How Not to Summon Your True Love
Author: Sasha L. Miller
Title: How Not to Summon Your True Love
Series: Part of the Solitary Travelers Collection
Pairing: M/M, Ace
Rating: Three Petals
On the Author's Website:
Though it doesn't really come as a surprise, Cy is still crushed when he's dumped. His relationship with Alex had lasted longer than all previous attempts, and started promising when Alex had proclaimed he was perfectly okay with Cy being asexual. On impulse, convinced no one will ever really see him as worthy relationship material, Cy turns to a book that belonged to his late mother, a grimoire of magic spells that obviously won't work. It's a stupid idea, and even if magic was real there's no way a true love summoning spell would work for him...
I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The summary makes this story sound unbelievably interesting and in many ways it holds up to that, but in too many others I found it fell short. Cy is a young man that is struggling to find himself. He knows he's asexual and that he prefers men, but finding a guy to understand him and love him because of that rather than looking for a way to work around it isn't easy. Couple that with his depression over his father's recent death and his current boyfriend dumping him and Cy is a time-bomb waiting to happen. It therefore comes as no surprise that when he finds a spell book he decides to try a spell to summon his true love.
That part of the story I really enjoyed. The romance started off slow with a few well-crafted funny moments and grew steadily into a relationship of mutual respect. Even at the end of the book when they finally agree to date in a very awkward conversation, I felt their love. It almost made up for the plot holes that riddle the rest of the book.
I do understand why the magic system Miller created for this world wasn't well explained. Cy is completely ignorant of magic even though he can apparently cast spells and there wasn't enough time for him--and therefore the reader--to learn everything about it. However, there was a lot of emphasis on magical families and territories, which I thought was only halfheartedly explained. In particular, the territory that Cy is forced to run from after accidentally summoning Dig is supposedly run by an evil family. However, I saw very little sign of that in the book. Cy's flight from harm is supposed to feel like a life or death situation, but it didn't come across that way. Ethan, Cy's roommate seems like a perfectly nice guy the few times we meet him and it isn't a stretch to believe that at first he thinks he's saving Cy from being kidnapped. Only once Dig has cemented the fact that Ethan is affiliated with a bad magical family do we start seeing Ethan acting poorly. Even then, his actions feel more like childish pranks than evil. At the end of the story, after all the running is complete, Cy has absolutely zero trouble getting Ethan to ship his things from their dorm room. Since the entire premise of the story was that by summoning Dig and proving that he had powers, Cy therefore needed to run away from the bad guys, not having any tangible proof that the professed bad guys were actually bad hurt this story immensely.
I did enjoy reading this book. The romance was well-written and the little bits of magic that were detailed seemed very interesting. I didn't like the fact that the evil enemy was never actually shown being evil, which felt like a massive plot hole. I do recommend this book, but not as highly as some of the other books Miller has written.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.