Tatterdemalion by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox

Rating: 9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Title: TatterdemalionFoundations of Magic, Book 1
Authors: Anah Crow and Dianne Fox
Genre: Urban fantasy, paranormal/horror
URL: Samhain Publishing
Price: US $5.50
Other Information/warnings: explicit m/m sexual content, gore, violence and torture
Summary [from the publisher]:
Lindsay Carrington is a prisoner of his life—first in the mundane world, then in the military testing facility where his parents sent him to have his magic dissected, studied and “fixed”. When he finally escapes, freedom comes at great cost. The man who rescues him from near death in a dark alley is far from a savior. He’s a feral mage nearly as broken as Lindsay himself.

Dane knows better than to argue with the wind that summoned him to Lindsay’s rescue, but playing nursemaid isn’t the role he envisioned for himself in the battle to end the human campaign to control his people. In spite of his resistance, he is bound to the delicate, skittish mage who unwittingly harbors one of the greatest magical powers ever known.

Lindsay desperately hides his growing desire, sure that Dane could never reciprocate. Yet Dane lays his life on the line to protect him, restoring the one thing Lindsay thought was gone forever: hope.

But true freedom to live—and to love—will elude Lindsay until he can regain his magic and win Dane’s complete devotion. And survive long enough to do both.
My review:

I hadn’t read anything by this duo before, though I was deeply impressed by Anah Crow’s Uneven. I’m also not a huge fan of paranormals. But the excerpt looked good, so I took the plunge on this one, and was very glad I did.

This is a real emotional wallow – lots of hurt/comfort, lots of dramatic action and interaction, two appealing leads and a host of fascinating secondary characters which sets up what I presume will be a series in a gripping story of danger, kidnapping, dark magics, and of course, true love. Or at least, true pet bonding 🙂 When one character calls the other ‘little bunny’ all the way through, and there’s a huge difference in age, size and power, the pet analogy tends to be rather obvious – but when that character likes to eat his rabbit raw, it gives the interactions the edge which save this – mostly – from sappiness.

I found Dane more intriguing and appealing, mostly because he’s older and broken and brave and trying very hard not to fall for the fey young thing his mentor throws at him and forces him to care for. Lindsay was close to annoying at times – he was so pathetic and timid, and clingy, that even though he’d been to hell and back, I wanted to grow a pair and stop being such a sook. But then he grew that pair, and the relationship with Dane becomes a lot more mutual and complementary. I liked how he developed through the book, and I presume we will see more of him, and more of his growth in later books. The villains are villainous but surprisingly multidimensional. We will see more of them, I hope, and learn just why it’s so personal between Dane and Jonas. The hints of Dane’s troubled background are intriguing, and I wish we’d learned more about them as it’s a big hole in the heart of this story – how did Dane get so fucked up?

The plot was fast paced, and at times confusing, moving swiftly between countries and settings and magical interactions, though even someone like me who’s not used to UF, managed to follow it. The world is rich and well thought out, and logical in its own way, and a real treat to experience – I want more of it because there’s so much to explore. The writing is masterly, lush without bogging itself down, vivid and stark, and beautifully edited too. I did think the guys spent too much time in bed though – not having sex, just cuddling and snuggling and warming up, and if I had a cent for every time Lindsay curled into Dane’s chest or a chair or a pillow, well, I’d have a whole dollar now 🙂 But it’s a story about recovering from very great physical and mental harm, so the comfort and cuddling is appropriate. The sex is nicely done too, and certainly not overdone.

As you can tell from this, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and only had minor niggles. I want to read more about these characters and this world, and I congratulate the authors on a thoroughly entertaining read and the creation of a world of such rich and fascinating detail.