Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gemini: The Wicked Things


Title: Gemini: The Wicked Things
Author: Pepper Espinoza
Publisher: Amber Quill
Publisher URL: www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure
ISBN: 978-1-60272-694-9
Genre: [M/M] Fantasy
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

When the sanity of Travis Olsen’s mother started to slip, he put his life on hold, left London and moved to her country cottage in the small town of Nether Stowey. He’s an analytical man and never believed in fairy tales, witches, magic, ghosts and other tales best left to myth and legend, so the day his mother warns him about the black dog that roams Quantock Hills, he brushes her off. When he meets the legendary black dog while on a late night stroll and he sees the animal turn into an attractive man, Travis’ reality shifts and he realizes that things he once thought were fable are very much true.

When Travis learns that his mother’s mental deterioration is due to the manipulation of a powerful witch she once called friend, he’s plunged into a battle he’s not prepared for. At the center of the conflict stands cursed John Walford, a man who’s willing to sacrifice himself in order to keep Travis, the man he loves, safe.

Gemini: The Wicked Things is the third release in the new ongoing series Zodiac Boys. This installment starts a little slowly with the introduction of Travis and his relationship with his ailing mother. It sets up his frustration with her deteriorating mental status nicely, giving enough detail to understand what both are going through, without being maudlin or depressing. The description of Travis’ no-nonsense personality in these initial pages is a good set-up for the huge changes circumstances force on him as the story progresses.

The colorful details of Nether Stowey and the surrounding wooded countryside make the locale pop, grounding the story in present day realism, but I could also sense the historic past in the centuries old village. I particularly enjoyed the portion of the story that told of the circumstances that led to John’s death, giving me a much better understanding of his ‘life, since the day of his ‘death’.

The integration of the numerous fantasy elements—a villainous witch, fairies, fairy mounds, ogres, ghosts and pukas is nicely done, bringing them all into a well thought out, cohesive whole. Add in the growing relationship between Travis and John and you have all the components needed for a pleasurable afternoon read.

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