Title: Blackbird in the Reeds
Series: The Rowan Harbor Cycle: Book One
Author: Sam Burns
Publisher: Self-Published/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 188 Pages
Category: Paranormal, Fantasy
At a Glance: A wonderful and interesting set up for a new series. If you are like your contemporary romances blended with a paranormal plot, pick this one up!
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Devon Murphy has never believed that there were fairies at the bottom of the garden, but when he’s in an accident on his way to his grandmother’s house and comes face to face with the biggest, baddest wolf he’s ever seen, he’s forced to reconsider.
When his grandmother asks him to look into a string of suspicious accidents, he finds a much bigger mystery to unravel. From his childhood best friend to the too-attractive Deputy Wade Hunter, everyone in Rowan Harbor seems to have something to hide. Devon has to get to the bottom of it all before the accidents turn deadly.
Review: Sam Burns is quickly rising to be one of my must-read authors. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Blackbird in the Reeds since it was taking on a paranormal and fantasy plot, but I was so impressed with the author’s other books I took a chance. I shouldn’t have been worried; the story delivered a wonderful combination of world building and intriguing and unique characters, mystery in spades, and the foundation of a lovely little romance.
The story is told via Devon’s third-person POV, and I felt he carried the story well. Traveling home after a call from his Gran to Rowan Harbor on the Oregon Coast, there is a mystery surrounding the town and its occupants. Though he hadn’t been there in years, and really was never quite a resident, the town treats him as though he never left. It’s odd since he encounters people who have actually lived longer in Rowan Harbor and are still on the outside, not quite fitting into the tight-knit community. More questions start popping up, and Devon finds himself in the middle of several different mysteries. All the while, he begins to see Rowan Harbor and the townsfolk may not be exactly who and what he assumed.
There is a lot I would love to gush about, but unfortunately it would be all kinds of spoilery, so I am going to have to limit the information on the plot, only stating it was complex and interesting, with lots of smaller threads to follow over the course of this series. I am particularly fascinated by Devon’s role, along with the other founding families, and the woods that seem to be a part of it all.
If I had one thing that didn’t quite meet my expectations, it was the romance. Part of that is on me. I was expecting something similar to Sam Burns’ prior works, with the connection being front and center. But this series is different, and the growing relationship is sharing space with the world building and mystery. So, while there is quite a lot of individual character building for Devon and the multiple secondary characters, the romance is very slow to form and doesn’t truly begin to be explored until the last third of the book. For me, Wade was more of a secondary until towards the very end. As stated in the blurb, it is not an HEA, but rather an HFN. More like the beginning of something that could be amazing, but both Devon and Wade still have a lot more to learn about each other. Their connection is based on physical attraction with a side of fate, but the emotional connection was lacking as the two don’t really spend a lot of time getting to know each other. I am hoping in future books of the series the relationship will be explored more deeply, because I am not invested in them as a couple yet.
This book did a great job of capturing my attention and making me thirst for more. Some mysteries are resolved, but during the course of the journey, Devon ends up with more questions than answers. It’s clear Devon’s arrival is the catalyst and that some big things are heading their way, but what those things are, and Devon and Wade’s role in it, is a major unknown. Between the different plot threads, and quirky and interesting characters, I really can’t wait to find out what is in store next.
If you love a good fantasy/paranormal plot with character development and a blow-burn romance, give this one a shot.
You can buy Blackbird in the Reeds here:
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