Coal to Diamonds by Augusta Li

Coal to Diamonds by Augusta Li
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (127 pgs)
Other: M/M, M/M/M, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

n order to survive high school, Cole, Cam, and Bobby came together as friends and lovers to form a coven to practice magic. Then after graduation, Cam and Bobby escaped the small, backward town where they grew up and went on to success, leaving Cole behind.

Ten years later, a series of tragedies brings Cam and Bobby back to Cole, and leads them to a powerful man named Darius Thorn, who wants to hone—and control—their magical skills. But after being apart so long, the trust and devotion they once felt isn’t as strong as it used to be, and they’ll need to reforge their bond and combine their energies to survive.

In the ten years since they’ve separated, so much has changed, and yet, some things stay the same. Love, friendship, and magic, are forever, or so it seems. Unfortunately, so is evil… and Cole, Cam and Bobby are about to find out just how true that is.

There is always one that is left behind, in this story, it was Cole. After graduation, his two closest friends left for bigger and better things, leaving him to the small town life they’d grown up in. This was probably the turning point in his young life, watching his friends move on without him. Although he had his own interests and pursuits, the dissolution of their inseparable trio shook him to his foundation. His love and dedication to them, however, is what brings him through to the end.

Bobby and Cam, having found their perfect lives – and then proceeding to lose them – still aren’t nearly as broken and dark as Cole. I’m not sure if this is because the magic was so much stronger in Cole or if it was because they had each other, while Cole was on his own, but it was something. Watching the three of them come together to stand against their greatest enemy, however, was both painful and thrilling. The power of love, of forgiveness, and enduring friendship is brighter than any darkness in any of the boys.

I loved the addition of the sex magic into this story. Often, it’s made to seem cheesy or raunchy, however here it was written exactly as it was meant – as a way to raise the power needed to enact the spells effectively. I also enjoyed that the author steered away from the light and fluffy and focused on the darker aspects of magic, making this novel more than a little terrifying at times. It’s a beautiful thing to see love blossom, or re-blossom in this case, in such a setting.

While deliciously dark and sexy, sometimes the writing in Coal to Diamonds didn’t quite hold up to what the author was promising. However, even during those moments, the intensity of Cole and his desire to regain what he had lost pulls the story through the rough spots. The author does an amazing job creating likable and flawed characters, including a truly evil and charismatic bad guy, Darius Thorn. The intertwining storylines, the sensual addition of sex magic, and the memorable characters create a world that will stick with you long after you’ve finished reading.

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