|When You Believe, the first book in the Magical Temptations series
and it's something of a cross between Harry Potter and Charmed.
Magic, romance and otherworldly forces come together to form an
enjoyable story and entry into what one hopes is a world that has
many other stories to tell.
Poet Miranda Stead is trying to outrun a couple street thugs when she
literally stumbles into a very strange meeting complete with people
in cloaks and disappearing doors. In the process of her arrival, she
breaks her ankle. Her intrusion is not exactly welcome, and for a few
nerve-wracking moments Miranda thinks she may have gone from the
frying pan into the fire.
Unbeknownst to her, Miranda has discovered a gathering of the
Croyant, or "believers" as they discuss their plan to defend
themselves against the evil Quain. At first the group thinks Miranda
is a spy but eventually determine she is only a Moyenne (or mundane).
The mysterious and sexy Sariel Valasy, a telepathic healer who fixes
her ankle, takes Miranda home. He is also supposed to wipe her
memories of her encounter with the Croyant. But Sariel feels
something is different about Miranda and he can't bring himself to
erase her memories at first. The two have a few more encounters that
eventually become intimate.
Miranda can't forget Sariel, and she is determined to learn more
about him and his world. She discovers that she has certain
abilities that let her travel through matter much as she did with
Sariel. These abilities turn out to be something the Croyant need to
defeat Quain and Miranda becomes involved in a strange and dangerous
battle over the very fate of humanity.
Sariel and Miranda are both very appealing characters; not only for
their chemistry but also the way both face adversity and unfamiliar
events. Sariel has a bad romantic experience in his past. He is
wounded for sure, but he doesn't let that stop him from exploring his
feelings for Miranda. Miranda for her part reacts very realistically
to the strange world she's been thrust into.
Besides the romantic leads, the reader is introduced to several other
members of the Croyant group. Some, such as Sariel's brothers and
spunky fire starter Sayblee, are more well-developed than others but
all add dimension to the premise of the gathering forces against
evil. The villains don't fare as well, coming off a little two
The pacing drags a bit in places, as the author explains Sariel's
background and the intricate world of the Croyant. This is not
unusual given this is the first book in a planned trilogy. Also, much
of the plot is safe and predictable (readers will see Miranda's
secret coming from a mile away) in order to make way for the magical
elements. Readers will need a little patience to keep going during
the slow parts but will be rewarded at the end by a fine story.