Title: Emerging Magic (Sentinels #2)
Author: Angela Benedetti
Cover artist: Alessia Brio
Publisher: Torquere Press
Amazon Buy Link:Emerging Magic
Genre: fantasy/ paranormal romance
Length: 391 pages/114000 words
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: A very enjoyable sequel which orients us more in this world and lets us to get to know Rory and Paul so much better.
Rory’s mother took him to psychiatrists, let them circumscribe his life, let them give him drugs, while knowing all along there was nothing wrong with him. When Rory finds out, he’s angry and confused and just wants to get away for a while. His mother’s betrayal plus another kidnap attempt make a visit to the father he hasn’t seen in ten years seem like a great idea.
When Rory, Paul and Aubrey get to Seattle, though, it’s obviously not going to be just a normal family Christmas. Someone north of San Jose tried to kidnap Rory twice before they left, and it’s too much of a coincidence that Nathan, Rory’s dad, has magic talented friends. While Rory tries to reconnect with his only other family, Paul is trying to figure out whether anyone in Nathan’s group is after Rory. They definitely have secrets, and at least one of them has been playing around with things he doesn’t understand. The local fey are after him, and elves aren’t known for caring too much about collateral damage.
And there’s a master wizard in the area who’s up to something big and would really like to have Rory’s help….
Cole reviewed the first book in these series, A Hidden Magic, here and he also reviewed several short stories which take place in this world and I would guess happen in between the first and second book, you can easily find the reviews of the shorts if you do a search on the site for the author’s name. It is not essential that you read the shorts before you start this book, but I highly recommend you will read the first book first. I actually stumbled upon this book by complete accident and absolutely loved it. It just so happened that I then saw the second one amongst the reviewing blurbs few days after.
I loved so many things about the first book, but being a fan of all kinds of magic and magical systems in the fantasy world, I was really impressed how *clear* this writer made what magic can and what magic cannot do in her world, how she made the magic almost a living, breathing thing. We can see, feel, smell the magic through the eyes of the characters who are able to do so and believe me , it is not a small feat to accomplish. Especially since I was coming to this book after a fantasy which was also beautifully written, but was oh so very confusing at places as to how magic operated in their world.
Anyway, you can all read Cole’s amazing review about book one. Interestingly enough when I finished it, I thought that I would welcome a sequel in a heartbeat. I am always worried when I see a sequel to the beloved book especially when it feels that all issues had been resolved in the first book. Here while the first book does not end in cliffhanger of any sort, it definitely felt that for example the relationship between Rory and Paul had a lot of room to grow and I could see how further adventures could be easily developed.
I thought the second book delivered with gusto. I thought it mixed the relationship stuff and magical stuff perfectly, and while in this book I felt that the romance was playing a more major role, it still felt as if the romance was happening in the well developed world and the fantasy stuff was not just a window dressing for the romance, but was providing a strong sense of who the characters were as human beings, as personalities and of course created a lot of stuff for them to do.
I loved that Rory’s first blow in the book comes from discovering his mother’s betrayal. - I thought that in hindsight I should have thought that his mother’s behavior in the first book was just a tiny bit strange for person who supposedly believes that her son is a psycho who is seeing things. This is the best kind of foreshadowing for me – when I do not suspect anything the first time around and then I think back and see that some sort of hint was there. I loved how amongst fighting various magical threats Rory and Paul were figuring each other out, learning to negotiate their relationship. I was really happy to read about them getting to know each other better and figuring out what makes each other tick;- it was very believable, because in real life people who have known each other for a week could not know everything about each other and be perfect partners right away IMO.
I really enjoyed Paul figuring out something which is often one of the major problems I have with quite a few mm romances – I did like that he figured out that Rory does not want to be saved all the time. I cheered up; while I already knew based on the first book that this author was not creating “damsel in distress” in Rory, it was nice to get additional confirmation so to speak. I also cheered again because just as the first book, this one did not have a break up between the characters, only brief external separation and no, I was not bored in the slightest.
The magic stuff is just as strong and gets an even more in depth treatment than in the first book. I really enjoyed watching Rory learn and improvise. - I thought the author achieved the perfect mix of “powerful and still newbie mage”, but I am just hoping he will not end up being a super powerful mage of that world.
I liked that IMO there were no villains in this book – just human beings making bad choices and suffering the consequences. I, however, actually was quite uneasy with the ending and I get a feeling that I was supposed to feel that way, but I cannot help but feel that the punishment was too harsh for the “villains”, even though I totally understand the reasoning. I just cannot help but wonder if Paul could find a less harsh punishment for them (especially when he did not even bother to offer something worth of value in a similar bargain of the sorts in the first book). It just felt as an ultimate violation of somebody for whom magic is a part of who they are. I do get a feeling that it will be addressed in the next book of the series in some way, if the next book will come, because I thought that Rory also was feeling the same unease as I did, or I guess the more correct way to describe it would be that I felt the same unease that Rory did :)