I enjoyed this, and it was a good intro to a series that I’m expecting to get even better as we get to delve deeper into these characters and their lives.
Laurence’s future-seeing and plant-growing powers and Quentin’s telekinesis were interesting. Quentin didn’t even know he had powers until Laurence told him, because his only came out at times of anxiety or trauma, and then he’d forget what happened. There was also a nature/fertility god antagonist with his own powers thrown into the mix. The paranormal element kept the story interesting and added some stakes and danger.
Laurence and Quentin were both likeable enough and had some depth to them (a bit of a caveat about Quentin below). Laurence is struggling with a drug addiction, in and out of rehab, and has an abusive ex-boyfriend. Quentin has an alcohol addiction, though I don’t think he realizes it, and it’s hinted that he was abused by his father. But it felt like these topics were handled with care, and both characters were good people, just ones who are struggling and trying to get through life.
When they meet each other, that’s when life seems to get a little brighter for the both of them. There wasn’t much to the romance yet in this book, it’s a bit of a slow-burn since I’m not sure Quentin had ever felt attraction before and didn’t seem to realize that’s what he was feeling, but what was there was sweet.
What I found really interesting was the dichotomy of one character who loves sex and does it all the time with lots of different people (Laurence) vs. a character who seems to have a fear of physical intimacy, including things like kissing and touching, and shows no interest in sex (Quentin). Since some readers may be wondering, I’ve already read a few books in the series, and I can tell you that Quentin doesn’t seem to be asexual, rather he has other reasons for his aversion, and there are eventually sex scenes as he starts to enjoy physical intimacy. Of course, he could still be somewhere on the ace spectrum, but that hasn’t been stated, and I wouldn’t take this as ace rep. Anyway, all the talk of sex in the description had me a bit worried the book might not be for me, as I tend to not be into books that are super focused on that, and I was worried about how the author would handle the premise, but so far Laurence was pretty respectful of Quentin, and everything wasn’t about sex (or the lack thereof); it was just one element of the story, and there wasn’t anything more than kissing yet in this book. (Though there were things that could be upsetting to some readers, including a nonconsensual kiss that was done for non-romance reasons and the antagonist threatening rape.)
There were some issues that all but disappear as the series goes on, but they really bothered me while reading this book and affected my enjoyment, so I have to mention them. And those issues were: how Quentin spoke and the strange assortment of things he didn’t know. He spoke in what I can only describe as old-timey formal language, which, on its own would’ve been acceptable. But he also used the word “one” in place of “I.” E.g. Instead of, “I cannot swim,” it was, “One cannot swim.” I don’t think that’s how that works. It was like referring to himself in third person, but weirder. He also kept saying “dear boy” and “old boy.” He also just didn’t know about normal, common things. He was a British aristocrat, and he didn’t know what Google was. Or Twitter. Or that “hot” meant “attractive.” His father didn’t allow phones or computers, but I didn’t get the impression that he was fully confined to his house with no outside interaction. And now he’s an adult out in the world, living on his own, going out among people. If nothing else, you would just pick up on things. And as an adult, he was fully choosing to not even read newspapers or watch the news. There was no satisfying explanation for any of it. And these things were very distracting and somewhat took away from Quentin’s depth as a character. But as I said, in later books, he stops saying “one” and I guess starts learning about more things, so you basically just have to deal with it for this book.
Overall, I was intrigued enough by these characters, their blossoming relationship, their psychic abilities, and their story that I wanted to give the second book a try and see what would happen next!
Anyone who likes psychic/telekinetic abilities, magic, sweet and strong m/m romance, slow-burn sex, and characters struggling with addiction and abuse trauma.