Daymon has a long road ahead of him. Being born a blood prince already comes with heavy burdens but as an Evoker, with deep rooted powers running through his veins, in a land where magic is maligned and suspicious, those burdens compounded. But Daymon is still young and hopeful so instead of shutting himself away from the world, he has decided to patrol the more dangerous outlands of his father’s kingdom to help bring peace and justice to the land while showing the people that magic is not to be feared. Obviously, picking such a dangerous road was bound to be risky. When Daymon is captured by outlaws, he ends realizing just how harsh the world as he drifts in and out between the present day and memories of his childhood, his fated meeting with Rhyder and their growing relationship. Yes Daymon has an arduous road waiting for him, but he doesn’t have to walk it alone.
There are a lot of exciting thing happening to this blog at the moment. I’m hoping I will be able to share some exciting projects,starting with this post.
Granted this isn’t very unusual from your side of the computer but for me it’s all sorts of firsts. For one, this is the first ever book review I’ve written. Not only for this site but in general. I tend to review my books orally. So if I’ve missed something, please let me know!
Second, this is the first time I’ve ever written a requested review. I won’t lie I was extremely flattered by this. Although I had been approached once or twice in the past, I generally turn down this types of requests but this was different.. Which brings me to my disclaimer:
Full disclosure, this is not a sponsored post in any way. Not only am I not being paid for the review, I also happily purchase my copy of A Trust to Follow. However, Diana, the author, is someone I’ve known for a little while. She is a reader and I’ve always admired her writing. So I went into the book already a fan.
This can go either way mind you. On the one hand, you can be more forgiving of works created by someone you already admire, on the other, when they fail to live up to expectation for any reason, you can also take it much more personally and in turn be way harsher in your criticism than you otherwise would. For what it’s worth, I think I managed to remain completely objective in my review, but no harm in letting you know my mindset going in.
If you’ve made it all the way here, congratulations! We can now start this review!
A Trust to Follow, is the first installment in the Wild Magics series. It’s also a novella which you can comfortably read over the course of an afternoon. I did just that in fact. I read it about a week ago in a few hours. The reread it again over the weekend for this review.
Structurally, the story jumps back and forth between the present and not completely chronological scenes of Daymon’s past to put together a picture of the young prince’s life. This is a narrative structure that I’m particularly fond of but it can be a bit confusing, especially at first. It did take me a couple of pages to get my bearings and situate myself properly within the story.
Once that done though, I found the jumping back and forth to be a great way to add some rhythm to the story and keep me completely engaged. I’ll admit, I was reading the last paragraph before I even knew it and ended up slightly disappointed that there wasn’t more.
Obviously, you can’t cram tons of exposition into such a compact package. We have a general idea of the universe but it hasn’t be brought into sharp focus yet. For me, I was reminded a lot of Dragon Age, and that’s what I pictured. You know, vaguely European medieval fantasy architecture. Green fields and pastures. Lots of horses. Apparently there’s some strife between magic users (Evokers) and the rest of the population (this is in fact what lead to the Dragon Age comparisons in my head), but we don’t know yet what the catalyst for this animosity is, or if it has any impact of the lives of Evokers, other than dealing with a lifetime of prejudice that is.
I picked up on some tension between the unseen king and his sons as well. Again, we only get the situation but not the details.
This first book really focuses sharply on Daymon, his experiences, feelings and hopes. In fact, even Rhyder remains mostly mysterious. We do learn quite a bit about Rhyder but we learn it from Daymon’s perspective. Now, if you’ve ever tried to talk to someone about the person they love, you know how meaningless the exercise can be. Daymon thinks Rhyder is wonderful, amazing, perfect! And therefore, that’s how he presents Rhyder to us. An ideal, rather than a complete person. It’s really very adorable.
I particularly loved the description of the first time the two see each other. At this point Daymon is still a kid, 15, while Rhyder is slightly older and an established swordsman, with tales of his exploits whispered far and wide. The description of that teenage boy who loves heroes and was starstruck at seeing one for the first time was so beautifully earnest. There was something so endearing about the timeless quality of that moment. No matter what magical world you come from, no matter how long ago or how long from now, little boys love superheroes.
In case I haven’t made it amply clear yet, this is a Yaoi romance. One that manages to avoid all my least favorite tropes at that. It’s a perfectly consensual and respectful relationship. Also age appropriate as the romance doesn’t start until both parties are adults. There’s no whiff of abuse to be had.
Although there are a few explicit scenes. Very enjoyable ones I might add. The sex isn’t by any means the main focus of the story, simply another part of a healthy relationship. So if you were looking strictly for pr0n, this simply isn’t it. Maybe next book Diana will include a few more of these scenes?
Also, and I’m not sure whether this is a general feature or simply not addressed in this first book, but this world does not seem to have any particular bias against same gender relationships. It’s simply accepted as any other relationship would be because, of course it is!
Honestly, I loved this story to pieces. It was a charming short escape that left me feeling as though the world was a little bit sweeter. Naturally, there are a ton of plot points left to develop but as it is a first book in an ongoing series I have no issue with this. It does stand alone perfectly reasonably as a short story as well.
f I had any gripe to share, it would be that the more action intensive scenes were a bit hard to follow but as we were experiencing them from the point of view of a starved and drugged Daymon, that is to be expected.
I live in Montreal…that was a pretty sharp transition there, wasn’t it? My point is that I believe I bought the most expensive version of this book since Quebec is the land of taxes and stop signs (there are so many stop signs here). So I would say it came up to roughly the price of a fancy coffee (a medium, not a large – I’m not made of money!) Let me just say without exaggeration, it was way more than worth it. The whole experience was both much more satisfying and way sweeter than any frappuccino could hope to be.
So I do very much encourage you to pick up this book. Yes it’s fantastic to encourage young authors, especially ones that happen to love anime. Yes it’s great to put your money towards something that’s been crafted with care and love. But beyond that, it’s just nice to have something you can reach for when you need to smile. If you’ve been longing for an actual romance with a touch of magic, A Trust to Follow is what you need.
You can start reading now by getting the book from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Trust-Follow-Wild-Magics-Book-ebook/dp/B07DCK5BJ1
Or if you’re in Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Trust-Follow-Wild-Magics-Book-ebook/dp/B07DCK5BJ1
You can and should also give Diana some encouragement by dropping her a line on social media:
So, how did I do for a first time?