Saturday, October 9, 2010

Review: A Hidden Magic by Angela Benedetti

Fey incursions into the mortal world have been on the rise lately, and Paul MacAllister's trying to figure out what the king of the local elven enclave Under the Hill is up to and how to stop it. Rory Ellison was caught up in one of those attacks and nearly killed by a gang of goblins. He doesn't believe they were real, though, and is resisting anything Paul might say to the contrary.
Normally Paul would be willing to let Rory go his own way, at least until he's taken care of more immediate business. But Rory has a particularly rare gift, one the elven king needs to have under his control in order to carry out his plan. Keeping Rory away from the fey who'll use him -- to death if necessary -- means protecting him night and day, whether Rory agrees or not.
A Hidden Magic is an excellent beginning to Angela Benedetti's new M/M urban fantasy series. She begins by plunging the reader directly into her world of magic and setting the dark atmosphere that will surround her characters.

Paul McCallister, Cal, Manny and Aubry are members of a Mage Team who use spells and other magic abilities to battle Fey, trolkins, goblins and other magical creatures and come "topside" to steal magic from humans so they can banish them back to Under the Hill where they belong. The urban setting for these disturbances: Downtown San Jose, California.

Rory Ellison has always been different. He has seen strange creatures all his life, and in fact after years of therapy and medication Rory believes these creatures are hallucinations -- a product of his deluded, psychotic mind. Rory is attacked by a dangerous gang of goblins and almost loses his life. The Sentinels come to the rescue and it is then that he finally learns the truth about himself. His life is about to change forever.

As Paul and the Sentinels protect Rory from more frequent and dangerous attacks from the fey, Rory battles not only his grave doubts about this new world of magic, but a growing attraction for Paul. And Rory fights hard! He doesn't want to believe and he doesn't want to be attracted. However, when all investigations as to the continuous attacks point to King Pelamine, things rapidly deteriorate for the Sentinels and Rory. The real battle begins.

I enjoyed this book. To develop Paul and Rory's romance, Benedetti uses sexual tension quite effectively throughout the story. It all builds up to an intimate encounter and the beginning of a relationship. Although both Paul and Rory are attracted to each other and there's a satisfactory outcome to their attraction, as follows with most urban fantasy series, there's room for further development of both the romance and the world building in future installments.

The two main characters in this story are well developed, although there's more depth to Rory's character than Paul's. The Sentinels as secondary characters are well defined, their personalities are set and it's obvious that they'll be pairing off in future installments. Aubry as the most powerful Mage and Cal as his assistant stand out in this story.

Benedetti uses Rory's introduction to the Sentinel's world of magic, his doubts, and the exploration of his new powers to introduce the reader to the world building for her new urban fantasy/romance series, and answers questions as the story moves along at a fairly fast pace.  The story was intriguing with lots of action, interesting characters and twists and turns along the way, it kept me turning those pages. A solid beginning to this new series.

Genre: M/M Urban Fantasy Romance
Series: Sentinels, Book #1
Released: May 26, 2010/Torquere
Grade: Solid B

Anesthezea's 2010 M/M Romance Challenge

Mini: Unfinished Business (Sentinels, A Hidden Magic #1.5) by Angela Benedetti

After a morning of saving the world, apprentice mage Cal Toscani heads down and works a full day in his busy restaurant, because foiling the bad guy doesn't pay the bills. After midnight, bruised and aching from the aforementioned foiling, and exhausted from a long day of work, Cal goes home hoping for a hot bath, a nice massage and some sex, not necessarily in that order.

His lover and master, Aubrey Fletcher, unfortunately remembers that he gave Cal a lesson that morning before everything got exciting, and he's determined to finish that lesson before anything else happens -- yes, right now. Cal finds himself naked in bed, trying to figure out how to remove Aubrey's spell, while a naked Aubrey does his best to be distracting. Cal's pretty sure he's going to explode long before he figures the damn thing out

As a follow-up story to A Hidden Magic, Unfinished Business -- a Sip by Torquere --is quite the hot short story. This is a quick encounter between Aubry and Cal and follows up on a scene that takes place in A Hidden Magic. However, this Sip stands well on its own as an erotic encounter.

I loved seeing this side of both Aubry and Cal and I thought it was an excellent glimpse into these two characters and their relationship. I definitely hope to see more of them in future installments. Hot, hot!

Genre: M/M Urban Fantasy Romance
Series: Sentinels (A Hidden Magic Story), Book #1.5
Released by: Torquere
Grade: B

Anesthezea's 2010 M/M Romance Challenge

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