiration was a lifetime of stories, a deep love from early childhood for stories of fairies and non-human realms. They’ve always been with me. I suppose I had to write about them eventually.

This story specifically was a reaction to an internal need, though. My first M/M story was a contemporary piece – one written for a specific reason. But I wasn’t comfortable with contemporary fiction and probably never will be. I don’t read it. Why would I write it? My critique partners urged me to turn to what I loved. Why didn’t I write a fantasy? Elves and things. I wrinkled my nose. Everyone had written about elves. I didn’t want to do what had been done a hundred times already. So I dove for the books and searched until I found a critter that people rarely discussed. The pooka.

STRW: How many books are planned for this series?

AM: There are currently four – three already written and one in the works. I may find I need a fifth, depending on where things end up, but four has been the goal for some time now.
STRW: How long have you been writing or writing in the M/M genre?

AM: I’ve always written something, from the time that I could write. I first started writing novels in, oh, 1998 or so? I think that’s about right. The first novel was written for my son as a chapter-by-chapter bedtime story – a novel that will most likely never see the light of day. Then I spent several years writing mainstream science fiction, with no success in finding a publisher until a short story sold in 2005. I probably started writing M/M romance in 2001 but didn’t seek publication for a few years. The first M/M story I wrote specifically for publication was contracted in 2007.

So, the answer to the question is: a lifetime of writing, almost ten years as a published author and over seven years as a M/M fiction author.

STRW:  Thank you, Angel Martinez, for a great interview and for stopping by today.  And for all readers, check out Finn (Endangered Fae #1) below and don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a copy of this book for your own!

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Finn_432(1) coverBook Name: Finn (Endangered Fae #1)
Author Name: Angel Martinez
Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 205 pages
Published May 2nd 2014 by MLR Press (first published July 2nd 2009)
original titleFinn
ASINB00K3496AS
edition languageEnglish
seriesEndangered Fae #1
charactersFinn Shannon, Diego Sandoval
settingNew Brunswick (Canada)

literary awardsDark Diva Top Pick

Buy Links: MLR Press   Amazon   ARe

 

Author Bio: While Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a writer of several genres, she writes both kinds of gay romance – Science Fiction and Fantasy. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author’s head) Angel has one husband, one son, two cats, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.

Author Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amartinez2
Facebook Author Page
Pinterest
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Twitter:
Cover Artist: Lex Valentine
Publisher: MLR Publishing
Blurb:

Lost and starving, Finn wakes to a poisoned world, but a man comes to him, a white light in the darkness—can a centuries old pooka find what he needs with a heartbroken, modern man?

When Diego rescues a naked man from the rail of the Brooklyn Bridge, he just wants to get the poor man out of traffic and to social services. He gets more than he bargained for when he discovers Finn is an ailing pooka, poisoned by the city’s pollution. To help him recover, Diego takes him to New Brunswick where Finn inadvertently wakes an ancient, evil spirit: the wendigo.

While they struggle to find a way to destroy the wendigo before it can possess Diego or kill nearby innocents, Diego wrestles with his growing feelings for Finn. Kill the monster and navigate a relationship between a modern man and a centuries old pooka. Piece of cake

Finn (Endangered Fae #1) Excerpt:

The ordeal of the shower seemed cruel, but Finn was filthy and smelled like a dumpster during a garbage strike. Diego placed one of his plastic kitchen chairs in the middle of the shower and installed Finn there, but he only slumped against the chair back, eyes closed, face turned into the spray.
Too exhausted to even flinch.

Diego fought down the little shiver of revulsion at the stench, stripped to his boxers, and stepped into the stall with him. He attacked the tangled mass of hair first, positioning Finn so his head hung back over the chair. No lice—a good sign. He might have been homeless, but he probably hadn’t lived on the streets too long. The nest of midnight snarls unwound under the caress of water and shampoo. If Finn stood, his hair would reach at least to the top curve of his butt. A strange blue-black iridescence shone in it, his natural coloring as far as Diego could tell rather than bottled special effects.

The rest Diego washed with a loofah, shoving away modesty out of a need to get Finn to his rest. An ache lodged around his heart to see how malnutrition had ravaged what probably had been a lean-muscled frame. An athlete, perhaps, before he went off the deep end, an impression reinforced by the absence of almost all body hair. Waxed or electrolysis-denuded—only Finn’s crotch sported a black thatch of soft hair. Swimmer, perhaps. The Olympic competitors often shaved it all off for every small gain in streamlining.

He turned off the water and tugged at Finn’s arm. “Come on. Let’s get you settled. You can’t sleep in the shower.”

