Title: Jack of Thorns
Series: Inheritance: Book One
Author: Amelia Faulkner
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Run Time: 12 hours and 23 minutes
Category: Urban Fantasy
At a Glance: I loved that the magic of this book is less about powers and gods and more about how friendship and love can be their own magic, without beating you over the head with the message. As for the narration, Joel Leslie works his own brand of magic and somehow manages to make this wonderful story even better.
Reviewed By: Jovan
Blurb: Florist. Psychic. Addict.
Laurence Riley coasts by on good looks and natural charm, but underneath lies a dark chasm that neither heroin nor lovers can fill. Sobriety is a pipe dream which his stalker ex-boyfriend is pushing him away from. Luckily, Laurence has powers most can only dream of. If only he could control them.
Aristocrat. Psychic. Survivor.
Quentin d’Arcy is the product of centuries of wealth, privilege, and breeding, and is on the run from all three. A chance encounter with an arresting young florist with a winning smile could make him stop. Laurence is kind, warm, and oddly intriguing, but Quentin’s wild telekinesis and his fear of sex make dating a dangerous game.
When opposites attract, they collide.
Desperate to fix his rotting life, Laurence prays for aid and accidentally summons a fertility god who prefers to be called Jack. Jack is willing to help out for a price, and it’s one Laurence just can’t pay: he must keep Jack fed with regular offerings of sex, and the florist has fallen for the one man in San Diego who doesn’t want any.
If they’re to survive Jack’s wrath, Laurence and Quentin must master their blossoming feelings and gifts, but even then, the cost of Laurence’s mistake could well overwhelm them both. How exactly are mere mortals supposed to defeat a god?
Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this blend of contemporary romance and paranormal fantasy. I’ve read a lot of paranormal/supernatural fiction and haven’t come across one recently that allows the everyday aspects of life—friendship, pain, doubt and all the other highs and lows of living—to take precedence over the paranormal elements in the story, part of the reason I enjoyed it so much. The main focus is on the struggles and personal demons each man faces rather than relying on all the “fantastical” elements that can be introduced with the use of magical/god-like gifts.
Laurence is an addict who struggles daily with feelings of inadequacy, self-disgust and despair over his inability to focus his gifts. Quentin is a complicated lost soul who is unaware of his own gift, a gift that seems intertwined with past trauma that he uses unintentionally and without remembering whenever he feels threatened. Through their relationship, each man, for different reasons, gets to experience their first real taste of friendship, affection and closeness, from someone other than their mothers, and draws strength and a better sense of self-worth from their bond. For me, the writing is especially noteworthy because very few books have allowed me to “hear” a character and feel like I know them from their first introduction, but I was immediately drawn into Laurence’s feelings and world with how well and poetically the description of his visions/overdose experience was, something I experienced again when Quentin was introduced.
Fair warning, there is A LOT about Quentin that is not explained in this book. He clearly has suffered some form of trauma/child abuse that hints at something sexual because he is triggered into using his power whenever he feels threatened, which occurs when anything of a sexual nature is mentioned. The way he completely disconnects from reality could have been a coping mechanism to protect him from whatever happened to him as child long before he manifested his powers; however, this is pure speculation. Moreover, this is a book about the MCs learning to connect with someone on an emotional level while still learning about themselves, so there is no carnal activity and only the beginnings of moving the relationship into more than friends and a HFN as a couple. That being said, I loved that the magic of this book is less about powers and gods and more about how friendship and love can be their own magic, without beating you over the head with the message.
As for the narration, Joel Leslie works his own brand of magic and somehow manages to make this wonderful story even better. Faulkner’s skill with words and their ability to connect me to the characters was elevated and fully realized by Leslie’s performance. Not only does he find a voice that is fitting and believable for each character, he expresses those subtle inflections, nuances and tones that truly bring the characters to life. Between the excellent world-building, characters, story and narration, this book is an amazing listen.
You can buy Jack of Thorns here:
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