Title: In This Iron Ground
Series: Natural Magic: Book One
Author: Marina Vivancos
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 325 Pages
At a Glance: I was a bit disappointed that there isn’t a second part to Damien and Hakan’s story, but I’m still happy with the way we left them, and my decision to read their book. I highly recommend their story!
Reviewed By: Ky
Blurb: Damien is nine years old when his parents die. What should have been the worst moment of his life begins a journey shadowed by loneliness and pain. The night of a full moon, four years and seven foster homes later, Damien flees to the forest, desperate to escape everything.
Instead, he finds the Salgado pack, and the earth beneath his feet shifts. Damien has seen the Salgado children in his school: Koko, who is in his class, and Hakan, two years older and infinitely unreachable. Damien is suddenly introduced into a world that had only ever existed in his imagination, where there is magic in the forest and the moon. He meets creatures that look like monsters, but Damien knows that monsters have the same face as anybody else.
Over the years, Damien and Hakan grow closer. First, just as friends and foster brothers in the Salgado house, and then into something heated and breathless when Damien joins Hakan at college. Despite what he may yearn for in the darkest part of the night, Damien knows, deep down in that bruised and mealy part of his core, that he’s not good enough to be part of the Salgado family, their pack. He’s not worthy of calling Hakan his home.
Even though he knows in the end it’ll hurt him, he’ll hold onto this for as long as he can.
CONTENT WARNING: This book contains themes of emotional and (nonsexual) physical child abuse and the subsequent emotional, cognitive, and behavioural impacts.
Review: In This Iron Ground was a big surprise for me. I’ve already read two other books by this author, and I can’t say that I loved them. She has a unique writing style, but that wasn’t the problem for me; I actually got used to it and liked it quite a bit. My issue with those other books was that the storyline was flat, and a lot of the time seemed like it was going nowhere. This book though! I absolutely loved this book! I can see how Marina Vivancos has grown as a writer, how much more structure her story had this time, how important her characters were, and how they developed within the story as time passed. When I picked up the book, I was somewhat apprehensive and didn’t know what to expect. Her writing style had captured my interest, but there was something missing from her previous works. This time, however, I realised that her voice had changed, and what didn’t click for me before was right there this time. I realized, with great delight, that I had just found a new author to anticipate their next book.
This is a supernatural book set in a world with shifters and some other magical creatures, but focuses on wolves. Damien is just a human, but he has had a very rough life since he lost his parents. He’s been through many foster homes, has lost faith in himself, and thinks he’s worthless of good things happening to him. Then, he meets the Salgado family and his whole life takes a turn for the best.
There are still hard times ahead of him, and the psychological damage done to him while he was with his last foster carers, before the Salgados took him in, is still torturing him, but he is decidedly in a much better place. He forms strong bonds with this new family and even makes some lifelong friends at school. He starts to relax and be himself. And then he falls in love.
It was wonderful to see Damien change so much in the approximately five-and-a-half years that the story follows his life. From the quiet and insecure kid who sometimes couldn’t stop talking, to the grown man confident enough to explore his sexuality and secure enough to freely enjoy his life, Damien was an amazing and interesting character with a lot of depth.
The book was brutal at times, honest and harsh, dealing with trauma and PTSD. It was emotional while showing us how Damien felt, what he thought about himself and his self-worth. It was sweet and hopeful, qualities that the Salgados brought into the mix with their love and care. And finally, it was beautiful in letting us see the relationship that Damien had with Hakan, not only as lovers when they were both at college but also as friends while they were younger—their connection and everything they went through together, how strong their bond was, and how important they were to each other.
I was a bit disappointed that there isn’t a second part to Damien and Hakan’s story, but I’m still happy with the way we left them, and my decision to read their book. I highly recommend their story!
You can buy In This Iron Ground here:
[zilla_button url=”http://authl.it/B07GNS5MZ4?d” style=”blue” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon/Kindle Unlimited [/zilla_button]