Audiobook Review: Spellbound
Author: Allie Therin
Narrators: Erik Bloomquist
Audio Speed: 1.5x
Series: Magic in Manhattan #1
Genre: Historical Romance, Paranormal/Magic, LGBTQ, Gay Romance
Audiobook Source: Tantor Audio
You know the joy when you pick up a new-to-you author/narrator and find a gem? That is the case for me and Spellbound. I was engrossed from beginning to end and cannot wait for the next title. The Magic in Manhattan series is set in the Prohibition days of New York City. Part historic romance, part paranormal adventure, the book is 100% wonderful entertainment.
Rory Brodigan carries a secret – he can sense an object’s past by touching it. Only his boss/adopted aunt, Mrs. B., knows his secret, and they use his talent to run her appraisal shop. Under a lot of debt, Mrs. B. does what she can to protect and provide for Rory while trying to make ends meet. And then one day Arthur Kenzie, the wealthy son of a senator, walks into their shop with an impossible request.
Arthur knows all about paranormals; both the wondrous powers and the terrible dangers of magic. In order to protect Manhattan from a coming threat, he needs the talents of a psychometric, and he believes Mrs. Brodigan is it. Not understanding the truth, he takes Rory to an underground club for drinks, trying to gather information, but instead finds himself fascinated with the young man with a surprising talent. (Let me tell you, that was a great scene!)
First, let’s talk about the world-building… Ms. Therin pulls interesting details and provides vivid descriptions of 1925 Manhattan. I love viewing the world through the contrasting views of upper-crust Arthur and born-to-an-immigrant Rory. Arthur appreciates the wonder in Rory’s eyes and heart, giving Arthur a fresh view of the world around him. The touch of magic adds a wonderful twist to the historical elements, creating danger and adventure without going too deep into paranormal territory. It’s like an historical X-men.
Overlaying the setting is an excellent supporting cast of friends and paranormals. I simply adore the relationship between Mrs. B. and Rory. She is kind and understanding, and just what this young man needs to help him function in the world. The love goes both ways, and he provides her with help, hope, and a genuine friendship. Paranormals Jade and Zang add camaraderie to the mix, as well as a side of romance. Even the bad guys have dimension, providing depth to the storyline.
But it’s Arthur and Rory’s friendship and romance that steals the show. Their romance is so sweet – they both long for permanent love, but shy away because their love would be taboo. The are both so unsure, walking the line between casual flirting and trying to discover if the other is gay; it constantly pulled at my heart. And when they finally give in to their mutual desire, I thought my heart would explode.
Narration: The story is expertly performed by Erik Bloomquist, alternating between the third person POVs of Arthur and Rory. Both POV narrators are subtly different, and every voice is unique. Arthur’s voice cultured and smooth, fitting of the well-educated and well-traveled man. Rory is younger, more tentative but also prone to emotional outbursts. Mr. Bloomquist has a sharp voice and hits many different accents. His women sound feminine, and he adjusts appropriately for age, personality, and upbringing.
In the end, I really enjoyed Spellbound. It is a unique blend of historical romance and paranormal — completely entertaining and thrilling. But it is the connection between Arthur and Rory that really tugged at my heart. They are perfect for one another, giving and taking as a team. Fulfilling one another. I really look forward to more adventures and can’t wait to see what will happen next!
Review copy provided by Tantor Audio.
About the Book:
To save Manhattan, they’ll have to save each other first…
1925 New York
Arthur Kenzie’s life’s work is protecting the world from the supernatural relics that could destroy it. When an amulet with the power to control the tides is shipped to New York, he must intercept it before it can be used to devastating effects. This time, in order to succeed, he needs a powerful psychometric…and the only one available has sworn off his abilities altogether.
Rory Brodigan’s gift comes with great risk. To protect himself, he’s become a recluse, redirecting his magic to find counterfeit antiques. But with the city’s fate hanging in the balance, he can’t force himself to say no.
Being with Arthur is dangerous, but Rory’s ever-growing attraction to him begins to make him brave. And as Arthur coaxes him out of seclusion, a magical and emotional bond begins to form. One that proves impossible to break—even when Arthur sacrifices himself to keep Rory safe and Rory must risk everything to save him.