Desert Isle Keeper
Eternity in an Hour
Eternity in an Hour is a delightful start to this fantasy series by new author, Matthew Merendo. It’s an interesting and intriguing story that I’d place somewhere between the YA and NA genres, with an enjoyable, intelligent plot and storyline to interest all adults. Here’s the blurb (from Amazon):
Isolated in the center of an enormous sea, the island nation of the Coquels is everything Paru is not: beautiful, prosperous, magical—and hidden. When Paru native Tristys wakes up in Coquels after a shipwreck, he meets Rami Harys, a man whose beauty is tempered by his mood swings.
Rami provides a way back home, but he also unexpectedly provides a reason to stay: he seems interested in Tristys, and such a relationship wouldn’t be possible back in Paru. Tempting though it is to stay and see what could be, Tristys decides to return to his family—only to be stopped by the sudden appearance of magic he didn’t know existed, let alone possessed.
If left unchecked, the magic could destroy him, giving him no choice but to travel with Rami deeper into Coquels to the one place that can help him, leading him a on journey he never expected and may not survive.
I loved this story and the way the story evolves. In Paru, Tristys was called ‘diverted’ because he was attracted to men. He was bullied, abused and had his family home burned down before taken as a sex slave by the people of a violent nation, Spalor.
When Tristys returns to Paru, the magic within him changes everything. Magic can be dangerous as well as a wonderful to possess and certain ceremonies or rites of passage must be undertaken to eventually have control over the magic you ‘fingerprint’ with. In order to master the magic within him, Tristys must travel to the Altar of the particular magic within him.
As Tristys has ‘fingerprinted’ with the magic of water, that is the Altar he must go to, with Rami by his side taking him the safest, least travelled way. The story is then one of a journey, to physical, emotional and magical places, which almost becomes an extended metaphor for growing into an adult and finding your place in the world.
Rami’s friends and his girlfriend Calyssa eventually join them and this is where the adventure really starts. The group is varied in nature, personality, magical connections and sexuality but in some way, they are all bonded to Tristys and Rami. This road trip is full of beautiful descriptions of these islands, adventures, the romance of the exotic and the heartache of those in their early twenties.
The world building was topped off for me when the author also describes smells and scents, a sense often forgotten or ignored in fantasy writing but incredibly evocative. As in the example below where the group is travelling through one of the land’s many forests –
Everything smelled here, too, and every step brought something new to Tristys’s nose: now cloying scent of a fruiting flower, now the nauseous odor of a decaying rodent, now some unscented fresh air that sneaked through the canopy.
Can I also enthuse about the length of the novel? I am heartily fed up of short books that feel as though they have been rushed out for the sake of selling a new title by an author and raising their profile. At five hundred and three pages Eternity in an Hour has the length to develop characters, worlds and plots. I was staggered when I found out how long it actually was, as I was so caught up in the world of Rami and Tristys that I whizzed through it.
This is fabulous fantasy read, and I am thrilled it’s the beginning of a series. I can’t wait to read the next one.
I'm an English romantic, and an author who simply adores reading and writing books. I believe that all love has equal status, and all humans need and deserve romance. So, I am thrilled to be able to review LGBTQ+ novels for AAR and introduce more readers to some gorgeous LGBTQ+ romances and fascinating stories.