Right from the start, I liked this one better. The characters and relationships felt more genuine and nuanced and deep. Especially the romance between Adam and Vic, which is interesting considering they were in different locations and not even in contact for most of the book. But also the family relationships between Adam and his brother and mother. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about the complicated brother relationship between Adam and Robert before, but seeing how he showed up for Adam and listened to him and supported him this time, I’m glad they’re trying, and I think it’s a nice portrayal of a broken relationship being repaired. The relationships, with all their difficulties and imperfections, really shone.
Another thing different about this book was that the first had Adam’s and Robert’s POVs, but this one had Adam’s and Vic’s. It was a good choice because I didn’t feel like I knew Vic super well in the first book, but getting his POV helped me understand and get to know him more, as well as understand and feel the romance more. It seems like the author is deciding whose extra POV to give based on who really needs it to show the inner turmoil and growth they’re having. And Vic did have a lot of inner turmoil and growth. (Plot might have to do with it too, since we did also see some things in Vic’s part of the story that Adam wasn’t there for.)
There wasn’t much action, mostly mystery and weird magical happenings and lots of feelings, but I was hooked. I like feelings. As I said, the characters had stuff to sort through. Grief. Confusion. Difficulty trusting. Questioning long-held beliefs. New experiences.
But the book wasn’t lacking in plot or magic. We did get to see more of the druid warlock, elf politics, and the magical tether between Adam and Vic.
I even liked the audiobook narration by Michael David Axtell better. To be fair, I don’t remember exactly how it sounded in the first book, I only have what I said in my review to go on, but I have no complaints about it this time. So either I got used to it or it got better. It’s also possible that I wasn’t bothered by the lack of oomph during intense/action scenes (my complaint about the first book) because there were fewer of those. But anyway, it sounded natural. I think it might’ve had a bit more personality and life to it. Characters didn’t all have drastically different voices, but it was enough that I could tell them all apart. It seemed like Adam’s narration and Vic’s narration even sounded a tiny bit different in tone. I enjoyed it.
The first book was good but didn’t leave a big impression on me, whereas this one has cemented the characters in my mind and made me definitely want to keep reading about them. There wasn’t a lot of action, but I really liked the mystery, the characters, the magic, and especially the complicated, nuanced relationships and feelings!
Fans of Book 1 in David R. Slayton's Adam Binder series. Anyone who likes magic, a bit of mystery, a bit of action, a bit of m/m romance, and complex relationships with family members who haven't always been the best.