Ever watch an episode of Charmed on tv? It’s a show about three sisters (at least initially, I think they’ve added a cousin or two) who find out their mother was a witch and they’ve inherited her abilities. The three of them live together and fight evil wherever it appears. Sounds interesting, and it was at first. But pretty quickly the storytelling started trying to top itself. Each successive episode had worse baddies and crazier stuff happening. Worse still – the writers stopped even pretending to follow the rules of the universe they’d created. Whatever was needed, magicwise, to cover a plot point was tossed in. I’ve seen a similar thing happen with Ms. Jackson’s Wildside series.
Nicholas Anthony is a hard-driving ER doctor just hoping to get through the Christmas season (which he hates) with his sanity. And lately his sanity has been on his mind. When he looks in a mirror, he finds a “ghost” who tells him what to do with his life. One of the suggestions he gets arrives as he’s fighting his way through a freak storm. All Nick wants is to get home and get the holidays over with. Instead he follows the advise of his “ghost” and finds a beautiful woman and her two young siblings in an isolated cabin. It becomes immediately apparent that Zee and her little family are on the run and need his help.
Zee feels an instant connection with Nick and willingly accepts his offer of help. But getting Nick’s acceptance of who and what she is might be a little more complicated. Zee is half-goblin and is on the run from her goblin kin. While on the run she overheard someone’s thoughts and now knows that the villainous Qasim intends to kidnap and probably kill hundreds of children. Bringing Nick into her life and the difficulties she faces means putting him in danger and possibly revealing more about herself then he’ll be able to handle.
Nick and Zee are likable enough, though their insta-love is a little hard to believe (even when the author throws in a magical sop to explain it). But their relationship takes a far, far back seat to the plot and the increasingly large cast of super-beings who populate it. Once Nick and Zee reach the secret lair in the mountains where the Fey have their headquarters, they barely have a scene together. Nick gets absorbed by the villain-fighting males and Zee goes off to dream and cook with the women. We get pookas, goblins, trolls, imps, and Jack Frost. The men talk about defeating Qasim and all the other evil-baddies out to destroy goblin-kind or human-kind or all-kind and Zee…well she’s somewhere about in the caves thinking about her relationship with Nick. Not very interesting.
Somewhere in all this battling of world-threatening evil is the promise of a meaty story. Nick has just found out he’s fey and is in love with a woman who is half-goblin. He’s a doctor about to join the effort to hunt and kill bad guys. He may never return to his human life. There’s more than enough there to complicate any relationship, and none of that is ever dealt with. Nick has a thought or two about the weirdness of his new love and how it’s a little gross that Zee is related to the creatures who have been after them. I think he gives passing thought to his work as a doctor. Then the danger comes and all of that disappears. He and Zee will join the compound in the caves and HEA will be had until the next villainous villain appears to trouble their world.
At the end of the book is a note from the author urging readers away from the book if they haven’t read the other books in the series. I don’t know if it was a publisher choice to put it at the back, but it was way too late for this reader, and I have read the first two in the series. At any rate, I can’t really recommend this to anyone – whether they’ve read the other books or not.