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Because without hope, we are all lost.
Because without hope, we have nothing.
The final installment of this trilogy leaves me shattered and sad, and full of anger towards the men who perpetrate this kind of abuse on children. But most of all, it leaves me with hope, exhilarated and happy, which, in this context, is nothing short of magic on the author’s part.
To take this extremely important and difficult subject matter, and lovingly show it without condescension or sensationalism, and give so many young people hope? Magic, indeed.
There is such powerful truth in this series. There is such compassionate giving of hope. It is horrid and beautiful at the same time, and it has a way of sending a spiraling sense of meaning out to young people who are hurting, telling them there is a future, there is a life, there is a way. Telling them that there are good people out there, who will love them.
Hope. Truly the most powerful of all human feelings.
We started with beauty in book one. And horror. And friendship. And love.
We continued with courage in book two. Lots and lots of courage. And love.
We finish with hope in this third book, as we run, and hide, and make mistakes, and fix them again. And love.
Thimi is a young boy who lived through the same horrors as Christy in Greece, and Christy finally gets to see his old friend again as he arrives in the US as a scared little waif of a boy. Thimi slowly opens up through the story, and as he starts to understand the sunshine that can exist in a normal life we get to see more about what happens inside a child after abuse.
When you read a YA book, not often does it also work as a manual of how to do things to help a former victim of abuse. It is not often that, in soft tones and sweet turns of phrase, you will understand and learn how to act around people who have been through the unthinkable. Who have been through the unspeakable.
This is a little bit like a beautifully crafted Technical Manual of Care and Maintenance for those who work with our collective youth, especially if they work with children or young adults who have had a hard time.
And the end result? The telling of a great, great love story — with true friendship shining through, the kind of love that inspires both happy endings and good laughs.
There are other new fascinating characters entering the scene, too, and especially Zero is someone I would love to see more of in a future book... I can truly say that I hope this trilogy gets a fourth and fifth instalment, because there are still things I’d like to know, (and history is full of excellent trilogies in five parts). (Just sayin’).
Beauty and Courage and Hope.
Because Elpida means hope.
And, as we said in the beginning, without hope, we are all lost.
I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher, Harmony Ink Press.
A positive review wasn’t promised in return. I also beta-read an early version of the manuscript.
Edward "Easy" Cantrell knows better than most the pain of not being able to save those he loves--which is why he is not going to let Jenna Dean out of his sight. He may have just met her, but Jenna's the first person to make him feel alive since that devastating day in the desert more than a year ago.
Jenna has never met anyone like Easy. She can't describe how he makes her feel--and not just because he saved her life. No, the stirrings inside her reach far beyond gratitude.
As the pair are thrust together while chaos reigns around them, they both know one thing: the things in life most worth having are the hardest to hold on to.
Davian is a tattoo magician – a man who can sense the magical tattoos under people’s skin and bring them to life. He’s spent most of his life hiding the true extent of his powers, hoping to avoid the attention of the Council and live a quiet life with his friend and business partner Keir and, hopefully, find a cute guy to have some fun with.
Except someone in the city is killing people with tattoos and stealing them – an agonising and terrible way to die. With his power, Dacian is perfectly placed to stop him and people are pressing him to get involved – but can he stop the killer and stay under the Council’s attention?
I really like the world building of this book – it does a really good job of taking a modern world and making it feel like a Dungeons and Dragons town. We have wizards and cars. We have elves and modern technology. It all seems to work – part of that may be not going into too much unnecessary detail at this point: it does an excellent job of hinting and shaping a lot without going into lots of details
Which is good because we can already see many many kind of wizards each of which are clearly very different from each other. We have elementals. We have fae. We have elves. We have wereanimals. We have a lot – and a whole lot of them are repeatedly touched on with excellent little details that are there to give an impression of a wider, different, broad culture (like the social nature of elves, the personalities of elementals etc etc)
This applies to government as well – we have so many hints of how this is worked related to the Council, how they treat powerful magic users and some indications of the way powerful supernatural forces interact with this organisation
Again, no-one sits down and starts expositioning lots of information about the society – because that would make absolutely no sense at all and would really clutter up this beginning book. But it does an absolutely awesome job of portraying an amazing world without dragging down the story
On top of that the actual focus – tattoo magic, the magic that Dacian and Keir have and the very foundation of the plot of this book. This shows how much imagination and detail can actually go into world building when it’s necessary to the plot
Unfortunately the story does kind of drag in the middle. Dacian spends a lot of time not knowing what to do, he’s kind of been tapped by several people as the one who should do something about the serial killing. He’s understandably reluctant since he’d rather keep his magic secret (and pretty much everyone seems to know he’s more than he seems) and he definitely doesn’t know what to do. So I can get that there’s a bit in the middle of the book where Dacian figures out what he can actually do
But it kind of waffles. What’s there is good – it’s Dacian’s normal life with his excellent relationships with Keir his best friend and Isaiah his love interest and Vyx who joins them. And it’s all fun but the fact there’s a serial killer on the loose seems to be too low a priority.