Magic Runs Deep
Author: Alex Whitehall
Title: Magic Runs Deep
Genre: High Fantasy
Rating: Four Petals
On the Author's Website:
For the last five years, Veier has been chained to a king’s throne in his bear form. When a neighboring kingdom overthrows the crown, Veier’s imprisonment ends, but true freedom is not so easily earned. With blood on his hands, he needs someone with patience, strength, and trust to help him become the person he was before and prove to the invaders that he isn’t the monstrous king’s loyal pet.
Elrid, the invading king's brother and a powerful mage, is everything Veier despises. He’s also the only thing between Veier and execution, because he thinks he can help Veier change from an aggressive bear shifter into a reasonable man. While the pair have a rough start, with long talks and mutual leaps of faith, they begin to care for each other.
However, the closer Veier gets to his freedom, the closer he is to losing Elrid. He must find balance in his heart and his life if he wishes to truly claim the freedom he’s been given—and the man he loves.
I received this book as an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Veier is a bear shifter that has been forced to stay in his bear form while being tortured for years. Then the king he served is killed and a new one takes his place. Veier isn't certain anything will be better until he meets Elrid, who makes him hope, except Elrid's king wants to kill Veier and that death might spill over to kill Elrid too.
Veier's characterization is very well written. He's been tortured and caught under a spell that made him forget himself. That isn't something he can overcome lightly, even with Elrid's patient help, and that process of finding himself again was descriptive and provided a lot of depth to both Veier and Elrid. It also allowed their relationship to form slowly with a lot of trust between them.
I particularly enjoyed the world building in this story. The different customs between the kingdoms and between Veier's people and Elrid's was interesting. If I had one complaint about this story, it's that the change from the bad kingdom, to Veier's home, to Elrid's kingdom was very abrupt, particularly at the end of the story. I could have used a bit more time spent on the transitions between those scenes.
I really liked the characterizations in this story, which were in depth and descriptive. I also liked the world building, although the transitions between scenes at different locations could have used a bit more time. Overall I did enjoy reading this story and I do recommend it.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.