Finn by Angel Martinez
Sanity is relative and the world has room for more than one truth.
When Diego rescues a naked man from the rail of the Brooklyn Bridge, he just wants to get the poor man out of traffic and over to social services. He gets more than he bargained for when Finn turns out to be an ailing pooka, poisoned by the pollution of the city. To help him recover, Diego takes him north to New Brunswick where Finn inadvertently wakes an ancient, evil spirit, the wendigo.
While Diego and Finn struggle to find a way to destroy the wendigo before it can possess Diego or kill nearby innocents, Diego wrestles with his growing passion for Finn. Can they succeed in destroying the monster and in navigating a relationship between a modern man and a centuries-old fairy?
This is one of those rare gems that I usually wouldn’t bother buying but thank god I did because this is a rare, truly fabulous story. Although I hardly, if ever, shop at Red Rose Publishing, I was over checking out the newest releases and the blurb attracted me. While I had some reservations and really didn’t appreciate the cover, I still wanted to give this book a try. I even went so far as to read the excerpt (which I never do) and was intrigued enough to get. What a complete gem hiding out in the depths of a publisher I rarely hear mentioned. Wonderful characters, delightful dialogue, and a thrilling storyline all combine to create a thoroughly entertaining and absorbing tale. I couldn’t put this down.
Diego is driving home one night when he comes across a figure perched on the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, naked except for dirty blanket. Unable to stop his addiction to helping lost causes, Diego gives in to the desperation in the man’s eyes and brings him home. Soon Diego discovers his erstwhile guest is actually a magical being, a Fae being called a pooka. The poison and pollution combined with a modern, unfamiliar setting make the ancient creature violently ill to the point Diego decides to head to a friend’s cabin in the wilderness for some peace for both men. While there, however, another ancient magical being is awakened and decides he rather likes Diego as well and thus a difficult, magical fight breaks out.
The premise actually sounds pretty wild but the deft handling and tight writing keep the story fast paced, entertaining, and engrossing. Instead of being corny and trite, the characters are intelligent and likeable. Although there were a few errors in the editing and writing that caught my eye, I was too engrossed in the story to care. There are some world building issues along with some dropped threads, especially relating to Finn’s past and the actual Fae. There was less world building than supplemental information meant to create a deeper alternate reality, which slides slightly on the heavy telling side. However I’ll say again, it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the story whatsoever. The talented story telling wove a complex and intricate story with splashes of humor and whimsy to lighten the tension while developing a strong relationship and emotional connection.
Diego starts out a little too good to be true with his big heart, failed relationship and willingness to take in any and every lost cause he comes across. However, this is an essential aspect of his character that shows his strength rather than his weakness at first glance. He is firmly routed in reality and stubbornly refuses to believe in magic, while a part of his mind and soul yearn deeply for the existence of magic. Diego is surrounded by magic as he comes to find out and this journey to acceptance against the firm rules of reality as he knows it is part of the story. The dichotomy is one that he struggles with for the entirety of the book and only towards the end is he able to reconcile the parts of his personality with Finn’s help.
Finn offers the most comic relief in the story as a fairy that has been asleep for over seven hundred years and can remember debates about the Ice Age. His fascination and confusion with the modern world comes across fresh and interesting with a delightful dose of outrageous humor and formal diction. His narration and dialogue are the funniest of the story and provide an ease of intensity in even the direst circumstances. Although the story is at times graphic, Finn’s comments and humor keep the scenes from being too dark and off putting, instead injecting a comic element that elevates the entertainment. Finn, however, is not all fun and light as the affects of the poison in the city and even battles with other fairies are not easy and inconsequential. Finn has a depth and history that give him weight as a character and easily make him as interesting as Diego.
Mixed in with the storyline are excerpts from Diego’s “fictional” book, which is really a transcript of conversations with Finn about his magical life and past. These give more insight into Finn and the world of the Fae. These excerpts are a little heavy handed but at the same wonderful and informative. I liked this technique in giving background to the character of Finn and his outlook on relationships, life, magic, the world and his lovers while adding the always present humor and emotion. It would have been nice to been able to have Diego’s reaction as more than an interviewer but the information offered added depth and interest to the story.
The latter portion of the book deals with the other magical being they encounter in the woods and this is well crafted and continues to hold the readers’ interest. Although the resolution is heavily based in magic, as is expected, the slow build up of tension and weaving together of various storylines happens subtly. The actual elements of the resolution are basic and the deft writing combines them in such a way as to create something intriguing and interesting. The ending also leaves room for a sequel, which I hope will be forthcoming at some point.
Overall, I really loved reading this book. Beyond any problems or praise this was a purely entertaining story with great characters and an absorbing tale. The blending of paranormal and modern elements with folklore is deft and skillful leaving a story you almost wish could happen but perhaps much happier to just read about it. If you’re looking for a fabulous paranormal story about fairies that blends lore and modern reality, be sure to pick this up. I haven’t even mentioned the great sex scenes and incredibly satisfying romance. Really, you won’t want to miss this book.
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