Finn staggered to his feet and Diego all but carried him to Mitch’s room. The spare room, he corrected himself. He usually kept the door closed so the stark, unfurnished space wasn’t glaring at him.

He sat Finn down against the wall, brought him a pair of flannel pajamas, soft with age, and went out to the front closet to retrieve the air mattress and vacuum. Six boxes lay stacked against the wall; all that remained of Mitch’s things. Diego ran a hand over one, and then shook his head against the temptation to open the top and look at its contents. When he returned, Finn hadn’t moved from where he sat, naked and dozing in a patch of sunlight.

“You might want to put those on.” Diego toed the pajamas closer as he dragged the air mattress into place. When Finn’s only response was a long sigh, he added, “We need to get you warm. I don’t want to have to take you to Emergency.”

With a puzzled frown, Finn unfolded the material and managed, after looking back and forth between the pajamas and Diego’s jeans a few times, to pull the bottoms on. His efforts with the top, though, were sabotaged when the vacuum roared to life. He startled and scuttled sideways, wide-eyed and panting.

Diego hurried to switch it off. “Sorry. Should have warned you.”

“Is it some sort of small dragon?”

For a moment, Diego stared in blank surprise before he caught himself. At least the nature of Finn’s delusion was becoming clearer. He might even share his history later when he had the energy, perhaps some tragic story of an exiled prince. For now, Diego thought it best to play along.

“Not a dragon. Just a machine. It blows out and sucks in air with great force.”

“Ah.” Finn seemed disappointed, but waved a hand for him to continue.

Mattress inflated, Finn dressed and installed in bed, Diego thought he should get something in him before he drifted off. He tried tap water first but Finn jerked his head away, the color draining from his face.

“Tainted,” he gasped. “Great Dagda, it reeks.”

Diego sniffed above the glass, puzzled. New York City water, piped in from the mountains, was cleaner than most but it was treated. Chlorine. Fluoride. Maybe Finn had an allergy to one or the other.

Bottled water produced a less violent reaction. Finn smelled it, nose crinkled, but he downed half the bottle in desperate gulps before Diego could take it back from him. Hydration, at least, wouldn’t be an issue.

The hurdle of food remained. Starvation often did terrible things to the body’s ability to accept nourishment. Not the best time to offer a hamburger and fries. Diego decided he should start with the foods one was supposed to give sick kids: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, minus the applesauce, since he didn’t have any.

Finn wouldn’t touch the boiled-in-tap-water rice. He nibbled a corner of the toast and set it aside with murmured apologies. The banana completely stumped him. He turned it over and over in his hands and finally tried to bite through the skin.

“You eat these?” He handed it back to Diego with a grimace.

All right, so his reality doesn’t include New World fruit. Diego peeled the banana for him and handed it back. “You don’t eat the skin. Try the inside.”

Finn took a careful bite and his eyes widened. “That’s not bad.”

Diego could only watch anxiously, praying his guest wouldn’t choke, as the rest disappeared in three bites. With a contented sigh, Finn handed the peel back, gathered the covers into a circle in the center of the mattress, and curled into a tight ball inside his nest. By the time Diego brought an extra comforter to cover him, Finn was fast asleep.

Clean and at rest, his face had a childlike quality with his hair tucked behind one finely-curved ear. Diego wasn’t certain it was a handsome face, almost unearthly in its delicacy, and though Finn stood six inches taller, he had the odd feeling he could scoop that long frame up in his arms without much effort.
He backed out and closed the door as quietly as he could, confident Finn wouldn’t die on him. Tomorrow he would see about finding the right agency to take his guest, preferably one that wouldn’t hand him right over to immigration.

A few hours of peace while Finn sle

Crystalpt should let him at least get through the current chapter he was writing.

The moment he sat ready at his desk, fingers poised over the keys, the phone rang.

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FinnBadge for TourTour Dates: June 2, 2014 – June 13, 2014
Tour Stops:
June 2: Tara Lain
June 3: Parker Williams
June 4: Kimi-Chan, Jade, Talon SO
June 5: Book Reviews Rants, and Raves, MM Good Books
June 6: Nephylim, Hearts on Fire
June 9: Prism Book AllianceDawn’s Reading Nook 
June 10: Love Bytes, My Fiction Nook
June 11: Fallen Angel Reviews
June 12: The Novel Approach, Rainbow Gold Reviews
June 13: Amanda C. Stone, Velvet Panic, ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords
Contest Link for an eBook copy of Finn: Rafflecopter Link

 

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