Druid Duo, Book 1
Heat Factor: Nothing particularly outlandish or unexpected
Character Chemistry: not so much
Plot: Delightfully out there with every Irish myth in the mix
Overall: So many mixed feelings
When Holly told me about this book, I thought, “1000-year-old immortal Druid with magic powers?! Sign me up!” That’s really all it took for me, but let’s take a closer look at the story.
Abby and her best friend Phoebe are Americans on vacation in Ireland. Phoebe is excited about getting in touch with her Irish roots. At the airport they meet Patrick, an Irish national who immediately takes a shine to Phoebe. He ends up taking them to various different places, including non-touristy places. As she goes from place to place, Abby feels… strange things. Then she meets Erimon and really weird stuff starts happening:
A thousand-year-old Druid appeared in the hole I fell into, popped us out in a blink of an eye, and now stood toe to toe with a headless horseman wielding a human spine for a whip. And now, the Druid formed a sword from nothing but the elements around him.
And so the suspense begins! The headless horseman, the Dullahan, has decided that Abby will be chosen to fight for his soul in hell, so he’s going to murder her. Erimon is the 1000-year-old Druid with magic powers, and for some reason, after 1000 years of being a selfish jerk, he’s decided that Abby must be saved! So after fighting off the Dullahan, he and Patrick and Phoebe gather some other magical creatures and prepare for battle!
The whole 1000-year-old Druid plot was everything I hoped for. Spade pulls out all the stops with Irish mythology. We’ve got the Druid and the Dullahan, but we’ve also got a fairy garden, leprechauns, a banshee, a kelpie, trolls, a giant, some immortal warriors, and a Finnish God for good measure. The story is completely bananapants, and sure to offend some Irish purists. But the story isn’t for them, then, is it?
So why isn’t this a recommended read?
Frankly, as a romance, it leaves something to be desired. It’s part of a duology with the same protagonists in both books, so I guess the HEA will not actually occur until the end of the next book? I believe I’ve made it clear in past reviews that romances that keep you on the hook for several books are not my favorite, so this duology is not really marketed to me as a romance reader. Maybe if the chemistry had been a little…more…I wouldn’t mind waiting until book 2, but I didn’t get the connection between Erimon and Abby.
From the moment they meet, Abby is a prickly sort of “stay the hell away from me” while Erimon is an enigmatic bad boy. I’m not a tattoo person at all, but even I’ll admit that the thought of his double full sleeves and full back Celtic tattoos sound kinda hot. But he swaggers around with his leather vest and his twinkling eyes, exuding sex at Abby (and making the wind blow up her skirts), so I can see why she’d be all, “big fat no.” Here’s the problem though: Abby’s adamantly against anything to do with Erimon, but she does that, “No, no, definitely not, but I want you so bad! But stay away from me, but save me! And your fisticuffs and magic sword conjuring is so hot! And you’ll rescue me from supernatural demons! But you’re so bad!”
Pick a lane, chica. The romance does this hot and cold shift basically from the beginning, so there’s no building of an emotional connection that allows chemistry to flourish, there’s just me being told stuff is going down. I was more invested in Phoebe and Patrick’s relationship, which was more emotionally developed, than in Abby and Erimon’s.
The other aspect of this book that was distracting involved the prose. Some of it, I admit, is just me being quite finicky about the editing: “The other Druids, some more youthful in appearance, look between each other…” More than what? Comparatives without a comparison? Tsk. Or: “My nostrils flared, swearing I smelled the salt of the sea.” Your nostrils were swearing? And the way the Irish accent is written made me feel like I was reading about insouciant bros. (Seriously, when I first read it on the second page I thought Erimon was just being a dick. He was, but that was not meant to be illustrated by the “ya”.) Then there were those moments when I was pretty sure that Spade didn’t know what words meant.
They weren’t…wrong…but they definitely weren’t right. Like, “…feeling Erimon’s mouth engulf one of my breasts…” How big exactly is Erimon’s mouth? Gross. If a book makes me feel like it should have been read aloud before being distributed, it almost doesn’t matter how fun the story was.
Almost. If the plot hadn’t been bonkers amazing I wouldn’t have been able to get through those prose issues at all, but while I was dodging those verbal bullets, I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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