Quinn’s Gambit by Angel Martinez & Bellora Quinn

Quinn’s Gambit by Angel Martinez & Bellora Quinn
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (217 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

An unregistered, human con wizard and a duty-bound, straightlaced elf cop. As New York explodes with dangerous creatures, their passion goes nuclear.

After a terrible magical accident at Berkeley created unpredictable holes between realities—all manner of non-human creatures started popping into our world. These displacements, called RARE—Random Anomalous Reality Events—have taken magic out of fiction and relocated it firmly in reality, resulting in a great deal of chaos and confusion. Displaced elf Valerian works with AURA—the Agency of Unnatural Resettlement and Assimilation—to intercept these beings as they appear in the human world, helping the peaceful ones and subduing the violent, malevolent ones. It’s good, satisfying work, and Val would be happy if he wasn’t so lonely.

Quinten is a young mage just trying to get by, but New York isn’t the easiest city to make a living. If his methods are sometimes morally dubious, his heart is still in the right place. Of course for Quinn, the right place means firmly locked away, protected at all costs. Living by his wits and sometimes magically-induced luck, he works as a ‘free-lance magic user’, or unregistered mage and small time con—according to the authorities. The last thing Quinn wants is to draw the cops’ attention, but when an Event happens right on top of him, he’s forced to turn to AURA for help. Valerian isn’t at all what he’d expected in an AURA cop, and he certainly wasn’t expecting to join forces with the sexy elf, a snarky drow and a bitter incubus when certain individuals in power try to stop the RARE by any means necessary.

Things are not all what they seem at AURA headquarters, and a greater evil lurks at the top than anyone could have imagined.

In the aftermath since the collision of magic and technology, a new breed of cop has been recruited to protect the world. A straight-laced elf named Valerian is one such officer. Resigned to the believe that he’ll spend the entirety of his life on Earth alone, a chance encounter with a rouge mage named Quinn will forever change his outlook on love, his life, and his career. They both know that they’re not good for the other, but when they’re forced to work together to prevent a catastrophe, all bets are off.

Valerian is an elf out of his element. Having been pulled out of his own world and onto Earth many years prior, he’s still out of sorts and unsure of his place in this new, strange world. Even for an elf, he’s exactly what I picture in a detective. Dedicated, serious, and a rule follower. That said, he has a passionate, loving streak that is unrivaled once you manage to uncover it.

Quinten, on the other hand, is one hundred percent untamed human mage. Living on the wrong side of the law hustling tourists, all Quinn wants is enough money to keep a roof over his head fill the belly of his friend Groof – a magical creature living in the lake. Quinn is used to being on his own and he’s a bit emotionally damaged which makes him tend towards flakiness and abrupt changes in temperament. It was annoying at first, but as we begin to understand his past and why he’s so avoidant of law enforcement, you understand better and relegate the annoyance to a personality quirk.

As much as I enjoyed watching Val and Quinn fall for each other, the character that really intrigued me was Kai Hiltas. Ever since I picked up my first Forgotten Realms novel twenty plus years ago, I’ve had a soft spot for drow who have moved past their inherent ‘evil’ side and live life in the light of day. This is Kai to a ‘t’ and I really do hope that we learn more about him – and his yeti lover, Tenzin – in the future.

Fantasy novels are a great love of mine, so when I can find one that mixes into it all the elements I love in a romance novel, I know I’m in for a treat. The one and only thing that bothered me about this book, however, was the references to humanoid creatures (humans, elves, incubi, etc.) involved in sexual relationships with non-humanoid creatures (yetis, fauns, centaurs, etc.). Although none of those relationships are described in detail, the mention of them put me off a bit. Despite that minor bit, Quinn’s Gambit is an intense story filled with twists and turns and unexpected surprises that will leave you guessing. A modern fantasy love story that held my attention and made me crave more of this world. I’m eager to dive into the sequel.

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