Review of A Hidden Magic

Elisa Rolle posted a great review of A Hidden Magic yesterday, which was a pretty excellent birthday present. 🙂

I was really interested in reading this novel, Angela Benedetti is one of my oldest online friends and many time we shared our preferences in old fashioned romances, and often we agreed on them. So yes, I knew even before reading it, that the romance part of this story would have been good, and it was. What probably I was also expecting is for the book to be clever. I wasn’t probably expecting for it to be funny.

Let be sincere, when speaking of alien invasion, even if the “aliens” are not from a far away galaxy, but from the fey world, well, funny is not the exact term to describe a story. Especially if the fey creatures, trolls, fairies, incubi and a lot more of other mythical creatures, feed on humans killing them.

But this group of fighting hero is not exactly your special squad: Aubrey, apparently the boss since he is the strongest and oldest, looks like a barely legal pretty boy; his boyfriend Cal is a restaurant owner; Manny is a bookstore owner and former nurse and Paul, the baddest of the all, is a paranormal romance writer! Not exactly the men you are expecting to save the world, right? But they are doing their job fairly, and are not against the idea to include someone else in their group.

I didn’t understand if Manny was inviting Rory to lunch with them since he understood he was a possible candidate or if he was only gentle; in any case, Rory is a “blaze”, basically an huge reserve of magical power fey people want for themselves. All his life Rory believed to be psychopathic since he was seeing “things”, things other people were not able to see; he spent most of his life taking drugs to dull down his sight and now, suddenly, he is not alone in seeing those things. Problem is that now the things are after him and the only shelter against them is Paul.

Paul, the paranormal romance writer, is also a big man with too much piercing and with a passion for the hard rock style. All the opposite of Rory, who, for all his life, has tried to avoid stimulation, like strong colour, strong emotions and strong passions… Near Paul he is having an over flooding of them, and he is not able to stop it. Even if outside there are bad things waiting and hunting for Rory, inside Rory’s house, Paul and him are playing “boyfriends”, sharing a coach, a passion for sci-fic movies and pizzas; the sex is something both of them want, but like two good teenagers at their first experience with passion, they are willing to wait and know each other better.

This is another aspect of the book I liked; aside from a scene almost at the beginning of the book, when an incubus attacked Rory, sex is always there, simmering underneath, but not the main dish; sex here is more like a dessert you need to wait to fully favour it.

I’m glad she enjoyed it, and particularly happy that she liked the “simmering” sex. I don’t write cover-to-cover sex even in my shorter pieces, and the longer the story, the less verbage the sex seems to take up, proportionally. I can’t help it; I’m more of a plot person. There are so many novels around that are the opposite, it’s great to run into other people who like sex as one of many plot devices rather than as the reason for the entire book.

I hadn’t really thought of how mundane all the guys’ occupations were, either, until she mentioned it. I was trying to create ordinary people whose one really special characteristic was the magic. Also, there are enough private investigators and Navy SEALs and dukes and princes and billionaire tycoons running around romance; maybe I was unconsciously trying to subvert that cliche a bit? [ponder]

That’s the best part of getting feedback — when someone reads your story and makes you think about it or look at it a bit differently. 🙂


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Angela Benedetti lives in Seattle with her husband and a few thousand books. She loves romance for the happy endings, for the affirmation that everyone who's willing to fight for love deserves to get it and be happy with someone. She's best known for her Sentinel series of novels, the most recent of which is Captive Magic.