STARS: 4.5 / 5
In book one of the Moonshadow Series (Moonshadow) Morgan la Fae is an extremely powerful Sourcerer and the Light Fae Queen’s loyal servant. He’s responsible for enacting Isabeau’s punishments, ensourcelling the Dark Fae King, and hiding the passages connecting other world lands to Earth. He’s universally hated and feared, and he does a great job antagonizing the good guys.
But all is not as it seems. Thea Harrison took the villain of book one in the Moonshadow series and turned him into the hero of his own book, Spellbinder. (You don’t need to read book 1 to pick this one up).
In SpellBinder we learn that Morgan has been trapped for centuries by a powerful spell, a Geas* which forces him to do Isabeau’s bidding. After he is critically injured at the end of book one, he returns to the Queen bleeding and bedraggled to report the failure.
Disgusted by his appearance, and frustrated with the turn in the war, Isabeau commands him to get out of her sight until he’s fully healed. Because her commands are literal, Morgan uses the opportunity to escape to Earth for a few weeks rest from Isabeau’s control.
While hiding in Earth, he discovers a wildly popular musician on tour, Sydonie Martel. He enjoys her genre-bending violin music, and attends several of her sold out concerts. He doesn’t realize his casual interest has put her in danger.
When Sydonie is kidnapped and delivered into Isabeau’s hands, she has no idea where she is or how to get home. She’s a ‘dead head’: a human with no magical ability whatsoever. She’s thrown in front of the Queen – filthy and exhausted and loses her temper. Disaster strikes, and Sydonie learns what it means to displease the Queen of the Light Fae. Every finger in Sydonie’s hands is broken and she’s thrown in the dungeon to rot.
Morgan returns too late. He helps her where he can, healing her hands and bringing her food, but he’s limited by his need to hide from Isabeau. And if the Queen discovers someone has been helping Sydonie, or his growing attachment to her, she will surely hurt Sydonie to punish and control Morgan. The intrigues of their situation force Morgan to keep his identity secret from Sydonie, helping her in the shadows of the prison.
This is where I should mention that I listened to this book on Audiobook (narrated by Sophie Eastlake).I think for this particular novel, the audio book is an excellent format. I’m quite picky on narrators. It’s rare for me to listen to a book twice – especially paranormal romance – but this was worth a second listen. The slow burn of the romance, coupled with the accents and whispered conversations in the dark of the dungeon lent itself perfectly to the narrator’s strengths.
The story continues beautifully through Sydonie’s clever escape plan, the growing romance between Morgan and Sydonie, their quest to gain freedom for each of them, and ultimately the final show-down between Morgan and the woman who held him captive against his will for so many lifetimes, and Sydonie and Death.
Thea Harrison took a non-magical human, plopped her into a magical world, and managed to create a strong character who held her own. Sydonie’s wits and passion ultimately get her out of several scrapes, and the building romance with Morgan isn’t a head-over-heels love-at-first-sight trope. She’s not perfect, and he’s not either, but together they really work. The dual perspective book builds both of their feelings at the perfect pace, and the action is spot on. Overall, a fun read (or listen)!
*There seems to be some argument over how the word Geas is pronounced. I always thought it was “gay-us”. The narrator says Geas like “gesh” – rhymes with “fresh”.