In a tribe of stallion shifters, Alvarr is smaller and more delicate than the rest of his tribe-brothers. But he is also a rare stallion mage, a male shifter who can perform magic… a talent only found in mares.
The other tribe members mistrust Alvarr and his powers over the earth. Though the Elder stallions view the mage as something precious, they are the only ones who value him. Even the strong, commanding lead stallion, Laren, keeps his distance.
The leader’s rejection of the smaller mage hurts, until the Time of Mating brings them together. Two nights in the woods change the course of their lives forever.
This was a highly original shifter story that really took me by surprise. One of the more unusual things about it is that the shifters main form is actually that of their animal self with the characters only occasionally shifting into their human form.
We follow the story from Alvarr’s point of view, who is a bit of a misfit in the stallion shifter tribe he lives with. He’s very inquisitive and has a gentle, loving heart, but physically he seems to be lacking as he is far smaller and more delicate than all the other stallions. This underdog makes for an unlikely hero, though what he lacks in stature he will make up for in courage.
I really enjoyed Alvarr’s conversations with the Elders as well as all the scenes to do with Nature’s magic and how that affects Alvarr and those around him. Laren, the leader of the tribe, is a bit of a (conflicted) enigma still. The well-being of his tribe is clearly very important to him, but he’s at a loss to figure out how Alvarr is supposed to fit into it.
I love that the story is set in a Stone Age like world, which really helped to create a mood of wonderment and magical possibilities in a civilization that is steeped in superstition and which has lost a lot of its own history. This universe is so far removed from our daily reality that the author has a lot of leeway for his world-building, hinting at an intriguing mythology though not unlocking all its secrets yet. This is only book 1, of course, and it appears the best is yet to come which is very promising. I can’t wait to see how the story will unfold further.
There were a few small editing mistakes here and there or an unlucky word-choice that didn’t quite fit the stone age atmosphere, but nothing too irksome.
Number of stars out of 5: 4