Magic Runs Deep

Alex Whitehall. Riptide, $16.99 trade paper (183p) ISBN 978-1-62649-750-4
In Whitehall’s underwhelming fantasy romance debut, a mage named Elrid sets out to save a captive Ursinai (or bear shifter). Despite the backdrop of a conquered kingdom, much of the novel takes place in the room where the shifter, Veier, is being held. As Elrid attempts to tame him, the two develop a fondness for each other in the slowest of slow burns, with not so much as a kiss between them until the last 20 pages. Although the hesitation can be interpreted as romantic, it’s also forced by the setup; holding back is Elrid’s only ethical path due to the uncomfortable power dynamic. For all the lead-up, Veier’s actual recovery from his trauma takes place largely in the epilogue, leaving the book feeling rushed and the ending abrupt and unsatisfying. Although the romance would feel sweet in other circumstances, this book falls short. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018
Release date: 04/07/2018
Genre: Fiction
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